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Veal, Duck Confit and Chicken Liver Pie

  • Feeds 7 - 8 people
  • Prep time 120m
  • Cook time 60m

This pie is a real showstopper. It will take a few hours to make, so enjoy it! There’s no point rushing a recipe like this. The pastry is robust and will contain the layers of filling well. However, do take care when you cut into it, because all the juices will run out - it’s worth cutting it on a tray or a lipped plate to contain these and stop them running into peoples’ laps... 

This pie would be marvellous served at a festive celebration or just as a weekend highlight. Why not? We love to serve this pie with a red wine gravy.

  • For the pastry:
  • 500g strong white flour
  • 225g softened unsalted butter
  • 15g sea salt
  • 17g caster sugar
  • 160ml whole milk
  • 1 egg for brushing the pastry
  • For the veal farce:
  • 400g minced veal
  • 45g sliced white bread (weight without crusts)
  • 90ml single cream
  • 2 small cloves garlic, crushed
  • Large pinch ground white pepper
  • Generous grating nutmeg (around half a teaspoon)
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • For the other meat fillings:
  • 300g chicken livers
  • 400g confit duck leg, meat shredded
  • For the vegetable layer:
  • 1 carrot, cut into small dice
  • 200g mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 small leek, finely sliced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 4 whole savoy cabbage leaves
  1. First, make the pastry: Put the flour and butter into a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the milk, sugar and salt to a small saucepan and heat just until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Add the milk mixture to the food processor and combine until you have a dough. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least half an hour while you make the other elements.
  2. Vegetable layer: Blanch the carrots for 1 minute in boiling salted water, then drain. Blanch the whole cabbage leaves for 1 minute and then dry them. Set aside. Heat a frying pan and add a thick slice of butter (around 15g). Saute the chopped mushrooms for 5 minutes or until their liquid has evaporated. Add the leeks until soft, then add the carrots and parsley, season and cool.
  3. Make the farce: Tear the bread into small pieces and place in a small bowl. Add the cream and mash to a paste. Place the ground veal in a mixing bowl. Season and add the nutmeg and cloves. Add the bread mixture, then transfer to a food processor and add the garlic, spices and salt. Blend until light and fluffy. Refrigerate while you finish the other elements. Prepare the chicken livers: Trim any sinew from the livers, then sear them in a frying pan with a splash of hot oil, until browned. Season and set aside.
  4. Roll out the pastry: Cut off a rough third of the pastry, then wrap and return the remainder to the fridge. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin - a 9-10 inch circle. Cover and chill.
  5. To assemble the pie: Preheat the oven to 200C. Oil and line a plastic bowl with cling film or an alternative wrapping (something that won’t stick to the bowl), then layer up the fillings. Add the cabbage leaves first, as these will contain your other fillings. Then, add half the farce mixture, pressing down to ensure it’s evenly spread.
  6. Place the shredded confit duck in a ring around the edge, then fill the centre with vegetables. Top with the chicken livers, then add the remaining farce.
  7. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the remaining pastry to a circle, roughly 14 inches in diameter. Remove the pastry circle from the fridge, and turn out the filling onto it, so that the cabbage leaves are now on top.
  8. Cover with the large piece of pastry, then flatten down the sides, expelling any air. Trim the pastry, then brush the bottom edge with beaten egg. Seal and crimp with a fork. Make a small hole in the top of the pie. Brush the whole pie with beaten egg
  9. Baking the pie: Bake for 25 minutes, then open the oven and turn the pie to ensure even cooking. Cook for a further 25 minutes, or until a probe thermometer registers 55C. If the pies begin to look too dark, reduce the oven temperature to 180C. Rest for 20 minutes before serving.

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