The Storks of Böbs

The Storks of Böbs
A Very Fine Pair

An Autumn Game Pie

First get yourself a nice bit of game, this is a perfect  use for any game that has been too damaged to be roasted or braised whole (in this case it was all in order but was from last year’s shoots so needed using up as my deep-freeze is full)

2 pigeons
2 hare rear legs
A nice piece of wildsau (female boar) shoulder (about 1 kg bone in, it should give you about 500g of pure meat)

2 carrots
¼ of a celeriac globe (peeled and diced)
1 large leek (or 2 small ones)
½ a large onion (the other half is used for the stock)
1 tsp. of game spices
2 glasses of red wine (you will need some for the marinade and some for the sauce)
10 brown mushrooms, cleaned and halved (larger ones quartered)
Salt and pepper to taste
100 ml of vegetable oil

12 Sausage stuffing balls made from 200g of sausage meat and chopped herbs (parsley, thyme and rosemary), browned in a little oil before adding to the pie dish.

To start off, pick over the game, removing any shot, broken bone or feather stubble. Remove the breasts from the pigeons, the meat from the legs of the hare (trim away as much of the silver skin as possible) and the  dice shoulder of the wild sau.

Dice the meat into bite size pieces, place into a bowl and sprinkle with the game spices and a glass of good red wine, cover, and place in the fridge until required (at least 4 hours).

Now make your stock.

Bones and trimmings from the game
3 bay leaves
3 juniper berries
3 pimento berries
A few parsley stalks
6 cloves
1 fat garlic clove crushed and chopped
½ tsp of coriander seeds
½ tsp mace
1-10cm piece of cinnamon bark
1 half of a squeezed lemon (Linda had made a very nice Turkish Hummus to go with her stuffed Aubergines the evening before)
2 ltr of vegetable (game or chicken) stock
5 tbsp.  of vegetable oil (Rape seed will do, Aldi have it on special offer at the moment)
Place the bones and trimmings into a large stock pan (this part can be done in a pressure cooker if you wish) along with ½ of the diced root vegetables and all of the rest of the stock ingredients, brown on a high heat, then cover with 2 ltr of made up vegetable stock (I always use Marigold, but any will do). Bring to a rolling boil and skim. Lid on but a slightly open (you can put a wooden spoon under it) and allow to simmer for a good two hours (30 mins if using a pressure cooker).
The Vegetables and Aromatics
Brown the veg, bones and carcasses
Add the stock

Bring to a rolling boil
Skim the scum as it rises


Keep the stock hot.

In a large pan, heat  the oil, put in the rest of the diced vegetables, the onion, garlic and then the diced game, brown and add enough of the game stock to cover the meat, lower the heat and simmer until the meat is tender, add the marinade and the mushrooms.

While all this has been going on make your Rough Puff Pastry for the pie crust.
225g of plain flour
¼ tsp of salt (often called a pinch)
150g of ice cold fat, I used 50% butter, 50% margarine diced quite small
A couple of table spoons of ice cold water (you may not need it all)

Sieve the flour into a large basin, add the salt and then stir in the fats with a knife (before adding the water you should still see small flecks of margarine and butter. Add the water a little at a time to form a stiff dough.
Roll out on a floured board into an oblong about 30cm x 15 cm, fold into three onto itself (1/3 in towards the middle and then the other 1/3 over the top, turn it so that one of the open ends is towards you roll out again and then repeat the procedure, Roll out to an oblong fold, turn and roll for a total of 3 more times. Cover in cling film and allow to rest in a cool place (fridge) until required (at least 20 minutes).

Assembling the pie.
Fry the sausage meat balls.

Put a pie funnel into a pie dish.
Place your stuffing balls in the base of a the pie dish.

Remove the meat and vegetables from the pan with a slotted spoon (in this case a one with holes in, but it served the same purpose) and add to the stuffing balls in the pie dish. 

Now make your sauce.

Add a glass of red wine and the brandy to the sauce and add some knobs of Beurre Marnier allow to cook out and thicken, pour this over the meat in the pie dish. 

Allow to cool, but in the meantime (we cannot have you doing nothing) roll out your pastry large enough to cover the pie, cut a strip (or two) off but make sure that the pastry is large enough to still cover the pie. Cover with cling film.

When the pie filling is cool, wet the rim of the pie dish with a little water and push the strips around and on top of the pie dish edge (this is to form a seal for the top. Now cover the pie with the pastry lid, pushing it down onto the edges, cut a small hole in the middle for the pie funnel to pop through. (I used to have a nice black bird one but it had an unfortunate mishap and broke its neck, this one is a much sturdier piece of cooking equipment that I picked it up for next to nowt at Newcastle Granger Market).

Decorate the top with roses and leaves and things (I would have cut out pigeons and hares but I am useless at doing that). Beat and egg and egg wash the top.
Heat the oven to 230°c,  put the pie in and bake for about 20 minutes until golden, reduce the heat to 180°C for a further 25 minutes, Pie done!

I had made Pommes Boulangère (this was in the oven before and while the pie was cooking)

1 kg of waxy potatoes
3 large shallots
1 clove of garlic (chopped)
A small amount of chopped fresh herbs
Fresh ground pepper
200 ml of stock
25 g of butter

Butter a baking dish, slice the potatoes quite thin (I used a mandolin) into a layer covering the base of the dish, cover these with shallots, a few slithers of garlic and a sprinkling of herbs. 

Wet with a little stock a grinding of pepper and dot with butter, continue with another layer repeating the procedure, and lastly finish off with a layer of potatoes, pour over the remaining stock, add the last of the butter flocks and a final twist or two of pepper. Place this in the oven covered at 180° and bake for 1 hr removing the cover for the last 10 minutes (I take it off and place under the grill).

We also had shredded Savoy cabbage with loads of butter and nutmeg.

Also garden peas, broad beans, butter beans mixed together with sautéed onions and diced speck (bacon pieces).

We had a nice glass of deep red Portuguese Ermalinda to accompany the meal (the same wine that I used for the marinade and the sauce.

St Martins Weekend Fish Pie

For various reasons we decided to celebrate St Martins day, but least because of its religious nuances, more because of the Goose and also it was The Nordic Film Festival in Lübeck and My daughter and partner and our dear friend Kalle were coming to stay.

Bit of Luxurious Fish Pie.
 My Daughter and partner were coming to stay for the weekend, they would be arriving Friday evening and as normal hungry (when are they ever not?). So I decided on something that could be made up front and just slipped into the oven either just before or on arrival, so it was a pie, always a good one that can be made up front, We decided on a Fish Pie as it is easy to assemble, can be made well before hand and is one of Janice’s favourites (and surprise, surprise also Linda’s).
I sorted out what fish I had in the freezer, I had of course plenty of cod from my last fishing trip, I had a few pieces of Pollack, some frozen King Prawns, a small amount of Fruiti-de-Mare . I went to my local fish monger (Gosch) to see what was offer, I bought 2 filets of Plaice, a nice piece of Tuna, a piece of smoked Halibut (this was in place of the none existent smoked haddock) a slice of hot smoked salmon (Stremmellachs) and some cooked prawns. So that was the fish taken care of.

1kg Selection of fish both smoked and unsmoked.
500ml of milk
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp of mace
1 pinch of cinnamon powder
2 bay leaves
Remove the skin and bones from the fish

In a saucepan, add this to the milk and add all of the above spices, onion and garlic, heat gently and allow to infuse at a very low heat for  30 mins. Strain the liquor through a hair sieve, discard the residue. 

Poach the rest of the fresh and defrosted fish in this, when cooked, remove from the liquor with a slotted spoon into an oven-proof flat terrine. Break the smoked fish into bite sized pieces and scatter with the cooked prawns

In a clean saucepan make a Roux, with 30g of butter and 30g of plain flour, slowly adding the warm poaching liquor while whisking all of the time, allow to cook out, the resulting sauce should just coat the back of a spoon, add a good handful of defrosted garden peas.

Pour the resulting sauce over the fish in the terrine, cover with cling film and put into the fridge overnight.

Next day make your potato topping.
1.5kg of floury potatoes
50g of butter
50ml of catering cream (you can use real cream if you wish)
1 large egg
Small handful of chopped parsley
50g of grated cheese (Emmentaler, Greyér, Cheddar or whatever takes tickles your fancy)
1 heaped tsp of English mustard
Salt and white pepper.

Peel and boil your potatoes until they are just starting to break up, strain and allow to cool a little, push through a ricer, add the egg and beat in slowly, add the butter and cream (warmed together) beating with a wooden spoon until smooth and creamy, stir in the mustard and the parsley.

Add the cheese, reserving 10g for the top, adjust the seasoning (you may not require salt, depending on the cheese).

Using a palate knife and starting at the outside, pile the topping over the fish filling (none of the filling should squidge out as it will be set firm from being cooled overnight). Now run the back of a fork along the top of the topping (this is not only for decoration but also makes for crispy browning, sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

This can be set aside in the fridge until required.

Pre-heat the oven (fan assisted 180°C) and place the pie on a grid in the oven for 15 minutes, raising temperature to 200°C for a further 5 minutes to crisp up top. (You could put it under the grill if you wish for the last 5 minutes). Serve at once, we had it with broccoli.

A nice crisp white wine goes excellently with this; we had a German White Burgundy. 

St Martin comes a calling

The tale of St Martin of Tours is a bit long winded so have a look on Wikipedia:

But as this weekend was when my daughter and her partner Martin were visiting we decided on the Goose.

The starter was Dates stuffed with Fois gras, sprinkled with Tuna Bottarga, served on a Romana salad leaf with blutampfer, drizzled with a few drops of Stierische  pumpkin seed oil and a Modena Basalmico.

The main was:
A Martins Goose with bread dumplings, cauliflower and Brussel Sprouts

1 goose about 3.5-4kg (if you are getting it from a producer or a good butcher ask for the innards) The goose fat removed from around its rear entrance and prick under the legs and wings
600ltr of goose stock (I used some of the consommé)
1 leek, white and light green only, sliced
1 largish piece of celeriac (or a few stalks of celery) diced
2 carrots roughly sliced
1 onion roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic crushed
1 tsp of black pepper
1 tsp of mace
1 tsp of all spice berries (pimento)
5 or 6 cloves

Wash the goose inside and out, (if it is wild one remove any shot)
Dry and salt/pepper.

I had made a filling the day before this consisted of:
150g of stale sour dough bread grated
2 carrots diced small 
White of a leek sliced fine
¼ of a celeriac globe, skinned, sliced and diced
¼ of a small butternut squash cut into small dice
1 turnip (the yellow kind) place in the microwave and cook at full power for 30 minutes, I had heard about this method, was it any better than boiling it, probably not but it was less watery.
100g of minced pork
Pinch of ginger
Pinch of coriander powder
Grating of nutmeg
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
400 ml of goose stock (consommé)
1 tsp of chopped thyme
1 tsp of chopped rosemary
1 tsp of chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
Sauté the vegetables in a little goose fat until soft, add the mince and brown all together, add, herbs, spices and the stock and then the bread, finally add about 100g of the turnip purée, stir well and allow to cook until all of the liquid is absorbed (cover and allow to infuse overnight).

Next day Stuff your goose with the mixture and stitch up the opening with cocktail sticks (wood not plastic I use BBQ skewers cut in half) and kitchen string.

Rub it all over with plenty of salt and pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C fan assisted

Place this on the top of the diced veg, breast down and pour in 400ml of goose stock (I had made 3 ltrs the day before 1 ltr for the consommé, 1 ltr for the spätzle and 1 ltr for the bird, this was extended with 2 ltrs of chicken stock- you can never have too much stock) LoL  

Cover either with a lid if you have a German Bräter, which I have not or with aluminium foil which I have in great quantities.

Put into the middle of the oven and roast for 1 hr after this turn onto the back add another 200ml of goose stock cover once again for 1.5 hrs, remove the foil and baste and turn regularly for a further 30 minutes, this will give you a wonderful brown goose with a crispy skin.

Remove from the roasting pan, place on a wire rack allow to rest covered until required (ours rested from the starter through the soup course), cut the goose legs and wings off and section, cut off the breasts and slice,  arrange on a warm serving plate, take out the stuffing and also place on the serving plate.

While the goose was resting, I steamed the cauliflower, the Sprouts and boiled the dumplings, It was also time to make sauce (it used to be gravy, but now-a-days it is sauce).
Drain all of the vegetables etc. through a sieve into a clean pan, squeeze out all of the juices, allow settling and degreasing the fat from the surface (I got about 700 ml).
Now add about 50 g of beurre manié (50 % butter, 50% flour) in walnut size pieces, whisking over a low heat not adding the next until the last is fully incorporated, I finished off with a desert spoonful of double cream. Filter into a sauce boat.

So that was Martin’ Gans cooked, also Janice’s, Linda’s, Kalle’s and mine. We drank a very nice Portuguese Red wine with it (an Emmerlinda) and finished off the meal with an Autumn Trifle