Poacher’s Pie

For the hot water crust pastry

- 265g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

- 55g strong white bread flour

- 55g unsalted butter, cubed

- 65g lard

- 1 tsp salt

- 135ml boiling water

- 1 egg, beaten, for glazing

For the filling

- 175g lean steak, cubed

- 100g lean cooked ham, chopped

- 225-230g cooked pheasant, pigeon, partridge or chicken breast, chopped

- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

- 350g pork sausagemeat

- 300ml good-quality beef stock (not from a stock cube)

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Poacher's Pie

Serves 8
Prep 45 minutes
Cook 1 hour 20 minutes

A proper pork pie is such a great inclusion in a lunchbox or party spread. These use a traditional hot water crust pastry, and are very easy to make.

1.Heat your oven to 220. Stand a 1.5 litre capacity pie dish (or a pie mould) on a baking tray.

2. For the filing, combine the steak, ham and game or chicken in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Cover and place in the fridge while you prepare the pastry.

3. For the hot water crust pastry, put the flours into a bowl. Add the butter and rub in with your finger tips. Heat the lard in a pan until melted. Dissolve the salt in the boiling water, then add to the melted lard. Pour this liquid into the flour. Mix with a spoon then, as soon as it is cool enough, tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and work together into a ball. Be careful that the dough is not too hot when you start to work it. Once the dough ball is formed, leave it to cool slightly. If it’s still lumpy, work it a minute or two longer.

4. Working as quickly as you can, take two-thirds to three-quarters of the pastry (depending on the dimensions of you dish) and roll it out until large enough to line the base and sides of the pie dish (or mould). Lift into the dish (or mould) and press carefully onto the base and sides, leaving a neat 5mm extending above the rim. Season the sausagemeat, then press it into the bottoms and sides of the pie. Spoon the other mixed meats evenly on top.

5. Roll out the remaining pastry to make a lid. Damp the edges of the pie with a little beaten egg, then position the lid over the filling. Pinch the edges of the dough together to seal. Continue to work quickly because, as the pastry cools, it stiffens and becomes more brittle. Cut a small slit in the centre of the pie. Brush with more beaten egg.

6. Bake the pie for 20 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown, then turn your oven down to 180°C and cook for a further hour. Poke a skewer through the hole in the top to check whether the filling is tender. If you are using a pie dish, remove the pie from the oven now. If you are using a mould, you can remove the sides, brush the pastry all over with more beaten egg and bake for an extra 20-30 minutes to brown it.

7. Heat the stock to simmering, then pour it into the pie through the slit in the lid. Serve hot, or leave the pie to cool completely and serve with new potatoes, a green salad and chutneys.

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