Easy Game Pie
Yes, this really is easy. You can now buy packs of three different selections of ready-prepared game, or you can use all cubed venison. Combine the game with a good-quality bought red wine sauce and a glass of port, cook it slowly while you forget about it, then finally top with ready-made puff pastry – and everyone will think you've been working for days.
|2 x 12 oz (350 g) packs of game selection meat (venison, pigeon and pheasant), or 1½ lb (700 g) cubed venison|
|1 slightly rounded dessertspoon plain flour|
|1 level teaspoon salt|
|1 level teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper|
|4 oz (110 g) small dark, open mushrooms|
|1 x 125 g salad slicing onions cut into quarters, or 6 pieces if the onions are large – leave attached at the base|
|8 oz (225 g) pack diced bacon|
|2 x 350 g jars good-quality red wine sauce|
|5 fl oz (150 ml) ruby port|
|1 bay leaf|
|1 good sprig thyme|
|1 pack frozen puff pastry (from a 1kg, 4-pack box), defrosted|
|beaten egg, to glaze|
|Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C).|
|Need help with conversions?|
You will also need a large, shallow, heatproof pie or baking dish, 3½ pint (2 litre) capacity.
Snip the vacuum packs and tip the meats into a colander, rinse with cold water and pat them dry with kitchen paper. Then place the meats in the baking dish. Mix the flour with the salt and pepper, then sprinkle this seasoned flour in and toss the meat to coat it as evenly as possible.
Next place the mushrooms, onions, bacon, red wine sauce and the port in a saucepan, stir well and bring everything up to simmering point. Then pour this over the meat, give everything a good stir, add the bay leaf and the thyme and cover tightly with a double sheet of strong foil tucked firmly around the edges. Now place the dish on a baking sheet on the middle shelf of the oven for 20 minutes. Then lower the heat to gas mark 1, 275°F (140°C) and cook for 2½ hours.
When the meat is cooked, remove it from the oven and raise the heat back to gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C). Roll out the pastry to a slightly larger size than the dish, fold the edges over about ½ inch (1 cm) and dampen the sides of the dish. Lay the pastry over the top, sealing well, and flute the edges. If you think you're getting off lightly with all this cheating, you might feel like rolling out the pastry trimmings and, using a fresh ivy leaf as a guide, cutting out a few ivy leaves for decoration. Either way, make a steam hole in the centre, brush the whole thing with beaten egg and return it to the oven for 25-30 minutes.
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