How To Make The Perfect… Gamekeeper’s Pie

Celebrating great London food and the culinary philosophy of London’s leading airline to the USA – Delta -the airline’s lead chef Linton Hopkins has collaborated with James Lowe of Lyle’s in Shoreditch.

Showcasing the sort of meals available in business class on-board international flights, both chefs have worked on a number of dishes initially designed for club box guests attending Chelsea matches at Stamford Bridge this season.

The duo’s Gamekeeper’s Pie, for instance, features venison shoulder, pheasant legs and rabbit with a mashed potato topping. What’s more, it’s a relatively simple dish to recreate at home, and an ideal winter warmer for the colder months, celebrating seasonal produce.

Ingredients

Serves four

Onion, 1, peeled and diced

Butter, 35g

Olive oil, a splash

Venison shoulder, 2.5kg, cut into three sections

Pheasant legs, 4, (or just thighs if possible)

Rabbit, 1, cut into 3 sections

Red wine vinegar, 10ml, plus an extra splash

Red wine, 50ml

Cider, 50ml

Port, 20ml

Carrot, 1, peeled and cut in half lengthways

Leek, 1, whole but green parts removed

Thyme, small bunch, tied together

Chicken stock, 300ml

Parsnips, 400g, peeled, cut in half lengthways and thinly sliced

Maris Piper potatoes (or any other variety suitable for mashing), 400g, peeled

Large egg yolk, 1, beaten

Method

Place the onion in an ovenproof saucepan over a low heat along with half the butter. Cover and allow to sweat down until very soft, clear and sweet. Don’t let it get too much colour (the lid should stop this happening, but keep a close eye and stir regularly).

Preheat the oven to 160C/gas mark 2-3.

Place a heavy-bottomed casserole dish over a medium heat, add a splash of olive oil and brown the sections of shoulder, one by one. Then add the pheasant legs and rabbit. Once coloured all over, remove from the pan – if you do this carefully there should be lots of brown proteins left on the bottom of the pan.

Tip the sweated onion into the meat pan and allow to colour slightly, then pour in the vinegar and let it reduce by half. Add the wine and reduce by half, then add the port, carrot, leek, thyme and the meat. Pour in enough stock to just cover the ingredients. Pop the lid on and cook in the oven for 3 hours.

Meanwhile, put the parsnips in a heavy-based pan with the remaining butter, cover and sweat over a low heat for 30 minutes, until ‘mashable’.

Boil the potatoes in a pan of boiling, salted water for about 15 minutes, until soft. Once the potatoes are done, drain then add the parsnips, melted butter and beaten eggs. Season with salt and pepper then mash.

The stew is done when the meat falls away from the bone. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. When it’s at room temperature, lift out the meat, pull it off the bone and shred into rough chunks, discarding any cartilage.

Remove the carrot, leek and thyme from the braising liquid and discard. Place the meat from the braise in an ovenproof shallow pie dish (roughly 35 x 25cm). Pour the braising liquid back into a pan and reduce by a third. Check the seasoning, add salt and maybe a splash of vinegar, then pour over the meat and onions. Place in the fridge to cool, until the stock has set.

Spoon the mash into a piping bag and pipe on top of the pie mix. Turn the oven up to 180C/gas mark 4 and cook the pie for 45 minutes, until the potato goes a nice golden brown.

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