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A recipe for humble pie by Tim Maddams

A treat hot or cold, this dish is fit for a king, rather than humble. Serves 4-6.

recipe for humble pie

A beautiful humble pie ensures that very little from a shot deer is wasted

Recipe for humble pie


For the filling:

  • 1 large onion, very finely chopped
  • A good sprig of fresh thyme
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 4 fresh bay leaves
  • ¼ pint of good dark beer
  • One small roe liver (approximately 350g), sliced, larger tubes removed
  • Two kidneys (tough core removed), chopped and soaked in a little milk
  • 200g fat pork or good bacon
  • 10 white peppercorns, ground
  • 4 cloves, ground
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground mace
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 50g large seedless raisins
  • A few handfuls of breadcrumbs

recipe for humble pie

Tim prepares the ingredients for the pie

For the pie crust:

  • 150g butter
  • 300g plain flour
  • Salt
  • A dash of cold water
recipe for humble pie

Brush the whole pie with a little beaten egg and sprinkle a few caraway seeds over the top


  1. To make the pastry, form the butter, salt and flour into a breadcrumb-like mixture, either in a food processor or by rubbing together.
  2. Add just enough water to bring the pastry together then roughly knead for as long as it takes to make 
a smooth paste — not long at all, and 
the less time the better. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge.
  3. Now for the umble bit. Sweat the onions, thyme, bay and garlic together in a pan with a little butter 
or oil. Once softened, add the beer and reduce until the liquid has almost entirely gone. Leave this mix to cool while you mince all the venison offal and the pork fat or bacon together. The resulting mixture will be fairly horrific to look at, but don’t panic. Add the spices, cooled onion mix, salt, raisins and some of the breadcrumbs so that you get a not too wet mix — it should resemble an uncooked pâté. Remember to remove the bay leaves.
  4. Decide if you want your pie to be eaten hot or cold and choose your baking vessel accordingly. Divide the pastry into two — one about twice the size of the other: divide the mixture 
by three then add two back together.
  5. Grease your pie dish or tin. Roll out the larger portion of the pastry and place it in the dish. Add the filling then roll out the top and place it on to the pie. Crimp the edges together and make a few holes in the pastry lid to let some steam out. Brush the whole pie with a little beaten egg and sprinkle 
a few caraway seeds over the top.
  6. Bake in the oven at around 180°C until golden brown and well cooked — around 45 minutes — then either serve with some vegetables 
and a little mustard or allow to cool before pouring the jelly through the 
holes in the top and refrigerating.