About 10 or so years ago my wife had to go to London on business and I tagged along for a few days, enjoying some sights during the day and then with her in the evening.
One dish I’d always wanted to try if I ever made it to London was Shepherd’s Pie, a simple and easy comfort casserole of meat (usually lamb) and mashed potatoes in one dish. Depending on the recipe or cook’s desires, it may have mushrooms or vegetables, a special addition of herbs or spices, or just be as truly meat ‘n potatoes as can be.
Let’s just say that my memories of that dish over the pond are about as bland as can be. Nothing special. Which is why this Venison Cottage Pie from our good friends at Food for Hunters makes me yearn for something with a hefty flavor and savory smashed taters.
2 tsp. olive oil, extra for drizzling
– Sea salt and black paper
1-1/4 lb venison, diced small
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely grated
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbs. tomato paste
2-3 tbs. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 cup red wine
1/2 a shallot, thinly sliced
2 tsp. all-purpose flour
1-3/4 cup beef stock
Mashed Potato Topping:
1 lb red potatoes
4 tbs. softened butter
2-3 ounces grated Parmesan
2 large egg yolks
1 tbs. Italian flat-leaf parsley
1. Peel and cut potatoes into equal sized pieces. Boil in salted water until tender.
2. Trim venison, removing all silver-skin. Dab with paper towel. Cut into small cubes.
3. Season venison cubes with sea salt and pepper to taste.
4. Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a deep 10-12 in. pan, preferably a dutch. Cook the shallots just until they’re about to turn color. Add the venison and brown.
5. Add onion, carrots, and garlic. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until veggies soften, stirring frequently. You can add peas if you want. But don’t add it now. We should’ve waited. See step 11.
6. Add Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste and rosemary. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
7. Pour in red wine and let it boil until nearly completely reduced.
8. Stir in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. This cooks out the flour taste. Then, slowly pour in beef stock while stirring and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until the venison is tender and sauce thickened.
9. Meanwhile, drain potatoes well and return to hot pan. Mash in butter, Parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste.
10. Beat in egg yolks. It’s important to do this last, to let the potatoes cool a little. You don’t want scrambled eggs in your mashed potatoes.Stir in parsley. Set aside.
11. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. 60 seconds before the venison mixture reaches the right thickness, stir in the peas. Don’t worry if you’re using frozen peas. It will get plenty of heat in the oven. Spoon mixture into a baking dish.
12. Spread mashed potatoes over the venison mixture, starting from outside to middle. With a fork, fluff peaks into potato. Sprinkle with black pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
13. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until hot and bubbling and top turns golden brown.
“Hunting for Food” is 175 pages covering 13 species, with great cooking preparation photos and super recipes. Begin with detailed instructions on the best practices for hunting different types of game, including coverage of how to find or attract the game you’re looking to hunt, best times for hunting, and the gear you’ll need to be successful.
This complete field-to-table guide also includes information on field dressing and processing wild game, as well as recipe cooking instructions for preparing it. Processing and preparation instructions cover a wide variety of game, including fish, fowl and small game, as well as deer and wild hog.