Tim Maddam's gamekeeper's pie is winter comfort food at its very best, and it's not just for gamekeepers. Make with whatever game meat you have

Tim Maddam’s gamekeeper’s pie puts a gamey twist on the traditional cottage pie. Use whatever game meat you have and enjoy on an especially chilly winter’s evening. This is comfort food at its very best.

Nothing will impress more than a traditional raised game pie. And they aren’t as daunting to make as they seem. With Mary Berry’s raised game pie recipe, you can’t go far wrong.


This recipe is taken from River Cottage Handbook No. 15 GAME, by Tim Maddams, published by Bloomsbury, £14.99, Hardback. Photography © Brendan Beausnal

Easy and satisfying, Tim’s cottage pie made with game is winter comfort food at its best. You can use pretty much any game meat for this pie. Goose breasts work well and shoulder of venison is great, or you can use pheasant or wild duck, or any combination of these.

Serves 5–6

  • 2 onions, peeled
  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • 1 celery stick
  • A little rapeseed oil
  • 500g minced game (whatever you have, see above)
  • 100g minced pork belly (as fatty as possible)
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • A glass of red wine
  • 400g tin good-quality peeled plum tomatoes, pushed through a sieve
  • A sprig each of thyme and rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 litre game stock (see p.207), or any other meat stock
  • A good pinch of ground mace
  • 1 star anise
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the topping

  • 450g peeled celeriac
  • 600ml whole milk
  • 750g floury potatoes, such as King Edwards, peeled
  • 100g butter, melted
  • 1 egg yolk


Finely dice the veg, either by hand or in a food processor. Heat a little oil in a large flameproof casserole over a fairly high heat. Add the minced meat and allow to colour, stirring as necessary. Once the meat is browning nicely, start adding the chopped veg and garlic, maintaining a good steady sizzle.

Once all the meat has coloured up nicely and the veg is beginning to soften, add the wine and allow to simmer and reduce for a few minutes to lose its acidity; if you can smell a sour acidity in the steam coming off the pan, leave it to simmer a little longer. Then add the sieved tomatoes and chopped herbs and cook for 5 minutes or so, to intensify and sweeten the mixture.

Pour in the stock, add the mace and star anise and bring to a simmer.