Tuesday, October 01, 2019

On the MENU this week. Venison Pie

With the strange weather we are having at the moment – from a major heat wave (in September?) to a terrifying gale with rain, it’s quite difficult to plan meals. This is when Lynne dives into our freezer to see what we have. This time she came up with some cubed venison (Springbok) and some good frozen flaky pastry

So Venison Pie it was and it fed us on Saturday and Sunday. Not complicated and very delicious. Served with creamy mashed potato, some good al dente green vegetables and a good red wine

2 T canola oil - 1 kg venison shoulder or leg, cubed - 200 g smoked bacon, cut into 2 cm pieces - 1 large onion, chopped – 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped - 2 carrots chopped - 2 celery chopped - 2T flour - 2 T Mustard powder – 1 bottle (750 ml) good quality dry red wine - 6 Juniper berries, crushed – 3 sprigs of Rosemary and 3 of thyme – 2 bay leaves - Salt and freshly ground black pepper – 2 litres of good meat stock – 1 teaspoon sugar – 200g frozen petits pois - a roll of flaky pastry – 1 beaten egg
In a large ovenproof casserole, brown the meat in the oil, then add the bacon. Remove from the casserole. Replace with the onion, sprinkle with a little salt and fry gently for 5 minutes until soft and beginning to take on colour. Add the garlic and the carrots and celery and fry for 4 to five minutes to allow them to soften. Add the flour and the mustard powder and stir well to incorporate and cook a little, but not brown. This will thicken the stew. Stir in the red wine and let it bubble to boil off some of the alcohol and reduce. Stir while doing this, so it doesn’t stick to the base of the casserole. Add back the meat, then add the herbs, the stock and the sugar. Season well and simmer gently on the stove top or in the oven at 170°C for at least 2 to 3 hours or until the venison is tender but not falling apart. Check and stir the pot every hour or so, to make sure it is not drying out or sticking to the bottom. Add more water if it looks dry. When it is ready, set aside to cool slightly and stir in the petits pois. There should be a good amount of liquid remaining in the venison stew. Some of this will become gravy to serve with the pie

Preheat your oven to 180°C. Take an oven proof pie dish with a rim and put egg wash around the edges. Using a slotted spoon, put the venison stew into the pie dish and carefully cover with the pastry. Seal the edges well and cut a tiny hole in the centre. Trim the edges and scallop them using your thumbs. Use any trimmings to decorate the top of the pie with leaves and flowers or just diamonds. Brush the top with the egg wash to give a golden finish when baked. Bake the pie in the oven for about 20 to 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden and crisp. Use any liquid left in the casserole as gravy

If you don’t want to use pastry, you could do with mashed potato or potato slices. Or make this just as a stew or a potjie, and you could add baby mushrooms. It is delicious and rather filling. Drink with a really good red wine, preferably a blend or a Shiraz. We enjoyed a bottle of Kloovenberg 2007 Shiraz from our cellar which was such a good match

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