I’m very much affected by the weather, my kitchen is equally affected……as is my garden – which at the moment is lifeless and bare. I’m in mourning for it and I long for when it is yellow and green and red and white again and I can wander through it executing slugs, caressing baby courgettes and sucking down a craft brewski or seven.
As a home cook with a 9 to 5 it would be easy for me to go into hiding this time of year, strip the kitchen down to its basic function and subsist on freezer fodder and that award-winning chip shop up the street. It can be difficult to pull the kitchen together when the sun doesn’t stream in, my giant slide-door fully open effectively bringing my kitchen outside…I miss that. I miss next door’s fat cat sitting on the fence watching and (I’m convinced) assessing me as I pivot around my kitchen, I miss eating outside and I miss the smell of fresh-cut summer grass at supper time…..
But…I’m being dramatic..Winter presents incredible opportunities for balance in life when considering cooking and food. If consider yourself a fully functioning human being then you will be craving warm, wholesome comforting foods at this time of year – you look for dishes that warm the heart and nourish the soul as well as swelling the belly heralding fireside naps and the smell of a wet dog. This is all well and good but it isn’t balanced….I love a good curl up with the pup as much as the next guy but this is nothing unless its balanced with that winter swim, mountain hike or pup-run through a damp and skeletal forest – happiness is a wet dog as far as I’m concerned…….
My friends gave me Venison, I butchered it..I trimmed some of it, other parts I tied and the meat in this dish I chunked and pied…..this is what I look forward to coming home to after a winter stride on a Sunday has iced me to my core and my dog has had enough swimming and chasing fish…………
Prep time: 2.5 hours ♦ Cook Time: 30 mins ♦ Total time 3hrs ♦ Serves 4
♣WHAT YOU NEED♥
1 kg Venison chunks (stewing)
Plain flour for dusting
1 Small bunch of fresh Thyme, Parsley and Rosemary
2 clove garlic – minced
1 large carrot – cut into rough 1 inch chunks
1/2 bottle good red wine
1 medium white onion finely diced
4 Juniper berries
50 mls port
1 sheet puff pastry
1 beaten egg
♠HOW YOU DO IT♥
Season the flour well with salt and pepper and dunk in the venison chunks, coat and the dust them off. Next brown the venison in a little oil in a pan – do this in two or three batches to make sure you fry as opposed to sweat.
Transfer the venison to a deep casserole and add in the onions and carrots. Pop the casserole onto the gas ring, add in the wine and port and bring to a simmer – leave simmering for about 10 minutes
Transfer the casserole to a pre-heated oven at 140c for about 2 hours or until the venison is tender and pulls apart easily. If the sauce is a little on the wet side you can remove the venison, carrots and onions and reduce it directly on the gas or even better drop in a little Swiss Roux to thicken (if you don’t know what that is mail me and I’ll tell you).
Allow the venison ‘stew to cool’ completely then transfer to one of those fabo falcon pie dishes and pop on a puff pastry lid as ramshackle as you fancy.
Brush the puff lid with the beaten egg and then bake in a hot oven 200c for about 23-30 minutes. That’s it – serve with hearty winter greens such as savoy cabbage and a big bad buttery mash…if you have racked up the miles with the dog only!
FANCY A BEER?
TRY THIS: INNIS & GUNN SCOTTISH CRAFT ALE
8 thoughts on “The very ultimate of pies – Venison”
Damn fine venison pie Rory, as I sit here and look at it snowing out the window covering up all the bird seed I set out on my feeder ledge for the birds. I truly wish we had teleport machines, as I would teleport that right into my kitchen right now as I lament on what to make for dinner. 🙂
ha, ha!! I’ll see if I can organise a Fedex shipment Kathryn!!
Excellent stuff Rory. This is pie weather, for certain. The venison is something I’m missing. I am on a promise from a hunting friend but he hasn’t delivered anything just yet. I plan to do some venison sausages and I now think I might do a pie too!
Its never been on my radar Conor, never any real drive to seek it out until a Romanian buddy landed at my door with a full one in his jeep! Love the idea of sausages!!
Looking good Monsieur
Cheers Captain Fitzy!!
Looks great, and I like your thing about seasonal balance.
Cheers Captain! Yeah, the whole thing isn’t at all conscious with me…it just happens…but then I’m buying from those who work seasons like the butchers and particularly Robbie my Grocer..who provides the stuff I haven’t planted