January. It’s a bit of a D month, don’t you think? Dreary, drizzly, dull. It’s not really A-list, not like, say, blossoming April or sultry August. OK, enough of the word play, you get my drift. Christmas has long gone, everyone’s broke…it is, officially, the most depressing month of the year. Still, we’ll soon be crossing the boundary into February, onto Valentine’s Day and one step closer to spring.
But January has got at least one thing going for it: game. Whether you go for deep rich venison, flavoursome pheasant or the more delicate rabbit, game feels like a real luxury in this bare month. Make the most of the season while it lasts and why not mix up the meats with a hearty, full-bodied pie like this one?
500g mixed game (such as venison, partridge, pheasant), diced
2 rashes of streaky bacon
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon plain flour
A good slosh of red wine (optional)
400ml beef stock
A generous pinch of Herbs de Provence
A packet of ready-rolled puff pastry
Salt and pepper
Add a little oil to a large pan and brown the game over a medium heat. Remove it and set aside.
Add the bacon to the pan and sauté it for a few minutes then add the mushrooms and onion. Continue to sauté for until the onion and the mushrooms start to colour and then add the browned game back to the pan.
Stir in the flour until everything is coated and then add the wine, if using, stock and herbs. Season well and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 50 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the game is tender and the sauce reduced and thickened. If the sauce thickens too much stir in a little water.
Preheat the oven to 200c, fan 180c.
Transfer the game to a pie dish and then top with puffed pastry. Put a small hole in the middle, using a knife, to allow steam to escape.
Bake the pie for 30-40 minutes until the pastry is golden.