How about this sumptuous pheasant pie to celebrate the coronation of King Charles?
Chunks of pheasant breast are cooked with bacon and chestnuts and smothered in a rich creamy sauce.
The mix in encased in buttery shortcrust pastry and topped with pastry crowns. Well, what else would it be?
Certainly fit for a king, or any gathering, where the pie steals the show.
Apparently King Charles is rather keen on pheasant pie, when he is after a decadent dish, rather than his normal food choices.
From what I have read, he is very keen on a fairly simple diet and is not a fan of highly spiced food.
Very much in keeping with his beliefs, he prefers organic and sustainable food, with a low carbon footprint. This makes pheasant a perfect choice. It's hunted all over the country and is about as wild and free range as you can get.
Added to that, it is a low fat and tender bird, with a light gamey flavour, that is not overpowering, so it's perfect for a family dinner or anyone new to eating it.
Of course, the main thing with pheasant is to avoid eating the lead shot!
My family have always loved a proper pie, and in our house that means a double crust. This pie has a bottom crust and a delightful crown topping, which acts as perfect pie ventilation for the steam too.
What better way to celebrate the coronation?
He doesn't appear to enjoy chocolate, coffee or garlic, but enjoys a cup of Darjeeling with milk and honey.
For many years he has followed a plant based diet on tow days a week and also avoids dairy on one day a week.
For breakfast he likes a boiled coddled egg and sometimes fruit or toast.
Generally he doesn't eat lunch, as he finds that it disrupts his day. However, occasionally he enjoys a brunch of cheesy baked eggs.
Aside from pheasant pie, he also loves simply cooked meat, fish and wholegrains.
Another favourite dish is a wild mushroom risotto with lamb.
❤️ Why you will love this recipe
- Easy to make and you can cheat on the pastry if you wish.
- Vary the ingredeints according to taste.
- Perfect for the coronation or any other celebration.
- Melt in the mouth pastry with no soggy bottom!
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- Pheasant - pheasants are normally available whole or as a packet of breasts. I've used skinless breast for ease, but if you can buy prepared pheasant meat, that would be a great mix of flavours. Some supermarkets stock pheasant, but they are normally available frozen online all year round.
- Bacon - ideally smoked pork lardons. This is just cubes of belly or streaky bacon. They add so much flavour.
- Butter - cold butter for the pastry. I always use salted and use less salt in the seasoning.
- Milk - semi skimmed or full fat milk.
- Stock - chicken stock from a pot or made up from a stock cube is fine. Make sure to taste the stock, as you may not need to add extra seasoning.
- Salt - regular table salt.
- Pepper - freshly ground black pepper.
- Bay leaf - a dried bay leaf. If you use a fresh one straight from the tree it can overpower the flavour.
- Chestnuts - I use ready peeled vacuumed pack chestnuts for convenience. They are also available in tins.
- Oil - vegetable or olive oil for frying.
- Garlic cloves - I know King Charles doesn't like garlic, but I do. Leave it out if you prefer.
- Onion - I tend to use brown cooking onions, but any onion variety apart from red would work.
- Flour - plain or all purpose flour for the pastry.
- Celery - fresh celery adds a great complimentary flavour to the pheasant.
- Cream - heavy or double cream for the sauce.
- Thyme - few sprigs of fresh thyme or use half a teaspoon of dried thyme. if you can find a brand that is not too woody.
- Eggs - preferably large and free range for sealing the pie and glazing.
The recipe card with ingredient quantities and detailed instructions can be found at the bottom of the post.
- pie dish - 26 cm or 10 inch is ideal or 1 litre
- large frying pan - skillet
- wooden spoon - for making the sauce.
- sharp knife
- rolling pin - or use a glass bottle.
- pastry brush
- food processor - optional. Use a large bowl and a pastry cutter, fork or your fingers to make the pastry by hand.
- crown biscuit cutters 5 and 8 centimetres width
- chopping board
💭 Top Tip
- If you have whole pheasants, slice eaither side of the breast bone to remove the breasts.
- Cut off the legs and wings and use the meat in place of breast meat if you prefer.
- Make the most of the carcass and legs by making pheasant soup.
Remove any skin on the pheasant breasts, as it will just turn slimy in the pie.
Cut the breast meat into bite sized pieces.
Peel and chop the onion and celery.
Chop the chestnuts into about 8 pieces.
Heat a tablespoon of the oil in a pan over a medium heat.
Add the bacon lardons and cook for about 2 minutes.
If they have some white visible fat you can omit the oil.
Add the onion and celery for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until softened,but not coloured.
Stir the garlic into the vegetables and cook for 1 minute to release the flavour.
Transfer the mixture to a plate with a slotted spoon.
Season the pheasant breast with salt and pepper.
Add the remaining oil over a medium heat and fry the pheasant in batches until browned, for about 3 minutes.
Remove the thyme leaves from the stalks.
Add the chestnuts, thyme leaves and bay leaf.
Return the bacon, onion and celery mixture to the pan.
Sprinkle over the flour and cook for 1 minute stirring.
Gradually add the stock to the pan and stir while it thickens and comes to a simmer.
Check the seasoning, stir in the cream and leave the mixture to cool.
💭 Top tip
- It's important to put a cool filling into a pie or the pastry will start to melt before it goes into the oven and will break up.
How to make shortcrust pastry - by hand
I prefer to make shortcrust pastry in the food processor for speed, but if you don't have one you can use the rubbing in method.
Start by cutting the cold butter into small cubes. Put them in a large glass bowl with the salt and flour. If you are using salted butter then leave out the salt.
Gently rub the butter with the flour with your finger tips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. If you prefer you can use a fork or a pastry cutter to get the same effect.
Add enough of a beaten egg until the mixture comes together into a ball. Knead it briefly until the dough is smooth.
How to make shortcrust pastry - in the food processor
If you have a food processor simply tip the ingredients into the bowl, attach the lid and pulse the mixture three or four times until it gets to the breadcrumb stage.
Next add the beaten egg and pulse twice.
At this stage check the dough with your fingers to see if it sticks together when pressed. You might need to add a little water depending on the atmosphere and the dryness of the flour.
Add any extra water a few drops at a time. Too much water can make the pastry tough.
Turn the processor on full and within a few seconds the mixture should come together into a ball.
Whichever method you choose the dough needs to rest and chill so that it is easier to roll out and will have less shrinkage in the oven.
Divide the dough into 2 portions.
Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
Sprinkle some flour on a work surface and roll out one portion of the pastry to line the pie dish.
Add the filling and press down with a fork.
Roll out the pastry lid and cut out large pastry shapes.
It's easier to cut out a few at a time.
Beat the remaining egg with water and use to stick the crowns around the edge.
Repeat with another layer of crowns and egg wash, slightly overlapping the first.
Now complete the pie by rolling out the remaining dough and cutting smaller crowns.
Cover the whole surface in the egg wash.
There should be no need to add any steam holes as there will be a few gaps in the pastry topping.
Preheat the oven to 190 C / 375 F / 170 FAN / Gas 5.
Bake for about 30 minutes until crisp and golden.
Allow the pie to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
🥗 Serve with
Try some of these side dishes.
- Honey Roast Chantenay Carrots
- Leeks in White Sauce
- Honey Roast Carrots and Parsnips
- Fried Cabbage with Bacon
- Roast Savoy Cabbage
- Whole Baked Cauliflower Cheese
- Roasted Green Beans and Carrots
- Roasted Long Stem Broccoli
- Roasted Swede Chips
- Rosemary Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Pheasant - use cubed chicken or turkey or other game birds such as pigeon, partridge or guinea fowl.
- Pork or ham - leftover chunks of pork or ham would go well with these flavours.
- Vegetables - replace the celery with poices of mushroom and replace the onion with sliced leeks.
- Refrigerator - cool, cover and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Freezer - cool and cut into portions. Place in individual containers and freeze for up to 2 months. It is also possible to freeze the unbaked pie before glazing. Wrap well and defrost overnight in the refrigerator.
- To reheat - reheat individual portion in a small dish in the oven and cover with foil until piping hot. Alternatively, reheat in the microwave.
🍱 Prepare in Advance
- Make the filling and pastry up to 2 days in advance and assemble the pie the day before if you want to prepare ahead.
- Turkey and Ham Pie
- Scotch Pies
- Salmon and Broccoli Quiche
- Cranberry and Turkey Pie
- Steak and Kidney Pie
- Chicken and Leek Pie
- Mushroom Tartlets
Coronation Pheasant Pie
- Pie dish 26 cm or 10 inch is ideal
- Large frying pan / skillet
- Wooden spoon
- Sharp knife
- Rolling Pin or use a glass bottle.
- Pastry brush
- Food processor optional or use a large bowl and a pastry cutter, fork or your fingers to make the pastry by hand.
- crown biscuit cutters 5 and 8 centimetres width
- Chopping board
- 440 g pheasant breast 4 breasts
- 155 g smoked bacon lardons
- 400 ml chicken stock
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 180 g chestnuts cooked and prepared
- 3 tablespoon flour
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 onion
- 2 sticks celery
- 2 tablespoon double cream
- 3 thyme sprigs
- 400 g flour
- 225 g butter
- 2 eggs beaten and in separate bowls
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon water for egg wash and more for pastry
For the filling
- Remove any skin on the pheasant breasts and cut into bite sized pieces.
- Peel and chop the onion and celery and chop the chestnuts into about 8 pieces.
- Heat a tablespoon of the oil in a pan over a medium heat.
- Add the bacon lardons and cook for about 2 minutes.
- Add the onion and celery for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until softened, but not coloured.
- Stir the garlic into the vegetables and cook for 1 minute.
- Transfer the mixture to a plate with a slotted spoon.
- Season the pheasant breast with salt and pepper.
- Add the remaining oil over a medium heat.
- Fry the pheasant in batches until browned, for about 3 minutes.
- Remove the thyme leaves from the stalks then add the chestnuts, thyme leaves and bay leaf.
- Return the bacon, onion and celery mixture to the pan.
- Sprinkle over the flour and cook for 1 minute stirring.
- Gradually add the stock to the pan and stir while it thickens and comes to a simmer.
- Check the seasoning, stir in the cream and leave the mixture to cool.
For the pastry
- Cube the butter and add to a food processor with the flour and salt.
- Pulse the mixture three or four times until it gets to the breadcrumb stage.
- Beat the egg and add to the bowl. Pulse twice.
- Check the dough with your fingers to see if it sticks together when pressed. Add a little water if required.
- Turn the processor on full and within a few seconds the mixture should come together into a ball.
- Divide the dough into 2 portions.
- Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
- Sprinkle some flour on a work surface and roll out one portion of the pastry to line the pie dish.
- Add the filling and press down with a fork.
- Roll out the pastry lid and cut out 17 large pastry shapes.
- Beat the remaining egg with water and use to stick 10 crowns around the edge.
- Repeat with another layer of 7 crowns and egg wash, slightly overlapping the first.
- Complete the pie by rolling out the remaining dough and cutting 9 smaller crowns.
- Cover the whole surface in the egg wash.
- Preheat the oven to 190 C / 375 F / 170 FAN / Gas 5.
- Bake for about 30 minutes until crisp and golden.
- Allow the pie to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.
Detailed instructions for this recipe, including step by step photographs, hints and tips, can be found in the main article
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- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods.
- Never leave cooking food unattended.
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using gas.
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You might have an historical hit on your hands for the ages! I haven't tried this but it sounds perfect for a celebration, and a grand one, at that!
I just finished making the pie and the house smells like heaven and the taste is spot on!
This is one beautiful and flavor packed pie. Perfect for celebrating King Charles.
I've been looking for something a little fancier to make for Valentine's Day dinner, and this pie is it! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!
Looks delicious and fun so we really can eat like a King now!! Great touch with the crown topping.