Pheasant and rabbit pie

Pheasant and rabbit pie is bang in season for December and makes a great festive starter

Pheasant and rabbit pie is bang in season for December and makes a great festive starter

This elegant pie is fantastic for any festive gatherings you may be holding over the next couple of months. I like to use wild rabbit because it is far more flavoursome and leaner than the farmed variety, and there happens to be an abundance of them here on the Isle of Lewis. With both pheasant and rabbit in season  through December, there couldn’t be a better time to try this delicious game dish.

Makes 3 small pies, serves 6 as a starter or a shoot snack
Ingredients for the short pastry
225g/8oz plain flour
115g/4oz salted butter
pinch of salt
3 tbsp cold water
milk to brush pie
Ingredients for the filling
1 cock pheasant
1 rabbit
3 good pork sausages
3 banana shallots
1 chicken stock cube
1 clove of garlic
Homemade short pastry method
This is simple to make, as long as you have the time – if not ready-bought short pastry will work just as well. Try and keep all the ingredients as cool as possible. Using your fingers, rub the flour, salt and butter together, as if you were making crumble. When the mixture is a little like breadcrumbs, slowly add the water. Stirring with a palette life as the pastry starts to come together. Use your hands to bring together in a ball. Then chill your pastry. After an hour or so, roll and chill again, then roll to line your pie tin.
I use 3 mini bread tins with smooth corners as this allows me to cook the pies quickly to keep them moist, with the smooth corners of the tins making for removal easy.
Pie filling method
Take the meat off of 1 cock pheasant and 1 rabbit. Finely chop 3 banana shallots and 1 clove of garlic and gently fry these off in a frying pan. Turn up the heat and add your diced pheasant and rabbit, a little salt and pepper to season and a ground up chicken stock cube. Fry this mixture until it is golden brown, but the meat is still pink in the middle, then remove from the heat. Cut your three sausages and squeeze the meat out of them into a bowl.
Line your tins with pastry and half-fill the tins with your pheasant and rabbit mix. Add a thin layer of sausage meat and finish with a layer of pheasant and rabbit. Cover with a pastry lid and brush with a little milk.
Place into a pre-heated oven at 200c/393F/GasMark6 for around 30 minutes. Keep an eye on the pastry  – you will know that it is cooked when it is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before taking it out of the tin. Serve cold with a little chutney for a starter or with salad, cheese and pickle for a shoot lunch – bang on!
If you or your favourite foodie would like to attend a three-day residential Essential Game cookery course with The Shotgun Chef we have a special Christmas offer for just £300 all inclusive! Click here for details.

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