The vast majority of the Quebec population considers the Lac St-Jean of this classic holiday game pie to be the real deal.
For the pastry: 8.8 oz all purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
.88 oz ground beef suet
2/3 cup cold water
For the filling:
1 partridge, cleaned and separated into breast and legs
1.7 oz smoked bacon, diced
4 prunes, quartered
4 1/4 cups good meat stock
1 cup red wine
2 onions, diced
2 large carrots
1 sprig each of rosemary, thyme, tarragon
7 oz ground fatty pork
handful diced backfat
1. The day before you plan to serve, season and brown the partridge in a frying pan and place in an ovenproof dish with the bacon, stock, wine, carrots, herbs, one of the onions and the partridge carcass. Cover and place in a low oven until the meat starts to soften, about 3 hours. Strain the liquid into a pot and reduce on high heat by half. Meanwhile, finely chop the partridge then place back in the liquid along with the bacon and reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the prunes and cook down for a further 30 minutes. Allow to cool. 1. Mix the flour, suet, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. Add most of the water and mix just until the dough comes together. Add the remaining water if you need to. Shape into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
2. For the pastry: Mix the flour, suet, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Add most of the water and mix just until the dough comes together. Add the remaining water if you need to. Shape into a ball, wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate.
3. Roll out the pastry to a quarter inch to fit your pie dish. Roll another pie to the same thickness for the lid. Be sure to oversize the lid so you have enough to crimp the edges- allow an extra inch all the way round. Line the dish and return to the fridge to rest.
4. When the pastry is cool and firm, mix the ground pork with the nutmeg, allspice, and some salt and place at the bottom of the pie. Next, scatter the remaining onion, and then spread out the partridge mixture on top of that. Finally, scatter the backfat in an even layer with a little more salt. Place the pastry lid loosely on top and gently press together the overhang with the pastry base. Using a pair of scissors, cut around the edge, leaving about a centimeter of extra pastry all the way around. Using your thumbs and forefingers crimp the edges to ensure a tight seal. Return the pie to the fridge for at least half an hour to set.
5. Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg and place in a 400º F (205º C) oven for 20 minutes. Lower the temperature to 325º F (160º C) and continue to cook for a further 30 minutes. Keep an eye on the color of the pastry and use a thermometer to check the filling is hot through. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
6. Serve with braised red cabbage, cornichons, and plenty of mustard.