Wild Game Pie With Pheasant Breast Recipe
Wild game pies can be made to incorporate a wide variety of game types—often more than one of them in each pie—but it is fair to say that pheasant is not one of the more popular inclusions. That does not mean that it doesn't work well as part of the concept and when paired with a variety of root vegetables as in this instance, it makes for an extremely tasty creation. It is important to note that the pheasant breast should be appropriately cooked and cooled before being incorporated into the pie, so you do not run the risk of the meat turning out too tough. It should also be noted that where you prefer your vegetables soft rather than with a bit of bite to them as is the case in this pie, the carrot and parsnip can be parboiled for ten minutes and cooled before being included in the filling.
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 1 hour
Ready in: 1 hour 30 min
Yields: 2 servings
- 1 skinless pheasant breast fillet
- Stock vegetables of choice
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 5 (or as desired) medium baby new potatoes per person
- 5 large carrots (1 for pie, 4 for mash)
- 3 large parsnips (1 for pie, 2 for mash)
- ½ medium white onion
- Black pepper
- ½ pound puff pastry*
- Flour for rolling pastry
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Generous pinch dried thyme
- Generous pinch dried rosemary
- 1 ounce (¼ stick) butter
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
*Pastry should be removed from fridge 15 to 20 minutes prior to rolling
The first step in this recipe is to cook the pheasant breast fillet by poaching it in water and selected flavourants. In this particular instance, the fillet for making the pie was poached with an additional fillet subsequently used—along with the stock—to make pheasant breast game soup.
Put the pheasant breast fillet(s) into a pot and add the stock vegetables and cold water. Bring the water to a simmer for fifteen minutes only before removing the fillet(s) with a slotted spoon to a plate, covering and leaving to cool completely. Note that some of the resulting cooled stock will be required at the time of assembling the pie.
The potatoes that are going to be served with the pie are firstly cooked by boiling before being cooled and roasted at a later stage. This means that they are ultimately served beautifully soft and fluffy on the inside as well as crisp and golden on the outside. Begin by washing but not peeling the potatoes and cutting them in half. Add to a large pot of cold, salted water and bring the water to a simmer for about twenty-five minutes until the potato halves are just softened. Drain through a colander, allow to steam off for a few minutes then cover and set aside to cool completely.
Finely slice the peeled white onion half and separate it into strands. Wash, top and tail one carrot and one parsnip and chop to around a half to three-quarter inch dice. Dice the pheasant breast to pieces of similar size.
Mix the pheasant meat together with the vegetables and add to a ten by seven inch pie dish. Pour enough stock from the poaching of the pheasant in to the dish that the solids are approximately half covered only.
Roll the pastry out on a clean, dry, floured surface to a rectangle slightly bigger than the pie dish. Lift it carefully on to the dish that there is a slight, even overhang all the way around before crimping carefully around the edges of the dish.
Trim the overhang off all the way around the dish with a sharp knife. Let the pastry rest while your oven heats to 400F/200C/Gas Mark 6.
Break the egg in to a small cup or bowl and beat lightly with a fork. When the oven is preheated, brush the pie top liberally with the beaten egg and cut a couple of steam vents on top. Sit the dish on a suitable tray and put it in to the oven for thirty-five to forty minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden.
When the pie has been on for about twenty minutes, pour three or four tablespoons of oil in to a large casserole dish and add it to the oven for the oil to heat through.
Peel the remaining carrots and parsnips and chop to around one inch chunks. Put them in to a large pot of cold, salted water. When the pie has been on for around thirty minutes, put the pot on to a high heat until the water begins to simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer for about fifteen to twenty minutes until the pieces are softened.
When the pie is ready, remove it from the oven and set it safely aside on a wooden board or similar heatproof item to rest.
Increase the oven temperature to 450F/220C/Gas Mark 8. Add the potato pieces carefully to the hot oil along with the dried rosemary and thyme. Stir with a metal slotted spoon and cook in the oven for twenty minutes, stirring again in a similar way half way through cooking. When done, lift with the slotted spoon to a plate covered with kitchen paper and allow them a couple of minutes to drain.
When the carrot and parsnip pieces are softened, drain through a colander at your sink and return to the empty pot. Let them steam off for a few minutes to avoid soggy mash before adding the butter and mashing with a hand masher.
Chop the parsley and add it to the mash before stirring it through with a large spoon.
(Note - never add the parsley prior to mashing as a lot of it will become stuck in the hand masher)
An ice cream scoop is ideal for plating two mounds of mash at opposite corners of two square serving plates.
Cut the pastry of the rested pie in half across the way as shown and lift one half up and over the other.
Use a large slotted spoon to lift the exposed half of filling on to one free corner of the serving plate, extending to between the two mounds of mash.
Sit the freed pastry half on top of the filling portion. Plate the second half of pie in the same way and divide the roasted potatoes between the two remaining sections of the plates to serve.
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© 2018 Gordon N Hamilton