End of Season Game, Ale and Mushroom Pie

So the game season has finished and I still had some knocking around in the freezer. I had some pheasant breasts, venison and a rabbit so I decided to cut off the meat and chuck them altogether in a pie. It was delicious and a nice nod to the end of the season until it returns in autumn winter. I love eating like this as you really look forward to different things in the different seasons. I doubt I will eat squashes, game or Brussel sprouts now until nearer the end of the year, though I can look forward to juicy tomatoes, strawberries, courgettes and much more in coming months.

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g mixed game meat, cut into chunks
  • 75g pack smoked pancetta or bacon
  • 2 banana shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
    6 juniper berries
    4 cloves
    1 tsp ground ginger
    3 tbsp plain flour
    1 tbsp sun dried tomato purée
    330ml bottle of pale ale
    500ml chicken stock
    Seasoning to taste
    1 pack of ready rolled puff pastry
    Milk for brushing pastry

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a heavy based lidded pan or casserole pot, add the game mix and brown all over for around 4-5 minutes, set aside on a plate.
  2. In the same pan brown the lardons for a few minutes, remove with a slotted spoon and place with the browned meat leaving behind the fat.
  3. Add the shallots and mushrooms to the bacon fat and cook for about 8 minutes until soft. There should be enough liquid from the mushrooms to stop them catching but if not add a splash of water. Add the bay leaves and garlic and cook for a further minute until fragrant.
  4. Grind the juniper and cloves add to the pan along with the ground ginger, flour and browned game and lardons. Give it a good stir to coat everything and cook out the flour for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add the tomato purée and ale, bring to the boil then simmer for 5 minutes to reduce.
  6. Add the chicken stock and water if needed to submerge the stew. Taste and season, bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer, put on lid and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
  7. Heat the oven to 200 degrees fan. Uncover the meat and simmer for another 30 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
  8. Tip the meat mixture into a pie dish. Roll the pastry over the top and seal by crimping the edges with your fingers. Cut a small cross in the center of the pie to let the steam out. Make any pattern with the extra pastry and place on top.
  9. Brush the lid with milk or egg wash and bake for 30 minutes. Enjoy 😊

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