Pheasant and Morel Potpie
If pheasant hunting and mushroom foraging aren't your thing, you can always order them by mail.
Yield: serves 6
For the Pie Crust
- 3 cups flour
- 5 tbsp. vegetable shortening
- 16 tbsp. chilled butter, cut into small pieces
For the Filling
- 1 (2½–3 lb.) cleaned pheasant, cut into pieces
- 4 cups rich Chicken Stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 oz. dried morels
- 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces
- 3 tbsp. butter
- 3 tbsp. flour
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1-2 cups pearl onions, blanched for a few minutes and peeled
- 1 cup fresh or frozen baby peas
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- For the pastry: Sift together flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Use a pastry cutter or 2 knives to work shortening and butter into flour until it resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle in up to 10 tbsp. ice water, stirring the dough with a fork until it holds together. Divide dough into 2 balls, wrap each in plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- For the filling: Put pheasant, stock, and bay leaves into a large pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove pheasant from stock and set aside to cool slightly. Meanwhile, soak morels in 1 ¼ cups hot water in a small covered bowl for 20 minutes. Strain mushroom-soaking liquid through a coffee filter into stock. Rinse mushrooms to remove grit, then set aside. Remove and discard pheasant bones, shred meat, and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375°. Add potatoes to simmering stock and cover. Increase heat to medium-low, and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes. Remove potatoes with a slotted spoon and set aside. Increase heat to medium-high, and boil stock, uncovered, until reduced to 2 cups. Remove and discard bay leaves. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add flour, and cook, whisking constantly, until browned, about 1 minute. Add stock 1 cup at a time, whisking constantly, until stock becomes a smooth, thick sauce, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper (this sauce should be highly seasoned).
- Meanwhile, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface into 2 12" rounds. Fit 1 round into a 9" deep-dish pie plate. Prick bottom with a fork, then layer pheasant, morels, potatoes, onions, and peas into the pie. Add sauce, then cover with remaining pastry round. Crimp edges, and cut a hole for steam to escape. Brush top with beaten egg. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and set aside for 15 minutes before serving.