Game Pie

This image courtesy of Tom Eckerle



Total Timehalf-day

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionFormal Dinner Party

Recipe Coursemain course

Five Ingredients or LessYes



Taste and Texturerich, savory, umami

Type of Dishsavory/pot pie


  • 1 cup dried morels
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 4 partridges (each about 1 1/2 pounds) or 6 pounds of pheasant, quail, or Canadian goose breast
  • Salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • ¼ pound unsalted butter
  • 2 quarts Brown Sauce, reduced over moderate heat by half
  • Necks, gizzards, and hearts, from the birds
  • 1 celery rib, coarsely chopped
  • 1 carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 peppercorns, crushed
  • 5 juniper berries, bruised
  • 1 leek, including some of the pale green-washed, split, and cut into 2-inch julienne; reserve the dark green stalks
  • 24 pearl onions
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally ¼ inch thick
  • 2 small white turnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 hard pears-peeled, cored, diced into 1/2-inch cubes, and tossed in the juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 recipes Pie Dough, made with lard
  • 1 egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons cold water, for egg wash
  • Poultry shears
  • Large chef’s knife or cleaver
  • Boning knife
  • 9-inch loose-bottomed tart pan with 2-inch sides


  1. In a bowl, soak the dried morels in warm water for about 2hours. In another bowl, soak the dried cherries in warm water for about 1 hour.

  2. Wash the birds and pat dry with paper towels. Lightly salt and pepper the cavities of the birds. Melt the butter in a large heavy ovenproof skillet. Brown the birds evenly on all sides. The meat will be rare. Set aside to cool. Remove and allow to cool.

  3. Using poultry shears, cut the birds lengthwise in half, splitting the breast. Cut away the backbone. Remove the wingtips and feet with a chopping knife or cleaver. Remove the upper wing bone from the breast portion. Remove the thighs and legs from the frames with a sharp boning knife. Cut the legs from the thighs. Remove the breast meat from the frame. Reserve all the bones and cut the meat into bite-size pieces: do not remove the meat from the legs. Cover and reserve the meat.

  4. Place the bones in a stockpot with all the remaining stock ingredients. Add ¼ cup of the water from the soaking morels and ¼ cup water from the soaking dried cherries. Add the reserved dark green leekstalks and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Skim, reduce the heat, and simmer for 1 hour. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve into a saucepan; discard the solids and reserve the sauce.

  5. In a saucepan filled with boiling water, blanch the vegetables separately for 1 minute each. Start with the leeks first, then the onions, then the carrots, and end with the turnips. Cool under cold running water. Set aside with the pears.

  6. Preheat the oven to 400°. Divide the pie dough in half. On a floured surface, roll out one half about ¼-inch thick. Line the tart pan with the dough. Toss the meat with blanched vegetables, drained morels and cherries, and the pears. Fill the pain the mixture. Roll out the top crust. Moisten the sides of the dough with egg wash and set the top crust in place. Trim and crimp the dough, pressing down lightly on the edges of the pan. Roll the pastry scraps and make a braid to fit around the exterior rim. Make leaves and berries to decorate the top. Brush the top of the pie with the egg wash and cut a small round hole in the center of the pie. Decorate the hole with more braid and coat the decoration with egg wash.

  7. Set the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 50 minutes, until golden. If the crust browns too quickly: cover loosely with foil.

  8. To serve, remove the sides of the pan, leaving the pie on the false bottom. Reheat the game sauce. Set the pie on a serving platter and funnel hot game sauce through the opening on top.


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