About this recipe: Guinea fowl cooked with shallots, ‘meaty’ chestnut mushrooms, peas and spinach in Madeira wine makes a great pie filling. In this modern version of a traditional favourite, the filling is baked in a pudding basin topped with a lovely, soft-textured potato pastry crust. Serve with Brussels sprouts and baby carrots.
Guinea fowl filling
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
250 g (8½ oz) small shallots, peeled and left whole
400 g (14 oz) skinless boneless guinea fowl breast fillets, cubed
250 g (8½ oz) chestnut mushrooms, halved
2 garlic cloves, crushed
90 ml (3 fl oz) Madeira
150 ml (5 fl oz) well-flavoured chicken stock
2 tbsp cornflour
85 g (3 oz) frozen petit pois
100 g (3½ oz) baby spinach leaves
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
salt and pepper
Ready in: 2hr5min
Place the potato pastry dough on a large piece of cling film on the work surface. Press out the dough with your hands to make a round that is slightly larger than the top of a 1.4 litre (2½ pint) pudding basin. Lay another sheet of cling film on top and roll up the dough round. Chill while making the filling.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the shallots. Cover and cook gently for 8–10 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, until the shallots are lightly browned all over.
Add the guinea fowl to the pan, increase the heat to moderate and cook, uncovered, for 3–4 minutes or until the cubes are no longer pink on the outside, stirring so they cook evenly.
Add the mushrooms and garlic. Pour in the Madeira and stock, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and cook gently for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F, gas mark 5).
Blend the cornflour with 2 tbsp cold water to make a paste. Add to the pan and cook gently, stirring, until the liquid has thickened. Add the petit pois, spinach and tarragon, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir for a few more seconds or until the spinach has wilted. Spoon the mixture into the pudding basin.
Unwrap the potato pastry round and place it over the top of the pudding basin. Press the edges onto the rim of the basin, pinching them well to seal. Make a hole in the middle so that steam can escape.
Set the basin on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Serve immediately.
Some more ideas
Instead of guinea fowl, you can use chicken or turkey breast fillets, as well as skinless boneless pheasant or duck breasts. * The pastry dough and filling can be prepared ahead of time, then the pie assembled and baked just before serving. * This is a good way to use up leftover cooked poultry. Skip step 3, and add the diced skinless, boneless poultry with the spinach. Heat through, then spoon into the pudding basin, cover with the pastry lid and bake as in the main recipe. * For a Chinese chicken and corn pudding, stir-fry 400 g (14 oz) diced skinless, boneless chicken breasts (fillets) in 2 tbsp groundnut oil with 2 crushed garlic cloves for 3–4 minutes. Add 1 seeded and chopped fresh red chilli, 1 tbsp finely chopped, fresh root ginger, 250 g (8½ oz) halved chestnut mushrooms and 150 g (5½ oz) baby corn, sliced at an angle. Stir-fry for 1–2 minutes, then stir in 90 ml (3 fl oz) each dry sherry and water, 2 tbsp light soy sauce, 1 tbsp clear honey and 1/2 tsp 5-spice powder. Simmer for 10 minutes, covered, then thicken with cornflour as in the main recipe. Add 100 g (3½ oz) shredded spring greens and 4 chopped spring onions. Pile into the pudding basin and top with the potato pastry crust (flavoured with 1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander instead of tarragon). Bake as in the main recipe.