In my mind, a truly great pie should be both individual and be fully encased in pastry – I don’t want any of these token-pastry-lid pies. These perfect pies celebrate my favourite classic filling but elevated with Guinea fowl and heady wild mushrooms.
1 Large Guinea Fowl, 1.2kg preferably
200g Smoked Streaky Bacon, diced
200g Mixed Mushrooms, roughly chopped
800g Puff Pastry
500ml Dry White Wine
1 Litre Chicken Stock, approximately
100ml Creme Fraîche
A Garlic Clove, minced
1 Small Bunch of Tarragon, finely chopped
1 Large Bunch of Thyme
Generous Pinch of Salt and Pepper
16cm Pie Dish
1. Quarter one of the onions and place into a large deep pan with half of the thyme. Rest the guinea fowl on top of the onion and fill with the wine and then the chicken stock until ¾ of the bird is covered.
Place the pan over a high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cover the pan. Simmer for 1hr-1.5hrs until the guinea fowl is cooked through and tender.
2. Remove the guinea fowl from the pan and strip the meat from the guinea fowl and break up into small bite-size pieces, set aside until needed.
3. Add the stripped carcass back to the pot and any remaining stock, turn the heat up to medium high and allow the liquid to reduce by about a third. Strain the liquid and then set aside until needed. This will act as gravy for your pie.
4. Place a large pan over a medium heat and add the diced bacon to the pan, cook for 3-5 minutes until the bacon is starting to crisp up. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside. Finely dice the remaining onion and add to the pan with the minced garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes until softened and beginning to colour. Add the mushrooms and the remaining thyme sprigs and sauté the mushrooms for a couple of minutes until some of the moisture from the mushrooms is released.
5. Remove the pan from the heat..
6. Add the meat from the guinea fowl to the pan along with the bacon and the chopped tarragon and mix together. Add the creme fraiche and a couple of spoonfuls of the stock to the pan and mix together. If too dry, add another spoonful of stock – you want the filling to be heavily coated but not too wet. Season to taste.
7. Allow the filling to cool.
8. Divide the pastry into 4. Divide each portion in two again where one is slightly larger than the other, and then roll both out into rectangles large enough to fit into the pie tins, about 3mm in depth. Butter the pie dish and then form the larger pastry rectangle to the base of the pie dish. Add a quarter of the filling into the pie and brush the edges with a little beaten egg and top with the smaller rectangle, sealing around the edges with a fork. Cut away any excess pastry from around the edges.
9. Repeat until all four pies are made.
10. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
11. Brush the pastry with the egg wash and then add a small air hole in the centre.
12. Bake the pies for 30 minutes or until the pastry is well risen and golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving. Heat through the gravy, and whisk in a knob of butter and some finely chopped parsley. Serve the pies with wild garlic mash and the gravy. Enjoy.