poachers pie

This is a twist on a classic steak and ale pie, swapping out the chunks of beef for mixed, diced game – this could include venison, wild boar, partridge and pheasant pieces


  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 sticks celery, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 500g (order from a butcher) mixed diced game meat
  • 3 tbsp plain flour, well seasoned
  • 500ml stout
  • 350ml chicken stock
  • 100g prunes, destoned and chopped in half
  • 200g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 100g shredded suet
  • 1 egg yolk, for glazing


    1. Heat the oil in a casserole over a medium heat and fry the vegetables, garlic and herbs until golden, then scoop out onto a plate. Toss the game meat in the seasoned flour and brown in batches, until really golden, then scoop out onto a plate.
    2. Pour in the stout and scrape all the chewy bits off the bottom of the casserole with a wooden spoon. Add the stock and prunes, along with the browned meat and vegetables, lower the heat and cook gently for 2 hours or until the meat is very tender. Tip into a pie dish and cool.
    3. For the pastry, mix the flour and suet together in a large bowl. Add 100-120ml of cold water and a good pinch of salt, and work by hand until the dough comes together – don’t overwork it and let it become sticky. Wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
    4. Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured worksurface until a little bigger than the pie dish. Drape over, then crimp to seal. Brush with a little beaten egg then put into the oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on top.