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Have you eaten one of these award-winning Suffolk pies yet?

PUBLISHED: 19:31 15 October 2018

Lynn and Steve at Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival 2018  Picture: Truly Traceable

Lynn and Steve at Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival 2018 Picture: Truly Traceable

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Lynn and Steve Tricker of Truly Traceable have added another award to their growing 2018 collection.

To use a totally irrelevant sporting analogy – Suffolk food businesses have smashed it out of the park this month.

Not one, not two, not three, but four producers and chefs came home from the new Eat Game Awards in London with awards. Jess Noy (The Gamekeeper’s Daughter) beat off the likes of Richard Corrigan and Tom Kitchin to be named Best Chef, The Wild Meat Company was named Best Small Retailer, and Lavenham Butchers took the third prize for Best Butcher.

Giddy with excitement and fresh from winning Field to Fork in our own Eat Suffolk Food and Drink Awards 2018 (having been shortlisted several times before) are Lynn and Steve Tricker of Truly Traceable, who topped off their year winning Best Added Value Game Meat Product with their range of pies and sausage rolls.

The couple took a gold at the British Pie Awards earlier this year, have added to their collection of Great Taste stars in 2018, and are currently waiting to hear how they’ve fared in the Delicious magazine awards – their pies shortlisted as one of the best products.

“It’s amazing,” Lynn says of their phenomenal success over the years, recounting the hard work that goes into making their really, truly traceable products. “In the summer Steve’s up at 3am to go out at first light hunting,” she reveals. “It really is a proper field to fork process. We’re not down the butchers buying ingredients. It’s about being in the right place at the right time.”

Steve and Lynn’s journey starts as far back as Steve’s childhood when, aged four, he took on his first rifle and went shooting with his dad. Going on to become under 18 Suffolk champion for clay shooting, Steve eventually found himself training in deer management – which led to a eureka moment in 2014.

Lynn (who was working in the kitchens of The White Hart in Halesworth for over a decade) was asked to make pies for the local deli. A surplus of venison in her kitchen, courtesy of hubby Steve, led to experiments in the kitchen and deli, which in turn, just four months later, gave the cook her first national award – with judges noting in particular how great her pastry was.

“I haven’t looked back since,” she laughs, saying the secret to great pastry is making it in small matches with only butter – no spread! Apparently Galton Blackiston (one of the Delicious judges and owner of Norfolk’s Michelin-starred Morston Hall), said Lynn’s pastry is some of the best he’s ever had. High praise indeed.

Each of the pies and pastries in the Truly Traceable range is a real labour of love for Lyn and Steve, involving shooting their own game, or sourcing (collecting in person) from local shoots, before the magic happens in the kitchen. Rabbit is sourced from Simon Whitehead of Pakefield Ferrets, and guaranteed to contain no shot. Partridges and pheasant are picked up from the Sotterley Estate outside of Beccles, and other ingredients are taken from as close to the production kitchen as possible – including pears from the couples’ own garden for their partridge and pear pie.

“We felt it was important,” Lynn says, “to use all other Suffolk ingredients. So we only use Marybelle cream, and when we don’t have our own fruit it’s from High House in Sudbourne. We’d rather go locally sourced for everything. And everything we make, it’s like producing a family meal. We make all the stock ourselves from the venison bones and carcasses from pheasant. And our pies are made in batches of 30 to 40 a time. A lot of places will pressure cook their meat, but all ours is caramelised and seared off before it goes in the stock with the wine to cook. It’s not plunged in and stewed – that makes all the difference to the taste.”

The list of processes that go into crafting each Truly Traceable product is astounding. Rabbit and game bird legs are slowly cooked confit style to keep them succulent and moist. Rabbit saddle is seared- the juices melded into a mustard and tarragon cream sauce, ready for popping into a pie.

“Steve’s favourite pie is our venison and ale,” Lyn reveals, saying they use good old Adnams Bitter in the mix. Her favourite is partridge and pear. And customers cannot get enough of their sausage rolls -from classic venison with garlic and herbs, to the Great Taste Award-winning muntjac merguez rolls pheasant sausage rolls, and spiced apple and partridge sausage rolls, created for the recent Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival but so delicious Lynn says she has to keep on making them.

“We’ve got a massive following for our woodpigeon sausage rolls. If we don’t turn up at FolkEast with those each year we’ll get in trouble!”

Make Truly Traceable’s muntjac venison and ale pie

Ingredients

Rapeseed Oil for frying

700g diced muntjac venison haunch

20g plain flour, seasoned

25g butter

200g smoked bacon lardons

1 onion diced

1 carrot cubed

1 stick celery sliced

1 large clove garlic

400ml ale

400ml venison stock (or beef stock if unavailable)

1 generous tsp. Marmite

4 sprigs of thyme, leaves roughly chopped

1 bay leaf

1-2 tbsp. dark muscovado sugar

1-2 tsp Sweet Blackcurrant Vinegar (Or Aspall Red Wine Vinegar if unavailable)

25g good quality dark chocolate

For the pastry

500g plain flour

125g butter

125g lard

Pinch salt

Cold water

Egg, to glaze

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 150C (fan). Heat a generous splash of oil in a frying pan, toss venison in seasoned flour to coat and sear in the hot pan in batches. Spoon into an ovenproof casserole. Turn down the heat add a little more oil, the butter and onions and caramelise. Add the lardons, carrot, celery and garlic. Soften. Deglaze with a little of the ale, scraping the bottom them pour into the casserole with the meat. Add the rest of the ale, the stock, herbs, vinegar, Marmite and chocolate and simmer. Cover and place in the oven for 1.5 to 2 hours. Remove and allow to cool.

to make the pastry rub the fats into the flour in a large bowl to make breadcrumbs. Blend with enough cold water to make a firm dough. Wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 200C. On a floured surface roll out half the pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin. Use it to line the bottom of a greased pie dish. Spoon in the cold pie filling, roll out the remaining pastry to cover, place over the top and press the edges to seal. Cut a hole in the centre, brush with beaten egg and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

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