Pigeon pie with Madeira and mushrooms


First published in 2018
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Pigeon stock



First make the pigeon stock. Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 8
Chop the pigeon carcasses into 3 pieces and place in a baking tray. Add the carrot, shallots and leek and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to combine and roast for 30–45 minutes, stirring occasionally until the bones and vegetables are golden brown
  • 1/2 leek, washed and chopped
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 10 wood pigeons, breasts removed and reserved for pie filling
  • 1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 large shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
Tip the bones and vegetables into a large saucepan. Deglaze the roasting tin with a splash of water and add to the saucepan. Add the juniper berries, peppercorns, bay leaf, thyme and parsley and cover with 2 litres of water
Place over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Once the stock boils, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 3 hours. Strain the stock through a sieve and reserve to one side, or refrigerate if making in advance
Next make the pastry. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Grate the butter into the flour using the larges holes of the grater. Gently mix with the flat of a knife until the butter is coated in the flour. The butter should remain in grated pieces, not rubbed into the dough
Add the chilled water and bring the pastry together with the knife, adding a little more water if necessary. Gently press the dough into a ball and then flatten slightly to form a disc. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes
  • 100ml of water, chilled
Meanwhile, make the pie filling. Add half of the butter to a large frying pan over a high heat. When the pan is very hot, quickly sear the pigeon breast pieces on each side – this should only take 1–2 minutes, the aim is not to cook the pigeon breast but get a nice colour on it. Tip onto a plate and leave to one side
Lower the heat to medium and add some more butter to the pan, along with the bacon. Fry for 5 minutes or until golden, then add the button and soaked porcini mushrooms and cook for a few minutes. Lower the heat and add the shallots, garlic and thyme. Cook gently for 5–8 minutes or until soft
Turn up the heat and add the Madeira, stirring to scrape any bits off the bottom of the pan. Stir in the flour, cook for 1 minute and then stir in the stock. Simmer gently, stirring until everything is combined and the sauce has thickened slightly. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the pigeon pieces. Add everything to a large pie dish and allow to cool
Preheat the oven to 200°C/ gas mark 6
Place the pie funnel in the centre of the dish. Roll out the pastry on a floured work surface to about the thickness of a £1 coin – it needs to be 5cm larger than your dish. Brush the rim of the dish with beaten egg and, using the extra pastry from the edge, cut a few 2cm wide strips and lay them on the rim, pressing down slightly. With a small knife, cut a small slit in the top for the pie funnel to allow the air to escape. Brush with more beaten egg and use any extra pastry to decorate the top of the pie. Press down the edges of the pie to seal, trim off the excess and crimp the edges
Glaze the pie with the rest of the beaten egg and bake for 30–35 minutes, or until the pastry is golden. Serve immediately with seasonal leafy greens. Try to avoid reheating the pie as this will overcook the pigeon
First published in 2018
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