Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Venison & Vegetable Pie

venison pie
Venison and Vegetable Pie
Hello, March! I've been impatiently awaiting your arrival. From the daffodils you're encouraging to grow in our front flower bed to the warmer evenings I know you'll bring us to enjoy grilling on the deck, how could I not love you? You give me hope that winter is going to end, and you inspire me to celebrate growth and fresh starts. And you give me reason to celebrate my Irish heritage. 

I used tonight as an opportunity to break out my Irish Pub Cookbook. I have to admit that I have cookbooks in my collection that I haven't used much. I flip through them every once in awhile, but I'm still working on making more of the recipes in them; I'm happy to report that the first recipe adapted from this cookbook was awesome.

We had a bit of leftover venison thawed, so I thought I'd make some sort of pot pie with it. The husband has asked for Shepherd's Pie before, but I'm not about to eat lamb. I thought of making an adapted Cottage Pie, but my Irish Pub Cookbook actually has a recipe for Hunter's Pie: a casserole that's filled with carrots, celery, mushrooms and, lucky for us, venison. All that the husband requested was that I put potatoes on top instead of the flaky pie crust. No problem. I mixed the Hunter's Pie and Cottage Pie recipes and came up with something I think we'll be enjoying again. (At the very least, I know we'll be enjoying it again tomorrow.)

Really, the recipe wasn't all that hard to throw together, but the prep work was time-consuming and it was quite the juggling act. As I browned the meat, chopped the veggies and worried about the potatoes boiling all over my glass-top stove, I had to ask for the husband's help more than once. My advice: If you're going to make this dish, make sure you have all of your vegetables ready before you start cooking or get yourself a helper. But get a helper who isn't as smart as mine. When I asked the husband to grab the camera, my helper said, "Oh, this meal is worthy of more than just the camera phone?" (Yes, he's a funny guy.) 

Also, be prepared to cook for a while or be willing to eat crisp-tender vegetables. All in all, I think this recipe should have cooked for an hour, according to the recipe, but the husband and I both got a bit tired of waiting. I don't think undercooking the dish took away from the recipe at all - we just had vegetables that weren't as mushy as the husband probably would have preferred. And we had more dirty dishes than I preferred for a Tuesday, but you can't always get what you want.

This was a great way to welcome March, if I do say so myself. Goodbye, February. Not even the muddy dog footprints that'll be tracked into my kitchen this month or the dwindling college basketball season will make me wish you back. 

The pie could have probably served six, but we're going to make it serve four.
Venison & Vegetable (Hunter's) Pie
Adapted from The Irish Pub Cookbook
1 1/4 lbs ground venison
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup green pepper, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 3/4 cups fat-free vegetable broth
1/4 cup tomato paste
red pepper flakes, to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt
ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup white mushroom

Mashed potato topping:
2 medium potatoes
2 tablespoons fat-free half-and-half
garlic powder, to taste

Preheat to oven 375 degrees F.

Get two pans going: a large skillet for the meat and a medium saucepan for the potatoes. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet and brown meat. While the meat is cooking, cover the peeled and diced potatoes with cold water and boil.

After about five minutes, remove meat from pan, leaving any remaining oil in the skillet.

Add 1 tablespoon oil and cook garlic, carrots, celery, onion and green pepper until slightly brown. Stir in flour and tomato paste. (This mixture will coat the veggies.) Cook the veggies for another minute, stirring constantly. Pour in the broth, chili flakes and boil, stirring constantly.

Add the venison back into the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often. The mixture will be thick!

Put the meat mixture into a pie plate.

Drain the potatoes and mash with the half-and-half and garlic powder. Spoon the potatoes over the meat mixture.

Bake the pie in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until potatoes are lightly brown and veggies are as soft as you'd like.

Makes 4 servings
Amount per serving: Approximately 460 calories, 17 g fat, 38 g carbs, 5.5 g fiber, 36 g protein


  1. I might dig around some of the veggies, but it sounds like quite a tasty treat!

  2. It looks absolutely fantastic. I love any kind of meat pie. Venison has such a yummy flavor that it would be perfect in this kind of dish. I also agree with your husband on potatoes over pie crust on top!

  3. Thanks, Mom Chef! Venison truly is unlike anything else. I wish we could get our hands on it more often. The pie was very good - just as good again tonight! Even if I did have to eat a couple of the husband's carrots. I guess he's a little like you, Mr. P.J.

  4. I love the new wallpaper. Did that recipe come from the Irish Pub cookbook that you got for Christmas in New York a couple of years ago? Looks like a keeper to me.


Thanks for taking the time out of your day to show my space a little love.


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