Pheasant & Bath chaps pie recipe
WARNING! This is not a middle-of-the-road suburban pie – pheasant and pig cheeks equals foodie ‘DynaMarmite’. This is a pie with plenty of front, attitude and bags of flavoursome fat.
- A brace of pheasants
- 25g butter
- 3 onions, diced
- 200g bacon lardons
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- Sea salt and black pepper
For the Bath Chaps
- 2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
- 3 carrots, roughly chopped
- 1 onion, cut into quarters
- 1 whole bulb of garlic, top sliced off
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 bottle of red wine
- 600ml chicken stock
- 800g pig’s cheeks
For the dumpling crust
- 400g self-raising flour
- 200g beef suet
- 2 tbsp English mustard powder
- 1 free range egg, lightly beaten to glaze
First cook the Bath chaps. Put the vegetables, garlic bulb, bay leaves, wine and stock in a large pan and bring to a simmer. Add the pig’s cheeks, then cover and cook very gently for about 3 hours, adding a little stock or water if the mixture becomes too dry. Remove the cheeks, leave until cool enough to handle and then roughly chop the meat. Be sure to include the fat – it will add flavour and texture to the pie. Strain the stock, discard the vegetables, and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 200◦C/400◦F/gas mark 6. Season the pheasants, put them on a rack in a roasting tin and pour the strained stock into the tin. Cover with foil and place in the oven for about half an hour, until the birds are just cooked. Remove from the oven and leave until cool enough to handle.
Meanwhile, heat the butter in a pan, add the onions and bacon and cook gently for about 15 minutes, until they start to colour. Stir in the flour, then gradually stir in the stock from the roasting tin. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 5 minutes.
Strip the meat off the pheasants and cut it into rough chunks. Add it to the sauce, together with the Bath chaps, and season to taste. Transfer to a large pie dish and leave to cool.
Turn the oven down to 180◦C/350◦F/gas mark 4. For the dumpling crust, put all the ingredients except the egg into a bowl with some salt and pepper and mix well. Gradually add enough water to bring the ingredients together into a firm but not sticky dough. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and roll out to fit the top of the dish. Push the dough down over the filling so it reaches the edges. Brush with beaten egg. There’s no need to cut holes with this one – it’s a flat dumpling topping, and you want it to steam a little
Bake the pie for about 35 minutes, until the dumpling crust is risen and golden brown. Serve with roast garlic mash and braised red cabbage.