Grab that apron and make yourself a true British classic – Venison and Beef Pie.
Venison and Beef Pie
The best wild-shot venison comes from Scotland, so it’s not surprising that Scottish-born chefs, like Jeremy Lee of Quo Vadis in London, like to use the meat in their savory pies, as in this recipe. American cooks don’t have access to domestically shot wild venison unless they hunt it themselves. The alternatives are meat from Asian deer species raised and slaughtered by Broken Arrow Ranch, a huge game preserve in Texas, or that imported from New Zealand and sometimes Scotland, usually frozen but occasionally fresh in season.
- 3 tablespoons sunflower or vegetable oil
- 1¾ pounds (800 g) venison, cut into large pieces
- ⅔ pound (300 g) beef brisket, cut into large chunks
- 2 red onions, sliced
- 1 large carrot, halved lengthwise and cut into 10 to 12 pieces
- 1 (4-ounce / 120-g) piece thick-cut bacon, cut into ½-inch (1.25-cm) cubes
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon red currant jelly
- 2½ cups (600 ml) good-quality red wine
- 12 ounces (340 g) puff pastry, store-bought (thawed, if frozen) or homemade
- 1 large egg, beaten
Heat half the oil in a Dutch oven or large skillet with a cover over medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown the venison and the brisket, turning the pieces frequently with tongs until they are well browned on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Set the meat aside as it is done.
Add the rest of the oil to the pot, reduce the heat to medium, and add the onions and carrot. Cook for 5 minutes, until they begin to soften. Add the bacon and garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more. Season generously with salt and pepper, then add the bay leaf and stir in the red currant jelly and the wine.
Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low, return the meat to the pot, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the meat is tender. Set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC).
Spoon the meat into four individual baking dishes or one large one.
If using individual dishes, divide the puff pastry into four equal parts and roll out each part to form a round just large enough to fit over the top of a baking dish. If using one large baking dish, roll out the puff pastry to form a round just large enough to fit over its top. Gently lay to pastry over the top of each baking dish. Decorate the pastry with any trimmings, if you like. Make a small hole in the middle of the pastry to allow steam to escape, then brush the beaten egg over the top.
Bake the pies or pie for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF (175ºC) and bake for 30 minutes more, or until the pastry has risen and turned golden brown.
This recipe was extracted from The British Table by Colman Andrews, published by Abrams | Out now.
The British Table: A New Look at the Traditional Cooking of England, Scotland, and Wales celebrates the best of British cuisine old and new. Drawing on a vast number of sources both historical and modern, the book includes more than 125 recipes, from traditional regional specialties to modern gastropub reinventions of rustic fare. Dishes like chicken pie, mackerel with sorrel sauce and a pastry shop full of simple, irresistible desserts have found their way onto modern British menus—delicious reminders of the depth and breadth of Britain’s culinary heritage. The book blends these tradition-based reinventions, by some of the finest chefs in England, Scotland and Wales, with forgotten dishes of the past worthy of rediscovery.