Now, this hasn’t anything to do with Cumbria, nor Christmas, and in the grand scheme of things, isn’t even a pie! Albeit that the ingredients are baked in pastry, but the pastry isn’t meant to be eaten! But! I couldn’t think of anything else to call this recipe, and as Christmas is just rearing it’s ugly head, I thought why not? You can of course make this at any time of the year if you so wish, and it also has the added benefit of eating great hot as a main course, or, cold for lunch with pickles, I’ll let you guys be the judge,  this really is a great show piece if you’re having a dinner party or something special 

You’ll see a theme running through this recipe, so if you’re not to savvy at boning out birds! I’d ask your butcher to do this for you 

Shopping list 

1 pigeon boned 

1 partridge boned 

1 pheasant boned 

1 goose boned 

1kg of Cumberland sausage meat 

1kg of hot water crust or puff pastry 

100g of melted butter 

A good handful of fresh chopped herbs, sage,rosemary,thyme and parsley 


You’ll also need an ovenproof dish large enough to hold all of this! Because this is going to be rather large 


1. Pre heat your oven to 150c 

2. Grease and line your pie dish with grease proof paper and a layer of pastry

3. Put a thin layer of sausage meat onto the pastry 

4. Stuff the pigeon with a little of the sausage meat and then place the pigeon inside the partridge, partridge inside the pheasant and then the pheasant inside the goose! Season well as you go 

5. Now lay the birds inside the pie dish

6. Now fill in any gaps with the remaining sausage meat, make sure it’s well packed and pour over the melted butter

7. Top with a layer of the remaining pastry and brush with egg wash

8. Cover well with buttered grease proof paper and place in the oven and bake for 4 hours 

9. When you’re ready to serve crack open the pastry at the table in front of your eagerly waiting guests and slice the pie (remember that the pastry isn’t meant to be eaten)

Happy cooking 


Written by Jon Fell

Head Chef Rosehill Theatre, Chef on the Simply Good Food TV app, run a Seafood Cookery Class at Peter Sidwell Cookery School, Newspaper food columnist

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