Game Pie

I have the good fortune to live on one of the longest streets of independent shops in Europe, the Gloucester Road, an old coaching route between Bristol and Gloucester.

Peppered with a number of great neighborhood restaurants and cafes as it snakes it’s way down towards the heart of the city, the Gloucester Road thrives on the constant buzz of students and locals. I am spoiled for choice for all my grocery needs, from the fish shop selling fresh Cornish mackerel and crab, to Bakers and Co for their warm, house made Sourdough, (one of 6 artisan bakers within a mile), to a handful of small grocers and natural foods stores selling bulk goods and ethical, organic, fair traded health foods. I must also wax lyrical about the fresh fried bombolonis from bomboloni, if you like donuts then I urge you to seek these out in your home town (Bombobar in Chicago’s West Loop for example..)

In my Ode to the Gloucester Road, I can conclude that having accessibility to these many small independents has genuinely changed my habits but not my budget. I buy less but better quality, rarely need to go to a supermarket, and make it go further. There are no tempting “deals” to derail my shopping trips.

Beginning with my weekly shared harvest from a local CSA I diced the carrots and shallots for my game pie filling for Christmas Day. I met Stuart Gale of local Gales Farm Meats  and watched him prepare a mixed bag of pigeon, venison, pheasant, and partridge. This is where it all gets a little bit dreamy for a foodie and locavore because the game comes from an estate no more than 1 mile away, and from a local stalker who brings in wild venison. Tossed in seasoned flour, and combined with a mirepoix of carrots, onion and celery, the pie filling slow cooks in red wine and redcurrant jelly flavored with add in some aromatics including juniper and bay. Once the vegetables have dissolved into a silky sauce, the pie becomes a pie by adding pre-cooked layers of light and buttery puff pastry…

Cooks Note:

You can make the filling in advance and refrigerate for 2-3 days. Transfer to a deep pie dish or casserole, top with puff pastry and cook in a preheated oven at 400°F. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until bubbling and golden. 

Serve naked or with optional sides: crushed potatoes, puréed parsnips with cream and roasted garlic, Brussels sprouts with chestnuts and bacon.

Pair with: a robust Cabernet Sauvignon

Game Pie
Prep Time: 15 minutes, Cook Time: 8 hours LOW / 3 1/2 hours HIGH, Servings 4 - 6
  1. 2 tbsp olive oil
  2. 1 cup / 1 medium onion, diced
  3. 1 cup / 3 medium carrots, diced
  4. 1 cup / 2 ribs celery celery, diced
  5. 2 tsp / 4 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 1 1/2 lbs mixed game (venison, pheasant, pigeon, wild boar)
  7. 2 tbsp flour
  8. 1/2 tsp salt
  9. 1/4 tsp black pepper
  10. 1/2 tsp juniper berries, crushed
  11. 1 tbsp fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried
  12. 2 bay leaves
  13. 3/4 cup / 12 fl oz red wine
  14. 1 cup water
  15. 4 oz cremini mushrooms, diced
  16. 2 tbsp redcurrant jam, grape jelly or seedless raspberry jelly
  17. 1 pack pre-made puff pastry
  1. heat the oil in a skillet on medium and sauté the onion, carrot, celery and garlic for 2 minutes
  2. toss the game mixture in flour, salt and pepper and add to the skillet, cook for a further 2 minutes with the onion mixture
  3. transfer to the slow cooker
  4. add the juniper berries, thyme, bay, red wine, water, mushrooms and jam/jelly
  5. stir cover and cook for 8 hours on LOW or 3 1/2 hours in HIGH
  6. *prepare the puff pastry as per the instructions on the packet, in the oven, by laying it on a non-stick baking tray to cook (you can cook it in one whole piece or portion the pastry with a pastry cutter before cooking)
  7. portion out the game pie filling and top with the cooked pastry
Instant Pot Instructions
  1. toss game mixture in flour, salt & pepper
  2. heat oil in Instant Pot on medium sauté function
  3. cook game for 2 minutes
  4. add onion, carrot, celery, & garlic cook for 2 minutes
  5. add juniper berries, thyme, bay, red wine, 1/2 cup water only, mushrooms and jam/jelly
  6. secure Instant Pot lid & set pressure valve to Sealing
  7. cook on Manual for 25 minutes
  8. use Quick Pressure Release after cooking
  9. see pastry instructions above*
the zen of slow cooking
Zen Moment

“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us”

– Hal Borland

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