Good game pie

Good game pie

Buonissima torta di cacciagione

By
From
Venice
Serves
8-10
Photographer
Helen Cathcart

This is a great way of using leftover meat. I frequently do this with turkey at Christmas but hadn’t thought of doing it with various game and duck. We have a ready supply of pheasants and pigeons near us and they are excellent in a pie such as this. Inspired by the rich game and mushroom pie in Francesco da Mosto’s book Francesco’s Kitchen, this is our version using pheasant and duck meat. If you prefer not to make the pastry you can use ready-made shop-bought shortcrust.

For the pastry

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
200g ‘00’ or plain flour, plus extra for dusting
freshly ground black pepper
90g lard, cold, with a pinch of salt or salted butter added, and diced
4 tablespoons white wine, cold
50g parmesan, finely grated

For the filling

Quantity Ingredient
500g chestnut or button mushrooms, sliced
3 sprigs thyme
2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
salt
freshly ground black pepper
650g lean cooked meat, such as game, duck or poultry
200ml cooking juices, strained, reserved from the casserole or stock used to cook the meat
100g risotto rice, cooked, (cooked weight)
50g parmesan, finely grated
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
3 eggs, beaten, plus 1 yolk to glaze
pinch ground saffron, to glaze

Method

  1. To make the pastry, sift the flour into a mixing bowl and add the pepper. Using your fingers rub in the lard and salt until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the wine or water and bring the crumbs into a ball. (This can also be done in a food processor.) Knead briefly on a lightly floured work surface until you have a smooth dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes or overnight. (If you do leave it longer than 20 minutes, allow to soften a little at room temperature before rolling.)
  2. While the pastry chills, preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a 20 cm loose-bottomed tin, 6 cm deep, with butter. Fry the mushrooms with the thyme and garlic in the oil over a medium heat until soft, season well and remove from the heat. Discard the thyme and garlic. Remove the cooked meat from the bones and set aside. In a large saucepan add the cooking juices and the cooked rice, and simmer for 5 minutes so that the rice absorbs the flavours of the juice. Pour the rice mixture into a large bowl to cool while you prepare the pastry case. Remove the pastry from the fridge.
  3. Flour the work surface and roll out the pastry to around 5 mm thick. Line the tin with the pastry by gathering it and pushing it out to the edges of the tin, and allowing it to flop over the top. Trim the excess pastry to 2 cm hanging over the tin, wrap it in plastic wrap and reserve for the lid. Chill the lined tin and the extra pastry again while you make up the fillings.
  4. Mix the meat, Parmesan, parsley, eggs and mushroom mixture into the rice mixture and pour into the lined tin. Don’t worry if it is slightly proud of the tin. Roll out the lid and seal the edges using a fork or however you prefer. Brush with the beaten egg yolk and saffron to glaze. Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the pastry is browned and pulling away from the sides of the tin. Serve with salad and perfect and quick pomegranate and ginger sauce.
Tags:
Venice
Giancarlo
Katie
Caldesi
Venetian
Italian
European
Mediterranean
Italy
Europe
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