By Andrew Wilkinson, head chef, at artisan, www.artisannewcastle.com
600g diced game mix – mallard, pheasant, venison (roughly 1cm)
200g minced belly pork
100g button mushrooms
3 shallots (finely diced)
1 sprig of thyme (picked)
1 clove of garlic
100ml each – port, brandy and madeira
2 juniper berries
500g puff pastry
Egg wash (1 egg with a splash of milk)
1kg game bones
1 carrot / 1 onion / 1 celery – diced
4 cloves garlic
A glass madeira
1ltr chicken stock
1 tbsp tomato puree
Begin by making the sauce. Roast the game bones in a hot oven until golden. Meanwhile, sweat off the carrot, onion, celery and garlic in a pan until brown. Add the tomato puree and cook for 10 minutes on a low heat, after which deglaze the pan with madeira and reduce. Once reduced by half, add the roasted bones to the pan and cover with the chicken stock. Simmer for 2 hours and skim occasionally. Pass through muslin (or a fine sieve) and place in a clean pan. Reduce the stock until it reaches a sauce consistency.
To make the farce (stuffing), sweat off the diced shallot with the garlic, thyme and mushrooms. Deglaze the pan with the port, brandy and madeira and reduce until almost all of the liquid has evaporated. Cool and reserve.
In a large bowl, add the diced game mix and minced belly pork, egg, breadcrumbs, and mix. Add the shallot mix and season. Ball the mixture at 80g and chill in the fridge.
Roll out your puff pastry until the thickness of a 50 pence piece. Cut circles of pastry roughly 15cm in diameter. You’ll need 16 circles of pastry in total.
Take the game farce out of the fridge, lightly egg wash 2 discs of pastry and place 1 ball of game mix in the centre of one of the pastry discs – place the other piece of pastry on top and press together ensuring all the excess air can escape the pithivier (similar to ravioli).
Place an upturned pastry cutter over the pithivier and lightly press to form a seal. Now use a large pastry cutter to achieve the pithivier shape, trimming any excess pastry. Egg wash and place in the fridge for 10 minutes.
Once the pithivier has chilled for 10 minutes, egg wash for a second time. Then, with the back of a small knife, score the pithivier and chill.
Place a tray in the oven (190C) and leave for 5 minutes. Place the pithivier on a piece of greaseproof paper and place on the hot tray. Cook for 10-12 minutes.
Once cooked, serve with the game sauce and garnish as pictured.