Nose to Tail at Home

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Pheasant & Trotter Full Pie

Pheasant & Trotter Pie

Ryan Adams of Texas is cooking his way through Fergus Henderson's The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating.  He is chronicling the experience on his blog, Nose to Tail at Home.

Pheasant and Pig's Trotter Pie with Suet Crust

3 pigs trotters
A bundle of fresh herbs
1 head of garlic, skin on
2 bay leaves
10 black peppercorns
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 red onions, peeled and halved
2 carrots, peeled
1 bottle of red wine
1 3/4 quarts chicken stock
A scoop of duck fat or unsalted butter
1 lb unsmoked streaky bacon, rind removed, rolled and tied, bacon cut into chunks
2 pheasants, split in half, kept on the bone, and seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 onions, peeled and sliced

Suet Crust
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1/4 lb suet, shredded
A healthy pinch of sea salt
1 egg yolk, beaten, for glaze

The pie filling is best made the day before, to find itself.  Place the trotters in a pot with the herbs, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, celery, red onions, and carrots, cover with red wine and stock, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 3 hours, until the trotters are cooked and tender.  Remove the trotters from the pot, then strain the stock.  While the trotters are warm, pick the flesh and skin from the bones..

Get a frying pan hot, add duck fat or butter, fry the bacon chunks and the rolled rind, then remove to a deep roasting pan or ovenproof dish.  Now brown the pheasant halves, and then move them to join the bacon (if the pan is looking dry, add a little more fat).  Then sweat the onions, add these to the roasting pan, add the trotter flesh and stock, and cover with aluminum foil.  Place in a hot 425 oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 and cook for another 30 minutes.  Remove, check the seasoning and allow to cool in the stock (at this point it can be eaten if you have not the patience for making a pie). 

When cool, remove the pheasant and pull the meat off the bones, keeping the pieces of flesh large, as you want them to maintain their integrity in the pie.  Return them to the other ingredients and refrigerate overnight. 

To make the pastry, mix the ingredients (except the egg yolk) together, then add ice cold water cautiously, to achieve a firm dough.  Allow this to rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours before use.

Place your meat mixture in a pie dish (if there appears to be too much sauce, hold some back, it will come in handy somewhere else), cover with pastry, paint this with egg yolk and bake in a medium to hot 375 oven for 40 minutes.  When the pastry is ready and golden, and the stuffing bubbling inside, serve and eat.  Very good with Brussles sprouts.