This is a gamey version of a Shepherd’s pie, with parsnip added to the mash topping to give it a savoury and sweet flavour. You can just use the meat from the shoulder or tougher haunch cuts of venison, or a mixture of hare and venison with some rabbit thrown in.
- Prep Time: 60 minutes
- Cook time: 45 minutes
- Serves: 5 People
- 1kg coarsely minced venison, or wild boar mince, or a mixture of game
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3–4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 4 juniper berries, crushed
- 1 tsp chopped thyme leaves
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 200ml cider
- 1 litre good beef stock
- 2–3 large potatoes (such as Desiree), peeled and quartered
- 200g parsnips, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
- A few good knobs of butter
- Splash of milk (optional)
- Season the minced venison or other game with salt and pepper.
- Heat 1–2 tbsp oil in a heavy-based frying pan until it is almost smoking, then brown the meat in small batches for a few minutes, turning it with a wooden spoon. Drain in a colander to remove all the fat.
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in a heavy-based saucepan and gently fry the onions with the garlic, juniper and chopped thyme until very soft.
- Add the meat, dust it with flour and add the tomato purée. Cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add the Worcestershire sauce, then slowly stir in the cider and beef stock. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for about 1 hour until the liquid has thickened.
- Check the seasoning and set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6.
- Meanwhile, for the mash, cook the potatoes and parsnips in boiling salted water for about 10–12 minutes until soft.
- Drain in a colander, then return to the pan on a low heat for a minute or so to evaporate any excess water.
- Mash the potatoes and parsnips together smoothly with a potato masher, adding the butter and a little milk if necessary. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Spoon the meat mixture into a large pie dish or individual dishes and spoon the mash evenly on top.
- Rough up the surface with a fork and bake for 35–40 minutes until the topping is golden.
Thank you to Game-to-eat for sharing this recipe with us.
I love a regular beef chilli, but this venison version is something else! Using a combination of diced haunch and venison mince gives the dish a real depth of flavour and a great texture.
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