I found this recipe in The New Cyclopaedia of Domestic Economy, and Practical Housekeeper: Adapted to All Classes of Society and Comprising Subjects Connected with the Interests of Every Family, and Five Thousand Practical Receipts and Maxims. From the Best English, French, German, and American Sources. United States, H. Bill, 1872.
I am beginning to realize these Victorian era books have VERY long and extravagant titles.
When you’re looking at recipes like this, remember that most of their measurements were much smaller than ours. A glass of sherry would be a very small cordial glass, an onion, probably half the size of our modern onions.
This recipe sends you all over the book to find the recipes needed to put it together- so, first I had to find Raised Pie Of Fowls.
Before I can start I need I also need to find the recipes for Paste and Forcemeat.
Again, these recipes never really give you good measurements. I used about 2 cups of water, and 2 tablespoons each of lard and butter. I didn’t have a tin, so I made my own disposable one.
I chose to use ham- and a food processor instead of a mortar. I can’t imagine how long it would take to make a paste with a mortar! Now, back to the main recipe.
I had a whole pheasant in the freezer that my husband harvested this fall. This recipe calls for the whole bird boned out. If you don’t have pheasant, and or you don’t feel comfortable boning out a whole bird, maybe go to your butcher and see if you can get a small Cornish hen or a very small chicken and see if they’ll bone it out for you (but take the bones with you to make the gravy). If that doesn’t work out, I would think that boneless chicken thighs pounded out and shingled together to make one piece, and a nice culinary stock for the gravy, would be your next best option.
I had some very thin moose steaks in the freezer, and substituted that for the veal, but bacon- well, there’s no substitute for bacon.
Now, when you are assembling this thing it doesn’t look like it will come together- but it does!
I chose to put a lid on this one. A very popular lifestyle guru always says it’s fun to have pies decorated like what’s inside. So this one got feathers and feet!
This pie took a long time to cook. For these kinds of crusts, you have to start with a pretty hot oven so it firms up quickly and doesn’t just melt or get soggy. I started mine at 425° for 20 minutes and then lowered it to 375° for the rest of the cooking time. Because it is so dense and contains a lot of meat, I wanted to make sure it was thoroughly cooked. I used a probe thermometer set at the doneness for chicken thighs. I thought that was a pretty safe bet. When I took it out of the oven, it looked great. But the step about pouring in the gravy? I couldn’t get an ounce of the gravy in this thing while it was hot. After cooling for a few hours though it soaked up about 4 ounces.
These kinds of pies were made to be served cold. Most often sent out with men on hunting trips, as it was sturdy, very filling for a picnic food, and made with what was in season. I mean this thing is packed with meat, not for the faint of heart, so invite over all your carnivorous friends to eat it the next day- maybe with a nice green salad and a glass of medium bodied red wine to cut the richness. Enjoy!