Cooking With Game

A forum for the cooking/preperation of all types of game from around the world.

    Pigeon Pie.


    Posts : 920
    Join date : 2008-09-14
    Age : 57
    Location : Bridgwater, Somerset.

    Pigeon Pie.

    Post  Admin on Sun Dec 07, 2014 8:43 pm

    For 6 people.

    40g butter
    350g smoked lardons or
    bacon rashers, chopped
    3 medium carrots, peeled &
    roughly chopped (but not too
    1 large onion, peeled (reserve
    skin & trimmings for stock) &
    finely chopped
    1 bay leaf
    4 cloves
    ½ tbsp chopped thyme leaves
    (reserve stalks for stock)
    1 tbsp malt vinegar
    Breasts from 6 pigeons,
    carcasses reserved for stock
    3 tbsp plain flour

    1 tbsp sunflower oil
    10 black peppercorns
    2 tsp worcestershire sauce
    Flaked sea salt (optional)
    250g plain flour, plus extra for
    1 tsp crumbled flaked
    sea salt
    125g butter, frozen for at least
    1 hour, coarsely grated
    85–100ml cold water
    1 medium free-range egg, beaten.

    To make the stock, start by chopping the reserved pigeon carcasses
    into three with a large, heavy knife. Heat the oil in a large saucepan
    over a medium heat. Throw in the carcasses and brown them well,
    then pour in enough water to cover the bones (about 1.25 litres). Add
    the peppercorns, skin and trimmings from the onion and the stripped
    stalks from the thyme you will use in the pie filling. Bring to a gentle
    simmer and cook for an hour with the lid off (after this time you would
    be hard pushed to extract any more flavour from the bones). Strain
    the stock into a bowl, then return it to the saucepan and reduce it to
    500ml. Season it with the Worcestershire sauce and salt, if needed,
    then leave it to cool. The stock should be delicious in its own right.
    While the stock is doing its thing, make the pastry. Mix the flour and
    salt in a large bowl and stir in the butter with a round-bladed knife.
    Slowly add enough of the water to bring the mixture together into
    a soft dough. Turn out on to a floured work surface and knead very
    lightly. Form into a flattish ball and wrap in baking paper. Chill in the
    fridge for 30 minutes.
    Meanwhile, make the pie filling. Take a large frying pan and drop in
    25g of the butter. When it has melted, add the bacon, carrots and
    onion with the bay leaf, cloves and thyme leaves. Cook all together
    over a medium–low heat, stirring occasionally, until the carrots and
    onion have become tender (about 15 minutes). Add the vinegar and
    cook until it has evaporated. Put the contents of the pan in a bowl to
    one side. Wipe out the pan with kitchen paper.
    Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C/Gas 6. Pull the skin from the
    pigeon breasts and discard, then chop the breasts into large chunks,
    about three pieces per breast. (The size is important as, chopped
    smaller, they would overcook by the time the pastry is done and will
    be tasty but tough.) Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and add some
    salt, combining everything together briefly. Toss the pigeon pieces in
    the seasoned flour until well covered.
    Melt the remaining butter in a large frying pan and when it is smoking
    fry the pigeon bits hard, for no more than 2 minutes, tossing regularly
    so as to brown the pieces evenly on all sides. Again they need to
    colour fast so as not to spend too much time in the pan, so really
    make sure the pan and butter are truly hot. Combine the pigeon
    pieces with the carrot, bacon and onion. Place a pie bird in the middle
    of a 1.25-litre pie dish. Add the filling; it should come slightly above
    the level of the rim to prevent the pastry from sagging. Pour over the
    cooled stock so that it comes up to just below the rim of the dish.
    Take the pastry from the fridge about 15 minutes before using it. Roll
    it out on a floured work surface to slightly thicker than a £1 coin and
    5cm larger than the pie dish. Brush the rim of the dish with beaten
    egg. Cut two or three 2cm-wide strips from around the edge of the
    pastry and press these on to the rim all the way around. Brush with
    more egg and carefully lift the remaining pastry over a rolling pin and
    on to the pie dish, making a small slit with the point of a knife to allow
    the pie funnel to pass through the pastry. Press the edges to seal,
    then trim neatly. Crimp the edge, if you like, to give the pie a decorative
    finish. Glaze with more egg. Bake the pie on a baking tray until its roof
    is dark golden brown and the filling is hot (about 30–35 minutes).

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