Pheasant Pie With Bacon Stuffing

A tasty good old-fashioned bird pie with lemon, thyme and bacon stuffing balls

Pheasant Pie With Bacon Stuffing
Serves 6
A tasty good old-fashioned bird pie with lemon, thyme and bacon stuffing balls
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Total Time
3 hr 25 min
Total Time
3 hr 25 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 plump skinless pheasants, quartered through the bone
  2. 200g smoked bacon lardons
  3. 180g onions, chopped
  4. 100g celery sticks, sliced
  5. 225g carrots, sliced
  6. 50g plain flour, divided
  7. 8 juniper berries
  8. 15ml redcurrant jelly
  9. 250ml red wine
  10. 600ml game or chicken stock
  11. 65g butter, divided
  12. Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the stuffing balls
  1. 50g rindless streaky bacon rashers, finely chopped
  2. 80g onion, finely chopped
  3. ½ lemon, zest finely grated and juiced
  4. 4g fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
  5. 2g fresh thyme leaves
  6. 1 large egg, beaten
  7. 100g fresh white bread crumbs
  8. 50g butter
For the pastry
  1. 450g plain flour, plus more for dusting
  2. 115g cold butter, diced
  3. 115g lard, diced
  4. 3. g salt
Instructions
  1. Rub salt and lots of ground black pepper generously all over the pheasant quarters. Melt 50 g butter in a large, heatproof casserole dish over moderate flame and brown the bird pieces in batches. Drain them with a slotted spoon on a plate and save for later.
  2. Toss the bacon lardons into the pan and fry for 5-7 minutes until they crisp up and turn golden. Stir in the onions and saute for 5 minutes, stirring often, until they soften without browning. Dust the flour on top and pour the stock in a steady stream while stirring constantly until fully incorporated without forming lumps. Add in the juniper berries and beat in the redcurrant jelly. Add a good drop of red wine and bring the sauce to a boil while stirring occasionally.
  3. Lower the browned pheasant pieces back into the casserole into the boiling sauce. Place a lid on top and let it simmer over slow flame for an hour. Drain the pheasant pieces with a slotted spoon and set aside in a plate; let them cool.
  4. Toss the chopped celery and carrot into the simmering liquid and partially cover the dish with a lid. Continue to simmer for another 15 minutes to thicken the cooking liquid considerably. Skim off most of the fat accumulating on the surface of the simmering liquid. Meanwhile, pull the meat off the bones into irregular shreds.
  5. Whisk the flour into remaining softened butter to form a smooth paste and gradually stir it into the sauce until fully incorporated without forming lumps. Continue to simmer for another couple of minutes and stir in the shredded meat; adjust the seasonings. Transfer it into a 6 m deep pie dish of about 2.5 l in capacity and insert a pie funnel through the center of this filling; set aside to cool.
  6. For the stuffing balls, melt the butter in a small skillet and fry the onion over slow heat until it softens. Stir in the bacon pieces and fry for another 2 minutes until they turn crispy. Set aside to cool and toss with breadcrumbs, grated lemon zest, herbs and a dash of seasonings. Pour in enough beaten egg to make the ingredients clump together and reserve the rest for later use. Pinch out small portions of the stuffing mixture and roll them into small balls. Scatter them on top of the pheasant filling evenly.
  7. Warm up your oven to 220 degrees C. For the pastry, stir the salt into flour and sift the mixture into a food processor. Add the butter and lard cubes into the seasoned flour and process into a crumb-like mix. Transfer it into a large mixing bowl and pour in 90 ml water. Work them together with your hands or blend with food processor to form a smooth dough. Place it on a flat, lightly floured working counter and knead it briefly until they turn smooth and pliable. Flatten it out into a large round shape so that it’s slightly larger than the pie dish by 2.5 cms.
  8. Brush the edges of the pie dish with reserved beaten egg and carefully spread the pastry dough on top. Press it around the edges to seal and trim off most of the overhanging edges. Fold the edges to form a crimped pattern and brush the surface with more beaten egg. Score a slit in the middle of the pie top to reveal the pie funnel.
  9. Bake in the hot oven for half an hour until the filling is heated through and the pie top turns golden. Take the pie out from the oven and let it rest on a cooling rack to cool slightly. Remove the pie funnel carefully so that the pie crust remains intact.
  10. Serve warm.
Notes
  1. Level: Medium
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