Recipe Card

Wheatley House Pie

Ingredients

  • 500 g Jus-Rol™ shortcrust pastry
  • 20 dried juniper berries
  • 25 ml dry gin
  • 2 pheasants, whole
  • 12-15 baby parsnips
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp coarse rock salt
  • 1 beaten egg for glaze

Stock ingredients:

  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stick
  • 1 medium Maris Piper potato
  • 1 Leek
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 1/2 liter boiling water
  • Salt and pepper

Equipment required

  • Saucepan
  • Frying pan
  • Rolling Pin

Techniques used

Method

  1. In advance: Soak the juniper berries in the gin for 24 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan assisted oven), Gas Mark 6.
  3. To make the stock, remove the breast and thigh meat from the pheasants and refrigerate. Roast the pheasant bones in the hot oven on a bed of the other stock ingredients for one hour. Then transfer the entire contents of the roasting tray to a large saucepan and add 3 pints of boiling water. Bring the pan to the boil and then simmer until the liquid has reduced by half.
  4. Remove the bones (some of the meat will be falling off the bone and can be added back to the pan). Skim off any fat or scum. Blitz the stock and vegetables with a hand blender or processor until smooth and then pass through a fine sieve. This will make the gravy for the pie.
  5. To make the pie, strain off the gin from the juniper berries and reserve for a very special gin & tonic! Gently crush the berries to release the flavours. Evenly dice the pheasant meat and sear, in batches, in a little hot oil, in a large deep pan to seal. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside. Add the onion to the pan and fry gently until it is softened but not browned. Add the parsnips and fry for 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Return the meat to the pan along with the juniper berries. In a separate pan heat up the pre-prepared gravy and when hot add to the pan (this must be hot before adding to the pheasant so that it does not halt the cooking process). Simmer the meat, parsnips and gravy until tender, approximately 25 mins, season to taste, allow to cool.
  7. To prepare the pastry, roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until 5mm thick. It is important not to add too much flour because this would alter the recipe of the pastry and it will not be perfect. Evenly sprinkle over the poppy seeds and then roll again until 3mm thick. Cut the pastry into 5 x 15cm circles (you may have to re-roll the pastry for this but the poppy seeds will still be visible). Use trimmings to cut out decorative leaves if desired.
  8. Divide the meat mixture between 5 x 12cm circular pie dishes, 250ml capacity, filling to the brim and top with the poppy seed pastry, sealing it down with a little of the beaten egg, decorate with pastry leaves if desired. Glaze the pies with egg and sprinkle over some of the rock salt. Bake for 25 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden.
  9. Serve with a vibrantly coloured root mash made from Maris Piper potatoes with pureed carrot and beetroot, and steamed green vegetables, with any left -over gravy as an accompaniment.