Print Recipe

Four and Twenty Game Birds Baked in a Pie


  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1 cup flour, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons ice water
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons butter
  • 12 quail, split in half
  • 16 small white onions, peeled
  • 2 cups rich chicken stock
  • Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup dry Marsala wine
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon savory
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, mixed with 1/4 cup cold water
  • 12 small new potatoes, unpeeled and halved
  • 1 cup fresh peas
  • 1 egg, beaten


  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Select a large, deep baking dish and set aside.
  3. Put salt, shortening and flour together. Cut shortening into flour with a pastry blender until it has the consistency of oatmeal. Sprinkle with ice water and mix gently with a fork to blend. Divide dough in half. Roll half of dough to size of baking dish you have selected. Line dish with pastry, cover and refrigerate until filling is ready.
  4. Melt butter in a heavy skillet and sauté birds for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove birds and place in pastry-lined baking dish.
  6. Add onions, stock, lemon rind and juice, Marsala, parsley, celery, carrot, thyme and savory to remaining juices in skillet. Simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender.
  7. Remove vegetables with a slotted spoon and add to birds.
  8. To the remaining gravy, add cornstarch, stir to blend and cook until slightly thickened. Correct seasonings and pour gravy over birds.
  9. Cook potatoes in boiling water until just tender. Add to baking dish, then sprinkle in peas.
  10. Roll out remaining dough and cover baking dish with a top crust. Trim, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Turn under, press firmly to edge of dish, and make a scalloped edge. Brush pie with beaten egg. With a knife cut several slits in a pattern for steam vents.
  11. Bake for 30 minutes or until pastry is golden.