Poacher’s Pie

A poacher's pie – recipe is courtesy of the website olivemagazine.com

IT is British Pie Week from March 4, so it simply has to be a pie as the Recipe of the Month. And we have chosen a Poacher’s Pie, which is a twist on a classic steak and ale pie, swapping the meat for mixed, diced game – which could include venison, partridge or pheasant.

Poacher's Pie


  • For the filling
  • 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 mixed, diced game meat

  • 3 tbsp plain flour, well seasoned

  • 500ml stout 

  • 350ml chicken stock

  • 100g prunes, destoned and chopped in half 

  • For the pastry
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 

A masterpiece of gastronomical engineering

The Ancient Greeks are believed to have invented the pastry for a pie, while the Romans used many different kinds of meat in their pies. Pies (or pyes as they were then known) appeared in England as early as the 12th century.  What we do know is that a pie is a masterpiece of gastronomical engineering – it’s food with an edible lid, sides and bottom!