Old English Duck Pie with Forcemeat Balls and Chestnuts is a delicious meat pie most often made in Winter, full of great flavors of the season. You cannot help but enjoy this spectacular dish. Exceptionally fine for the holiday table. Worth every effort.
Old English Duck Pie with Forcemeat Balls and Chestnuts

Often, the pastry would be spread right over the sides of the oven-proof dish to make it appear larger. When serving, the sides would be cut away, and the pie scooped out with a large spoon if served warm, or, sliced if chilled.  These pies were always prized along with pates and terrines. Surprisingly, the British were great inventors of such delicacies creating as many, if not more than the French.  Today, the British consume more meat pies than anywhere else.
Forcemeat Balls and Chestnuts

Old English Duck Pie with Forcemeat Balls and Chestnuts
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Such pies were the favorites of aristocratic and royal tables, particularly for holiday feasts. This one was a Christmas treat. Its flavorings add a unique taste reminiscent of the best of the holiday traditions.
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: British
Serves: 6
  • 4 pounds duck
  • 1 oil; for frying
  • 1 teaspoon flour
  • 8 ounces bacon; cut into sticks
  • 1 onion; chopped
  • 8 ounces oyster or field mushrooms
  • 1 orange; rind and juice
  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 5 fluid game or duck stock (or more)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, or 1 sprig
  • 1 teaspoon sage, or 1 sprig
  • 1 garlic clove; crushed
  • 10 ounces chestnuts
  • 12 ounces flaky or rough puff pastry
Forcemeat Balls:
  • 6 ounces lean pork or veal; cut up
  • 4 ounces pork fat; cut up
  • 1 duck liver sliced
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 Tablespoons Sherry (medium dry)
  • 1 egg; beaten
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  1. Make the forcemeat balls. Pass pork or veal twice through fine blade of a mincer. Mix in remaining ingredients. This can all be done in a food processor, putting the liver in last to retain texture. Form into small flattish balls. Brown quickly in smoking hot oil and set aside.
  2. Cut the duck into 8 pieces, using the carcass for stock. Brown the duck pieces in the same (very hot) fat, a few pieces at a time.
  3. Transfer to an oven proof dish. Sprinkle over the flour and mix in well.
  4. In the pan oils, brown the bacon sticks (lardons), onion and quartered mushrooms. Using a slotted spoon, add to the dish with the duck. Pour over the grated orange rind, and juice, the red wine and enough stock/consomme to cover. Bring to the boil and boil fast 5 minutes to drive off alcohol.
  5. Cook in the oven 200C 400F Mark 6 for 45 minutes. Remove duck pieces to a deep pie dish. If you find the skin too rich, remove it at this stage. Disperse the forcemeat balls and chestnuts among the duck portions. Skim excess fat from the sauce and pour over the contents of the pie dish. Leave to cool.
  6. While the duck filling is cooling, roll out the pastry and rim the pie dish. Cut a lid and fit. Decorate as usual, and brush with beaten egg before baking at Gas Mark 8 230C 450F for 15 minutes. Turn down heat to Mark 4, 325 degrees F 180 degrees C and cook for a further 45 minutes, covering the pastry with foil, if it seems to be browning too far.

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