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 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.
Spiced Plum and Venison Salad
Try this dish in late summer or autumn, when British plums are sweet and full of flavour. Poached with cinnamon, cloves and juniper berries, they’re a heavenly accompaniment to tasty and tender wild venison loin, along with crunchy walnuts and fresh green salad leaves.
Venison Stir Fry
If you love red meat but need to watch your weight or your cholesterol, this simple stir fry delivers big flavours while without the fat. Venison steaks are marinated in soy sauce for 30 minutes before cooking then need only 2 or 3 minutes in a hot wok.