This recipe for pheasant pie with home-made bacon, chestnuts, baby onions and vin jaune was contributed by James Lyon-Shaw, head chef at The Empress of India, London E9.
For the home-made bacon (preparation time seven days)
• 1kg Maldon sea salt
• 200g soft brown sugar
• 20 black peppercorns
• 10 juniper berries
• 1 sprig rosemary
• 6 bay leaves
• 1 pork belly, cut into 3 pieces For the pheasant pie (Serves 1) • 2 medium shallots
• 3 cloves garlic
• 1 bouquet garni
• 100ml vin jaune
• 1litre pheasant stock
• 300ml double cream
• 1 pheasant, breasts taken off, legs boned, both diced and bones saved for stock
• 2 rashers of the home-made bacon, chopped
• 8-10 baby onions
• 2 chestnuts, finely chopped
• Parsley, finely chopped
• 500g puff pastry
• 1 egg, for egg wash
• Salt and black pepper
Home-made bacon Mix all the ingredients (apart from the pork belly) together, rub some of the mixture into the pork and stack the pork pieces on top of each other. Every day, drain any fluids, rub some more of the fresh cure mix into the belly pieces and re-stack, alternating from top to bottom. Keep doing this every day. After five days you will have a breakfast-style bacon and after 10 days you will have a much firmer, saltier pancetta-style bacon. For this recipe, seven days is ideal.
Pheasant pie Finely chop the shallots and garlic. Sweat in a little butter with the bouquet garni until soft and with no colour. Add the vin jaune, reserving a little for finishing and reduce. Add the stock (reserve a little for the legs) and reduce this also, then finish with the cream and bring to the boil.
Meanwhile, season the pheasant and seal the breast and legs separately in a hot pan. When nicely coloured, take out and allow to rest. Place the leg meat in the reserved stock and braise slowly until tender.
In the pan used for the pheasant, add the bacon and allow the fat to come out, and the bacon to start colouring. Add the baby onions and chestnuts and glaze nicely.
Combine the breast and leg meat, the bacon, onions, chestnuts and parsley and add enough of the cream sauce to form the pie mix. Add the reserved vin jaune and place into a pie dish, measuring about 23cm in diameter. Roll out the puff pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin and cut in the shape of the pie dish, leaving 1cm overlap to seal the edges. Cover with the pie filling and egg wash the pastry. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 18°C until golden brown. Serve immediately.