Pigeon pie (Mrs Beeton's)
Pigeons are hard to come by nowadays, but if you know someone who shoots, then you may be in luck. They are at their best from March to September.
This tried and trusted recipe is from Mrs Beeton's Cookery Book, circa 1945.The only change I would make to the recipe below is to use pre-rolled puff pastry, and maybe omit the pigeons feet!.
- 2 pigeons
- 340 g (3/4 lb) rump steak
- 75 g (3 oz) ham or lean bacon
- 284 ml (1/2 pint) good stock
- 1 hard-boiled egg
- The yolk of 1 egg
- Salt and pepper
- Cut each pigeon into 4 pieces
- Cut the beef into small thin slices, the ham into strips and the eggs into slices
- Put these ingredients into a pie dish in layers, season well and pour in the stock to three-quarters fill the dish
- Put on the cover (pre-rolled puff pastry), brush over with yolk of egg, bake in a quick oven (see below) until the paste has risen and set, then cook at a lower temperature (again, see below) for about 1 hour
- Have ready a few of the pigeon's feet, scalded and the toes cut off, also the remainder of the stock
- Before serving, pour in the stock through the centre of the pie and replace the pastry ornament with the feet, fixing them in a nearly upright position
- The pie may be served either hot or cold; if the latter, the stock must form a jelly when cold
Quick oven 200° C (400° F - Gas 6)
Lower temperature 150° C (300° C - Gas 2)
I would cover the pastry with tin-foil during the lower temperature stage to ensure it does not get over-cooked.