Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Venison Pie

Venison recipes are absent from early Australian newspapers, but as early as 1803 a Mr Harris was keeping deer in an enclosure in Sydney known as 'the Swamp', and by the 1860s there were wild deer in Victoria. The Victorian Game Pie recipes that appeared in newspapers in the 1890s did not specify the type of "game" required, but rabbit seems a likely candidate.

This venison pie can also be made with a commercial puff pastry, with the pastry on top of the pie only. Redcurrant jelly - about a tablespoon - can be added to the sauce, or served on the side.


1 onion, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
1 French shallot, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, sliced
bouquet (bay leaf, parsley, thyme)
2 cloves
1 cup white wine vinegar

Saute the onion, carrot, shallot and celery in a little oil for 1 minute; add the bouquet, cloves and vinegar, bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Allow the marinade to cool. When cold, pass through a sieve and pour over the venison, previously seasoned with salt and pepper. Turn the venison once or twice while marinating. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Suet pastry

240 g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
120g suet, finely chopped
90-100 ml water, approx.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a basin and add the finely-chopped (or grated) suet. Mix with water to a soft dry dough, knead well in the basin. Alternatively, whiz all ingredients in a food processor, knead well on a floured surface. Roll into a smooth ball. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate until the filling is ready.

Meat Filling

1 kg venison shoulder, diced into 2 cm pieces
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, sliced 
salt, pepper and herbs (parsley, thyme, bay leaf)
1 cup rich gravy
1 leaf gelatine

Strain the marinade, reserve. Dust venison pieces with seasoned flour, brown in butter, remove to a clean saucepan. Saute onion and carrot, in extra butter if needed, and add to the venison. Add warmed marinade and water sufficient to cover, simmer about an hour (for farmed venison). Strain off the liquid and reserve for the "gravy". Allow the meat to cool.

Venison Pie

Cut the pastry into two pieces, two-thirds for the base and sides of the pie dish and one-third for the cover.

Roll out the large piece of pastry, line the base and sides of the pie dish. Spoon in the meat filling, smooth the top.

Roll out the pie cover, cut a circle of pastry from the centre and set aside.

Brush the edges of the pie cover with beaten egg or milk, place on the top of the pie and pinch the edges together. Brush the top with beaten egg and bake in a moderately hot oven for 60 minutes.

After 45 minutes, when the pie is almost ready, heat the gravy and reduce to 1 cup, stir in the softened gelatine, and pour through the hole left in the top of the pie. Serve with mashed potato and brussels sprouts. Serves 6.

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