My cousin Jeremy fancies himself as a bit of a hunter-gatherer, so I’m lucky enough to often find myself with a bit of wild venison in the freezer. Venison’s a lean meat, so depending on the cut you use, the often-neglected cuts will need slow cooking. The cut I’m using in the recipe below, however, is rump — good-enough quality meat that you don’t have to slow-cook. This hearty pie, infused with red wine, plum sauce and aromatic juniper berries, is the perfect lunch on a cold, wet day. I actually cooked this for my father on Father’s Day, which went down a treat. Enjoy!
PREP TIME: 15 MINS
COOK TIME: 20 MINS
MAKES: 20 PIES
700g venison rump, diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup flour
1 leek, sliced
2 celery sticks, sliced
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon juniper berries
4 bay leaves
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons butter
10 mushrooms, diced into small triangles
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup beef stock
1 tablespoon plum sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Few shakes of Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper
2 sheets puff pastry
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180degC.
2. Pour the flour in a bowl and coat the diced venison. Next, heat a large pot to a medium-high heat with the olive oil and cook the venison in about three batches, till just browned all over. Remove from pot and set aside on a plate.
3. In the same pot, add the leek and cook for 2-3 mins. Next, add in the garlic, celery, juniper berries, bay leaves and smoked paprika. Cook for a further 2-3 mins.
4. Add the butter, and saute mushrooms till juice starts coming out of them.
5. Pour in the wine to deglaze the pan and cook till it’s reduced by half.
6. Next, tip the meat with all the juices, the beef stock, plum sauce, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce, and simmer together for 10 mins, stirring occasionally. Take off element and allow to cool.
7. While this is cooking, grease the pie dish with olive oil or butter.
8. Press one sheet of the pastry into the bottom of the pie dish and also up the sides. Find another dish that sits closely inside your pie dish and use that as a weight to keep the pastry from puffing while you blind bake it for about 15 mins.
9. Remove from the oven, and pour the cooled pie mix into the dish. Top with puff pastry and seal the pie all around. Brush the top of the pastry with either milk or egg yolk.
10. Pop back in the oven for about 30 mins, until the pastry is golden.