800g haunch of venison, cut into 2 cm pieces
300g pigeon breasts, each cut into 6 pieces
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
8 juniper berries, crushed
2 bay leafs
3 sprigs of thyme
300ml red wine
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp plain flour
150g smoked bacon lardons
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
350ml beef or veal stock
1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
20g bitter dark chocolate, grated
For the suet pastry
butter, for greasing
450g self-raising flour, plus extra for rolling
pinch of fine sea salt
225g shredded beef suet
200 - 250 ml ice-cold water, to mix
Put the venison, garlic, bay leaf, juniper berries and thyme in a bowl and pour over the wine. Cover with clingfilm and leave to marinate in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight.
Strain the venison, discarding the garlic, bay, juniper and thyme; reserve the wine. Season the flour. Pat the meat dry with kitchen paper, add the pigeon and toss in the flour to coat.
Heat the butter in a sauté pan, add the venison and pigeon and brown for 2 minutes. Remove the meat from the pan with a slotted spoon and reserve.
Add the lardons to the pan and fry for 3-4 minutes, then stir in the onions and cook for a few more minutes to soften. Pour in the reserved wine and stock. Bring to the boil and let the liquid bubble until reduced by half. Take the pan off the heat and whisk in the redcurrant jelly and chocolate. Leave to cool.
Make the pastry: lightly grease a 1.75 litre pudding basin with butter. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the suet and rub lightly with your fingertips. Add 200ml ice-cold water and stir the mixture with a butter knife. Using your hands bring it all together until you have a nice smooth elastic dough, which leaves the bowl clean If the mixture is dry, add a tablespoon of water at a time until you get a soft dough
Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, and cut away a quarter of it. Roll out two-thirds of the dough into a large circle about 1cm thick. Make one cut from the edge to the centre of the circle, then use to line the basin, overlapping the cut sides and pressing down to seal.
Strain the lardons and onions through a sieve, reserving the sauce. Mix them with the venison / pigeon mixture and season again. Carefully tip the filling into the lined basin, then pour in enough sauce to just cover the meat. Roll out the remaining pastry into a circle for the lid. Dampen the edges, drape over the pudding and press around the edge to seal.
Place a double layer of pleated baking parchment and foil over the top and secure tightly with kitchen string. Put the basin in a large pan and pour in boiling water to come two-thirds up the sides of the basin. Close with a tightly fitting lid. Cook for 4-5 hours, topping up with boiling water every 30-40 minutes, so the pan doesn’t boil dry. Alternatively, cook in a steamer.
Sieve the remaining sauce into a small pan and reduce. Whisk in the remaining butter, adjust the seasoning and serve on the side.