The Ritz game pie
Serves 6 | prep 1 hr | total time
- 1 x 200g pack vacuum-packed ready-to-eat chestnuts
- 60g butter
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 150ml port
- 150ml madeira
- 500ml good-quality chicken stock
- a dash of Worcestershire sauce
- 60g oyster mushrooms, torn
- 60g baby button mushrooms
- 80g smoked bacon lardons
- 12 shallots, peeled
- 1 tbsp oil
- 300g diced venison or 340g game casserole mix (or 350g diced chicken thigh meat)
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 1 sprig of parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into pieces (about 2.5cm)
- 300g turnip, peeled and cut into small chunks (about 2.5cm)
- a pinch of sugar
- 1 medium egg yolk, lightly beaten
- 250g all-butter puff pastry
For the suet pastry
- 175g self-raising flour, plus a little extra for dusting
- ½ tsp English mustard powder
- 75g shredded suet
- 1 medium egg yolk
Make the pie filling up to 2 days ahead; chill and bring it to room temperature before using. You can bake the pastry case several hours ahead, too.
- To make the suet pastry, in a bowl, combine the flour, mustard and suet with ½ teaspoon salt, mixing gently. Mix the yolk with 100ml cold water in a cup, then gently mix it into the dry ingredients – do not overwork the pastry and add a touch more water if it feels very dry. Bring it together, then cover it with clingfilm and leave at room temperature for an hour.
- For the filling, put the chestnuts into a deep-sided lidded sauté pan with 20g of the butter; heat to melt the butter. Dust with the flour, then add the port and madeira, and bubble over a high heat, stirring, to reduce by half. Add the chicken stock and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Season to taste and add a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Tip into a bowl and wipe out the pan.
- Fry the mushrooms, lardons and shallots in the pan over a high heat with 20g of the butter, tossing now and then, for about 5 minutes until golden. Tip them into the bowl, too.
- Heat the oil in the pan and brown the game over a high heat. Return everything to the pan with the game, adding the herbs, too, and bring to the boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer, covered with a lid, for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, simmer the carrots and turnips in salted water for 8-10 minutes until tender, drain and return to the pan with the remaining butter. Toss until melted, then stir in the sugar and a pinch of salt. Set aside to cool. Once the game has simmered for 20 minutes, set this aside to cool, too.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C, fan 180°C, gas 6. Roll out the suet pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 35cm round circle, 3-4mm thick, and use it to line a 1.5-litre capacity round pie dish (or similar). Let a little of the pastry overhang the edges of the pie dish to allow for shrinkage. Put the dish on a baking tray and line the pastry with baking paper and baking beans (or rice). Bake the pastry case for 15 minutes, then allow to cool (trim off any excess pastry using a knife). You can turn the oven off for now while everything cools.
- Preheat the oven again, this time to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4. Mix the root vegetables and juices with the cold game mix. Brush some of the beaten egg yolk around the rim of the cooked pastry case. Spoon in the filling – discard the bay leaf, thyme and parsley at this stage. If you have one, push a pie funnel into the centre of the filling.
- Roll out the puff pastry to a circle about 26cm in diameter and transfer the puff pastry on top of the pie filling, gently sticking down the edges and crimping them. Cut a hole in the middle, or if you have used a pie funnel, cut a hole around the end of it. Decorate the top of the pie with any trimmings and brush the beaten egg yolk over the pastry.
- Bake the pie on a baking tray for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 150°C, fan 130°C, gas 2, and continue to cook the pie for a further 45 minutes-1 hour. Serve hot.