Sunday, 7 September 2008

Game Pie

The main indicator that the summer is officially over, for me, is the plethora of articles on autumnal foods that hit the newspapers. This has clearly been getting to a friend of ours, because at the wine dinner the other night he said that he wanted game. More than wanted it, he came fairly close to stamping his little foot and demanding it.

We'd said we'd cook for him last night, so I figured that it had to be game. And conveniently I had 2 packets of wood-pigeon breasts and a couple of packs of diced venison in the freezer, which all said "pie" to me. But not a cold, raised pie like I have done in the past. No, this time there had to be gravy.

So I sauteed some smoked lardons with a diced onion and added the diced venison and some soaked, sliced shiitake mushrooms. Then I stirred in a tablespoon of crushed juniper berries, added a good cupful of beef stock and about the same of red wine and let it simmer about half an hour. Then I added some little white button mushrooms and the pigeon breasts, halved, and let it cook a bit more.

I lifted the meat into a blind-baked shortcrust case, added some cornflour (let down in a little red wine) and cooked the juices down to a thick gravy. I didn't do much to season the juices until they were quite thick because I didn't want them to get too salty.

I poured the thick gravy over the meat and allowed it to cool for 10 minutes. Then topped it with a puffpastry lid, glazed it with beaten egg, then scooted over to our friend's place and put it in the oven.

His runner beans have been very productive this summer, so simply steamed runner beans were our accompaniment. And a really lovely 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon that has been travelling with Paul for a very long time now.
The meat was succulent and richly-flavoured. The shiitake mushrooms added an extra savoury note and it all went perfectly with the smooth, aged wine.

I'm really hoping for an Indian summer, but if this is what autumn is going to be like, it's not too bad.

14 comments:

alexandra's kitchen said...

this looks like just the dish to bring to a Sunday-night football party. perfect for fall.

Joie de vivre said...

Foodycat, thanks for the eggplant link! My one foray into game was bison. It was so purple in color it turned me off a little, but your pie looks perfect to tuck into on a cold day.

Sam said...

That looks fantastic, I love game although I've never tried pigeon.

The Cat's Mother said...

The Wynns' would have been a perfect wine match.

Foodycat said...

If you are used to very red beef, the purple of game can be a bit scary! Pigeon breasts have a very fine texture, almost like liver, I think.

And the Wynn's was lovely! Repaid our faith in carrying it half way around the world! I am hoping we have a couple more bottles too.

The Cat's Mother said...

I did wonder if the pigeon breasts were a bit overwhelmed in with the venison?
The great thing about Wynns is that it is so inexpensive for the quality. You should order some in -the climate in London will allow Paul to cellar it for much longer than we can in QLD.

Foodycat said...

I kept the pigeon breasts in much bigger chunks, so when you got a piece you knew about it!

The markup on Australian wines here is hideous. For the money I would rather buy Spanish and get something really exceptional.

SSS said...

You mean there are uses for juniper berries other than gin making?

kat said...

Oh my is that tasty looking! I'm making a beef pie tonight but it now feels so small compared to that!

Dee said...

You have game in your freezer? Wow! I have chicken, unidentifiable stuff in containers and puff pastry. How boring! Your pie looks stunning but I'll have to eat vicariously, sadly.

Darius T. Williams said...

Looks damn good - and the pics are great too.

-DTW
www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com

Brittany said...

Oh my...This has my tummy rumbling. I am now actually looking forward to the cooler weather!

Heather said...

This is lovely. I usually turn my venison stew meat into mince for Bolognese, but this could definitely be a keeper.

Foodycat said...

You usually get venison your dad has hunted though, don't you? My farmed bambi meat doesn't need mincing, whereas yours might!

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