Father’s Day Confit Impala Neck and Pinot Noir Pie Recipe

Tender tuck for dear, old dad

When we asked Ryan Shell – celebrated head chef at the Franschhoek-based Haute Cabrière Restaurant – to develop a recipe fitting for a Father’s Day dish, he turned to a meal that his own father most enjoys eating, and that he most enjoys making.

“I went straight to my dad’s firm favourite, which is steak and kidney pie,” he explains. “Then I considered a variation on this, something I most like whipping up...steak and Guinness pie.”

Set on a meaty, man-sized crusty bake, Ryan’s second mission was to incorporate an ingredient from the farm, and, true to his acclaimed cooking style, a touch of something South African. Enter Haute Cabrière’s quality Pinot Noir and the idea to replace the steak with locally-sourced impala neck.

And the confit? “Well,” says Ryan, “I’ve experimented with confit everything, from parsnips to crayfish, so I naturally ended up with confit impala neck”.

Tender, juicy and rich with flavour, it’s safe to assume that this dish would be a hit with many more fathers than just Ryan’s own. Although he assures us that the game pie is hearty enough alone to fill any man, he suggests serving it with parsley-crushed potatoes as a winning pairing.

Note: Although actual cooking time is minimal, the confit takes approximately two days to mature, so don’t forget to prepare it in advance.

Ingredients for Confit Impala Neck and Pinot Noir Pie

Serves 8 – 10 (“depending on the size of the fathers,” adds Ryan) 

For the braised neck:

  • 2 impala necks
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 30g rock salt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2g mustard seed
  • 2g black pepper
  • 2g coriander seed
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 5kg confit fat

For the vegetables:

  • 2 large onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 turnips
  • 2 beetroots
  • 2 litres lamb stock
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 sprigs rosemary

For the mix:

  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 200g butter
  • 50ml olive oil
  • 1 punnet button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bottle Haute Cabrière Pinot Noir
  • 3 sprigs thyme, stalks removed
  • 30g flour

For the crust:

  • Puff pastry
  • 1 egg

Method (Confit: 2 days sitting; preparation time: 45 minutes; cooking time: 30 minutes)

For the braised neck:

Combine the brown sugar, salt, garlic, mustard seed, black pepper, coriander seed, rosemary and confit fat. Rinse the impala necks and mix into this cure. Leave to stand for at least 12 hours in the fridge. Remove the necks from the cure and rinse them. Place them into a large pot with the cold fat and cook on the lowest possible heat until tender. If possible leave the cooked necks in the fat overnight. Remove from the fat and pick the meat off the bones.

For the vegetables:

Peel and cut all of the vegetables (onions, carrots, turnips and beetroots) into similar sized cubes. Put 500ml of the lamb stock into four small pots with a clove of garlic and a sprig of rosemary in each. Place each of the four vegetable types into a separate pot and cook until each is tender.

For the mix:

Heat a pot until it is smoking; add oil and then butter. Add the mushrooms and roast them off quickly. Turn down the heat and add the onion and sprigs of thyme. Cook the onion pieces until translucent. Remove from the heat and strain off excess fat. Put all back into the pan and add flour; cook until the onions are light brown. Add the bottle of wine and reduce until syrupy. Add the picked impala meat and the vegetables (as well as some of the stock that they were cooked in). Season to taste and place in the fridge to cool.

To finish:

Place in an ovenproof dish and cover with puff pastry. Brush with egg and bake in the oven at 180°C until the pastry is golden brown (roughly 30 minutes). Serve and enjoy.

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Is dad a no-meat kind of man? Have a look at Rick’s Café Américain chef Per Menkö’s recipe for a hearty vegetarian dish: Layered Aubergine Tajine with Lentils. Plus, read more about the celebrated Haute Cabrière Restaurant, based on Haute Cabrière Wine Estate in the pretty Franschhoek valley.

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