So I have outlined in GREAT detail the Tom Kerridge Christmas dinner I did this year. But as I mentioned, alongside this I also did what is now becoming a tradition (well this was the 3rd time!) of making a game pie for Boxing day. This is something that I love doing and it always goes down well.
So far I have tried a Raised Game Pie from the Guardian and 2 years ago I took on Delia’s Game Pie, which with the inclusion of a whole hare was a little too gamey for me (not for my Brother in Law though!). This year I decided to give the Ginger Pig recipe a go. In the past I have not been too impressed with the recipes in this book, but I decided to give them another go, and in the immortal words of Jeff Daniels – they totally redeemed themselves:
Step 1 was to order all the meat, so it was down to my trusty Milford butcher to put the order in. This pie required 3 types of game – pigeon, pheasant and venison. Alongside this I also needed some pork belly and a couple of pigs trotters to make the jelly. You can imagine my excitement when I got this lot home!
This pie wasn’t particularly complicated. The first step was to make the jelly to pour into the pie. For this you simply put water, pigs trotters, peppercorns and bay leaves into a pan and cooked down for 4 hours, then put this in the fridge and an hour later you have a rich, tasty and very solid jelly.
Next I marinated the pheasant and pigeon breasts in port, orange, garlic and redcurrant jelly – which gave the final pie a delicious extra layer of flavour, cutting through the iron of the game. This marinated for 24 hours, and the juice is currently in the fridge waiting to be turned into a pheasant casserole – yum!
Once this was ready, I cracked on with the rest. The venison and pork were diced and mixed together, and I sliced up a chicken breast. Then it was on to the pastry.
I have made hot water pastry quite a few times now, for this you use lard and water rather than butter and you have to work quick. You melt the lard and then pour this into the flour and in this recipe icing sugar. Mix it together, knead a little bit and then its good to go – simple! All you then do is layer a cake tin with 2/3s of the dough.
For this pie you then took a lot of streaky bacon and layered the whole of the inside of the pie with overlapping rashers so everything was contained within this. You then layered the pheasant, pigeon mixture then the pork and venison and then the chicken and repeat. Stick the top on, seal with egg wash and put a hole in the middle. Mine looked like this:
After about 2 hours in the oven, it was cooked. So out it came and cooled on the side. I then heated up the jelly slightly and using my meat syringe I added in the jelly. It was a dense, heavy, well packed pie so not too much jelly was needed.
This was then put into the fridge to set and 2 days later I unleashed the beast. Anyone who watches Bake Off will know all about the perils of soggy bottoms, and I am happy to report this one did not have it. It came out really good. Nice distinct layers, the jelly set well (could have used a bit more in the top, but never mind). The pastry was thin and cooked through – and most importantly it tasted great.
Game for me can sometimes be too overpowering with the Iron-y taste, but this one was just right, the pork belly added some nice fat, the marinated game were incredible and you could really taste the citrus from the orange. The balance was spot on and it tasted great with a little sharp Picalili on the side (from Fortnum and Mason of course!).
So another successful pie. Next up is the Hawksmoor Cheek and Tail pie that I am hoping to make next week – details to follow. But for now that’s
Sorry for all the game puns!!