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Hot game pie

Hot game pie

A star rating of 4.7 out of 5.9 ratingsRate
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  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Prep:
    • Cook:
    • Plus chilling
  • A challenge
  • Serves 4

Gordon Ramsay creates the ultimate game pie – wonderful autumnal vegetables with pheasant and venison, all under a crisp crust.

  • Freezable
Nutrition: per serving


For the stock

  • 2 pheasants , about 800g each
  • olive or sunflower oil
  • sprigs fresh thyme and rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 carrot , chopped
  • 1medium onion , chopped
  • 200ml red wine
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée

For the filling

  • 1small celeriac , about 600g, peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 50g butter
  • bunch rosemary , thyme and parsley
  • 3 venison sausages
  • oil , for frying
  • 100g pancetta , skinned and cut in small cubes or use bacon lardons
  • 125g shallot or baby onions
  • 150g mixture cleaned mushroom (try shiitakes, ceps and chestnuts)
  • 200g young parsnip , peeled and cut into 6cm sticks
  • 2 tsp clear honey

To assemble

  • 2 tsp grain mustard
  • 250-300g puff pastry , thawed if frozen
  • 2 egg yolks
  • sprigs of thyme and sea salt, to decorate


  • STEP 1

    Untie the pheasants and pull out the legs. Using the tip of a very sharp knife, detach the legs where the thigh joins the body. Then slice off the breast fillets from the rib cage as neatly as possible and set aside. Discard the rest of the carcass.

  • STEP 2

    Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large pan, brown the legs and season. Add the carrot, onion and 2-3 sprigs thyme, rosemary, bay leaves and cook for 5 mins. Pour in the wine, boil to reduce by three-quarters, then mix in the tomato purée. Cook for 1-2 mins, pour in 1.25 litres water and bring to a rapid boil. Skim off any fat and scum that rises to the top.

  • STEP 3

    Simmer the stock until it reduces by half to around 600ml, about 15 mins. Strain the stock and pour back into the pan. Boil until reduced to around 300ml. You can make up to this point 2 days in advance or freeze the stock for up to 1 month. (The leg meat isn’t used in this recipe, but you can shred

  • STEP 4

    Make a celeriac purée. Sauté the celeriac in the butter with 2 sprigs rosemary in a covered pan for 15-20 mins until soft. Discard the rosemary. Heat the stock, put a small ladleful in a blender or food processor with the celeriac, then blitz to a purée.

  • STEP 5

    Slice the breast fillets into large chunks and poach in the stock for 7 mins until just firm. Remove and set aside. Add the sausages, poach for 8-10 mins, then remove and slice. Take the stock off the heat.

  • STEP 6

    Heat oil in a large frying pan and sauté the pancetta for 4-5 mins. Add the shallots or onions and some oil, then cook for another 5 mins. Tip the mixture into a large bowl. Add more oil to the pan and fry the mushrooms for 5 mins. Add to the bowl and toss together with your hands or a large spoon.

  • STEP 7

    Tip the parsnips into the pan with the honey and the leaves of a sprig of thyme. Season and cook for 5-7 mins, discard the thyme and remove to the bowl along with the meat. Chop a sprig each of thyme, rosemary and parsley, add to the bowl and toss everything together.

  • STEP 8

    Heat the stock and mix in 1 tbsp of the celeriac purée and the mustard. Spoon the remaining purée into the bottom of a deep rectangular 22 x 10cm pie dish. Tip the filling on top, then pour over the stock. The filled pie dish can be covered with cling film and chilled for up to a day.

  • STEP 9

    Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured board to the thickness of £1 coin. Beat the yolks until smooth and brush some around the rim of the pie dish. Lay the pastry on top and press down the edge to seal. Using a sharp knife, trim off the excess, then pinch the edges to crimp. Brush evenly with more glaze.

  • STEP 10

    Cut out some small oval shapes, score leaf marks down the centre and pinch the ends. Fix onto the pastry and glaze with the egg. Fix thyme sprigs on top and crush over some sea salt flakes. Bake the pie for 10 mins, then reduce heat to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4 and bake for another 20-25 mins until golden and crisp. Leave to stand for 10 mins before serving.


A brace of pheasants consists of one male and one female bird. The cock is more flavoursome, the hen more tender, so the two balance well.


Other game birds can be used in the same way – you could substitute four partridges, six pigeons, or eight quails. Grouse has quite a strong taste, so use five birds and reduce the wine by half to mellow the flavour.


To peel baby onions and shallots easily, blanch in a pan of boiling water for a few seconds, then drain and slip off the skins.


For a brilliantly glossy top, brush the pastry twice with egg yolk glaze, allowing 10 minutes between coats.


Thicken the sauce with a tablespoon of the celeriac purée to make it light and creamy. Instead of celeriac, you could use other root vegetables such as turnips or swede if you prefer.


You can freeze the pie for up to two months before baking – simply cook it for an extra 20 mins. Alternatively, you can just make the filling in advance and keep it in the fridge for up to a day before assembling and baking the pie.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, October 2005

Goes well with


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A star rating of 4.7 out of 5.9 ratings

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