Alain Chapel's hot venison pies

vension pie mainMichel Roux Jr shares with us his cousin's deliciously hearty venison pie recipe.

Serves 10

Ingredients

500g venison meat (trimmed)

150g fatty pork meat

150g veal

400g pork fat

1 tablespoon brandy

Salt & pepper

1kg puff pastry

Farce a' gratin

75g venison liver (if you can't get venison liver, you can use chicken livers instead)

50g raw foie gras

½ tablespoon duck fat

1 shallot (chopped)

1 sprig thyme

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon brandy

Method

First, make the farce a' gratin. Sear the liver and raw foie gras in a very hot frying pan with the duck fat. After a few seconds, add the chopped shallots, thyme and bay leaf. Then season well. When the liver is still very pink, add the brandy and take off the heat. Press all of this, including the liquid, through a coarse drum sieve and set aside.

Cut all of the other meats and fat into small chunks (approx 2–3cm cubes), season with salt and pepper, cover and refrigerate overnight. The following day, mince using a hand mincer, ensuring that everything is kept as cold as possible. Add the farce a' gratin to the minced meat mixture along with the brandy and seasoning. Shape the mixture into small balls weighing about 120g each.

Line buttered rings (8–10cm diameter), with the puff pastry and place a ball of meat mixture into each one. Top with discs of pastry, pressing the edges down with the point of a knife. Using a skewer, make a hole in the top of each pie and insert a small funnel of baking parchment as a chimney, which will allow the steam to escape during cooking. Brush with beaten egg and bake at 180˚C/Gas 4 for 20 minutes.

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