Drew Ackroyd's pigeon pie recipe only gets better as it evolves. Use whatever you have in the fridge, no matter how weird and wonderful, to find your favourite filling

Pigeon pie makes for a wonderfully hearty meal. Use whatever you have the fridge to discover your favourite filling, and be brave with your combinations. Try Drew Ackroyd’s recipe for pigeon pie and save it for a chilly winter’s evening.

For more pigeon recipes, have a go at devilled pigeon. Devilling is considered old-fashioned these days, but the mix of spices gives the game a great kick.

PIGEON PIE

This is a dish that benefits greatly from evolution – vary the additions and use what you have in the fridge. Chestnuts are great in this, dried blueberries, too. Be brave!

Serves 4/5

  • Handful of smoked fatty lardons
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • Squirt of tomato purée
  • 1 tsp plain flour
  • 1⁄2 bottle or so red wine
  • 1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
  • 1⁄2 tsp Marmite
  • Handful dried wild mushrooms
  • Meat of 5 pigeon, chopped into chunks
  • Butter for frying/melted butter for baking
  • 2 packets filo pastry

To make pigeon pie, preheat oven to 190C°/375°F/Gas Mark 5. Fry off the lardons over a gentle heat and sweat the shallots in the fat. Add the garlic, carrot, celery and tomato purée and fry until lightly coloured. Sprinkle with the flour, add the wine, redcurrant jelly, Marmite and mushrooms. Simmer gently until the liquor is reduced by a third and starting to thicken. Taste, season, taste and adjust as required.

Fry the chopped meat in a hot pan with a little butter until just coloured. Add it to the sauce and transfer to a pie dish or casserole. Take a sheet of filo and loosely scrunch on top of the pie. Repeat until covered then brush gently with melted butter and bake until the pastry is just golden; 15 minutes should do it – you don’t want to overcook the pigeon.

Serve with dark-green vegetables, buttery mash and claret.