For the venison stew
- 2kg large diced roe or fallow deer leg
- 750ml (1 bottle) Shiraz or similar
- 400g button onions or shallots
- 200g celery, finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 sprigs of thyme
- 1 litre veal jus
- 6 circles to fit your pie pots, or one big one for a large pie. Approximately 6mm thick will give you a nice risen crust.
- 1 beaten then strained free range egg
Root vegetable mash
- 200g Parsnips
- 200g Swedes
- 200g Carrots
- 200g Celeriac
- 50g flat leaf parsley all peeled and chopped into large cubes
- Butter to mash
- Cracked black pepper and sea salt to taste
1. Sear off the venison pieces in a non stick frying pan with a little olive oil and butter until brown on all sides. Fry in small quantities so as not to overcrowd the pan. Transfer the seared venison from the pan into a colander, with a bowl sitting underneath. This will allow excess juices to be collected and used later.
2. In a large sauce pan sauté button onions, celery and garlic until soft and lightly caramelised. Add red wine, reduce by half. Then add stock and venison juices to pan. Bring to boil and skim if there is any scum or oil on the surface. Add bay leaves, thyme and venison and simmer for 2-4 hours until tender. The venison should be very tender, but not quite falling apart, as it is best made a day or two in advance. Cool, then transfer to a plastic container and refrigerate until needed.
3. To assemble pies divide your venison stew into 6 pots, ensuring an equal distribution of the meat pieces. On the underside of the puff pastry lids, paint a thin circle of beaten egg around their perimeter. Invert the lid onto the filled pie pots, the egg wash will enable the pastry to stick to the dish.
4. Lightly press the pastry down into place, leaving small decorative indentations around the edge of the dish. Now brush the entire lid with beaten egg ensuring it does not run down the sides of the pastry. Cooks Tip: take care not to allow the egg wash to cover the sides of the lid as this will prevent the pastry from rising evenly.
5. Refrigerate the pies until needed. To make mash cook all vegetables separately in a steamer, or boil. Cooking separately takes more time and more pans but will ensure that the vegetables cook properly and retain their individual flavour. Very lightly mash together with a little butter, chopped parsley leaves and season to taste. Keep warm in a large serving bowl until needed.
6. To cook, remove all the shelves from your oven apart from the bottom one. If you don’t do this the puff pastry will hit the shelves above!
7. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
8. Cooks Tip: if your pastry browns too quickly, place a piece of silver foil over the top of the pie. To serve, remove pies from oven and transfer the dishes to large dinner plates, held in place on a linen napkin.
9. Serve root vegetable mash at the table with some fine green beans and a little grated orange zest and extra virgin olive oil. Eat straight from the dish with the vegetables along side.