Tom Aikens Braised Hare

This is a lovely wintry dish that is very easy to make and is great for those cold nights by the fire.

4 hare legs
100g smoked bacon  cut into large lardons
4 carrots peeled and chopped into 1 cm dice
2 onions peeled and chopped into 1 cm dice
2 sticks celery chopped into 1 cm dice.
5 banana shallots peeled and chopped into 1 cm dice
1 bulb garlic split in half
10 star anise
Few sprigs thyme
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp juniper berries
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
500ml red wine
500ml port
50g redcurrant jelly
100g frozen redcurrants
2g salt
20g flour
500ml white chicken stock
50ml vegetable oil
40g butter

Pre-heat the Oven 170c

Season the legs with salt and pepper then roll in the flour, keeping any excess flour to add later. Heat up a casserole pot on a medium heat then add the oil. When hot add ½ the butter then place in the legs and seal all over till golden, turning on all sides. This should take no more than five minutes.

Then turn the temperature down to low and remove the legs. Add remaining butter & a little more oil, before adding the carrots, bacon, thyme, anise, garlic, pepper, fennel, and salt then cook until golden roasted on a medium heat for five minutes.

Then add the celery, onion, and shallot and cook for a further five minutes till it is all nicely coloured. Add any remaining flour, cook for a minute then add the red wine and reduce by half.  Add the port, redcurrant jelly, redcurrants and enough chicken stock to cover.

Bring this to a simmer, take off the stove to cool and add the legs. Leave to marinate in the stock for a day. When you wish to eat bring it to a simmer, cover with a sheet of parchment paper & a lid, place into the oven for 2-2 1/2 hours till tender and the stock has reduced down.

Rachel Green's Celebration Game Pork Pie

Serves: 8.

For the pastry
225g plain flour, sieved
50g strong white flour, sieved
40g butter, chilled & cubed
75g lard, cubed
1 tsp salt

For the filling
200g minced pork shoulder
Sea salt flakes
Ground white pepper
½ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp dried thyme, or 3 tsp fresh thyme
150g pheasant breasts, no skin
50g sour cherries, halved
150g pigeon breasts, no skin
2 tbsp pistachios

To finish
1 egg, beaten
4 gelatine leaves
300ml chicken stock

Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°fan/350°F/gas mark

Sift the flours and salt into a mixing bowl.  Rub the butter and lard into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Make a well in the centre of the mixture.

Heat the lard and 100ml water in a small saucepan over a medium heat.  When the mixture is simmering, pour it into the well in the flour mixture and stir to combine bringing together as a dough.

Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.  Roll out ¾ of the dough to the thickness of a pound coin and line the mould, pressing the pastry well into the base and sides of the tin, leaving the excess pastry hanging over the edge of the tin.  It is a very forgiving pastry so if it tears, it can be easily patched up.

For the filling, put the minced pork into a bowl, season with salt and pepper and mix in the thyme and nutmeg.  Spoon the mixture into the pastry case and press down with the back of a spoon, making sure there are no air pockets.  Place the pheasant breasts on top of the pork mixture followed by the cherries.  Follow with a layer of pigeon breasts and then scatter over the pistachios.  The pie needs to be well-packed so if there are any spaces, add some more game.

Roll out the remaining pastry until it is large enough to form a lid for the pie.  Brush the overhanging edges with water and place the lid on top, squeezing it together at the edges to seal.  Trim the excess pastry, decorate the top of the pie with any leftover pastry and flute around the edges.  Make a hole in the centre of the lid and chill for 30 minutes.

Put the pie onto a baking sheet and brush the top of the pie evenly with some of the beaten egg.  Put into the preheated oven and cook for an hour.  Take the pie out of the oven and remove from the tin.  Brush the sides of the pie with some of the beaten egg and pop back in the oven for a further 30 minutes until nicely browned.  If it starts to brown too quickly, cover loosely with some foil.  The internal temperature needs to be at least 75°C.

Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool and chill overnight, or for at least 4 hours.

Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 minutes, remove and squeeze out the excess water.  Heat the stock until almost boiling, remove from the heat and stir in the gelatine.  Leave to cool to room temperature.

Pour the cooled stock into the pie through the hole in the lid, pouring in a little at a time, allowing a few seconds before each addition until you can see the gelatine at the top of the pie through the hole.

Place the pie back in the fridge for another 2 hours to allow the jelly to set.

Eat the pie within 3 days.

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