( SERVES 4 )
Photo by Tamara West
I have made a quick, rough puff pastry to encase the melt-in-the-mouth venison, but you could use a store-bought butter puff pastry or even serve as a casserole with mash and a side of steamed green vegetables. There are also instructions for topping one large pie or individual pies.
|2 Tbsp||Olive oil|
|500 g||Venison, casserole-cut, cut into 2.5cm dice, I used Silver Fern Farms venison diced|
|2 Tbsp||Flour, seasoned with salt and pepper|
|3||Bacon rashers, thick, diced|
|¾ cup||Red wine|
|500 g||Pumpkin, peeled and cut into 2.5cm pieces|
|2||Carrots, small-medium, peeled and sliced|
|400 g||Canned tomatoes, chopped, in juice|
- Heat the oven to 160C. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Roll the diced venison in the seasoned flour and brown on all sides. Do this in batches
so as not to overcrowd the pan. Transfer the browned venison to an ovenproof casserole dish as you go.
- Lower the heat and add the bacon and onion. Cook for 5 minutes until the onion is soft. Stir in any remaining seasoned flour, then add the pumpkin and carrot slices. Pour in the red wine and allow to bubble up and reduce slightly. Add the tomatoes and beer and stir well, scraping the bottom of the pan. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and add to the casserole dish with the herbs.
- Place in the oven and cook for 2½ hours until the meat is tender and the sauce has thickened. (If serving as a casserole cook for 3 hours).
To make the pastry
- Sift the flour with a pinch of salt into a large bowl. Add the butter and mix until the butter is covered in flour.
- Sprinkle over the water and roughly mix together before tipping out on to a bench top. Bring mixture together (you will need a firm action for this, but don’t be tempted to add more water as this will just make the pastry tough), and shape into a rectangle.
- Cover with greaseproof paper and place in the refrigerator to chill for 20 minutes.
- Lightly flour the bench top. Roll out pastry 3 times its length then fold the top 1/3 back into the centre. Bring the bottom 1/3 up to join so the pastry has 3 layers. Give pastry a ¼ turn, roll out 3 times its length and repeat fold. Wrap and chill again for 20 minutes. (If you think the butter is not evenly spread throughout the pastry then give an extra roll and fold).
Assembly for one venison pie
- Heat the oven to 200C. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured bench top to 5mm thickness. Using a 24cm pie dish as your guide, cut a rectangle slightly bigger than the dish.
- Place the venison filling in the pie dish. Brush a little egg wash around the edges of the dish. Using the rolling pin to help you pick up the pastry, place the pastry over the filling and trim the edges.
- Crimp the edges of the pastry with your fingers to seal it to the dish. Make 2-3 slits with a small sharp knife in the top of the pie to allow steam to escape and brush all over with the beaten egg.
- Bake the pie in the middle of the oven for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is a rich golden colour.
Assembly for 4 individual venison pies
- Roll pastry as above. Using a 1 cup capacity ovenproof dish or individual pie tins as your guide, cut a circle slightly bigger than the dishes or tins. Fold leftover pastry, wrap well in plastic wrap and freeze for later use.
- Fill each dish or tin with venison filling to just below the top and brush a little egg wash around the edges. Place a pastry circle on top of each and trim edges. Using a sharp knife and keeping the blade of the knife horizontal, make shallow cuts into the pastry edges. This is called “knocking up the pastry’’ and helps the pastry to rise slightly in even layers.
- Make a slit with a small sharp knife in the top of each pie to allow steam to escape, and brush all over with the beaten egg.
- Bake pies in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes or until the pastry is a rich golden colour.