Gordon has been cooking and experimenting with food since childhood. He loves coming up with new and tasty culinary creations.
Wild game pies are generally made from more than one type of meat, but venison is a very popular inclusion. The venison in these little pies is contained in a delicious red wine gravy for maximum succulence and flavour. As the pies are prepared in mini ceramic ramekins, they are both very easy to form and much less likely to leak or fall apart while cooking in the oven.
Prep time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Ready in: 4 hours
Yields: 4 mini wild game pies
- ½ pound piece venison loin steak
- ½ small red onion
- Salt and pepper
- ½ pint fresh beef stock
- ½ bottle red wine (not too sweet)
- 1 medium carrot
- ½ pound puff pastry
- Flour for rolling pastry
- 1 egg
The piece of venison in this instance was very thick, so for evenness of cooking and simplicity, it was firstly and carefully cut in half horizontally with a very sharp chef's knife before being laid in the bottom of a large cooking pot. The sliced red onion was added to the pot next and seasoning was added in the form of salt and pepper.
Pour the red wine and the stock into the pot and put the pot on to a high heat until the liquid begins to simmer. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to maintain as gentle a simmer as possible for one and a half hours. Turn off the heat and leave the venison in the cooling liquid for one hour.
A slotted spoon should be used to remove the venison from the partially cooled stock to a holding plate where it should be covered and left to cool completely.
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When the venison has been removed from the pot, peel the carrot and grate it in to the stock. Bring the stock back to a gentle simmer for five minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Turn off the heat, cover and also leave to cool.
When the venison is cool, take two forks and use them to shred the meat, exactly as you would do when preparing pulled pork.
Put the pulled venison back in to the pot with the stock and carrot and stir well. Take the puff pastry from the fridge and allow it to sit for 15 to 20 minutes to come up to room temperature.
Suspend a fine sieve over a large bowl and carefully strain the venison, carrot and stock combination.
Cut the pastry in to four equal sized pieces.
These pies were made in porcelain ramekins. Start by measuring the diameter of the ramekins and the depth. You will need to use a circular cutting template which is very slightly more in diameter than the base of a ramekin plus twice the depth. A small bowl was perfect in this instance. Take the first piece of pastry and cut off one-third of it which should be set aside for making the pie lid. Roll out the remainder to a square just large enough that you can use your template and a blunt edged knife to cut from it a circle.
Lightly grease the inside of the four little ramekins with butter. Fit the first pie base carefully inside the first ramekin that it slightly overhangs the lip evenly all the way around. Repeat with the three further pieces of pastry before using a teaspoon to almost but not quite fill the pie cases with the venison combination.
One at a time, roll out the pastry portions for the pie lids and use a drinking glass or the likes of similar diameter to the ramekins as a cutting template.
Carefully fit a lid over each pie filling and press down lightly.
Break the egg in to a small cup or bowl and beat with a fork until the yolk and white are just combined. Use a pastry brush to lightly glaze the lids of the pies.
Use your two index fingers to carefully crimp and seal the little pies all the way around the edges. Glaze the crimps with more beaten egg. Cook in a preheated oven at 400F/200C/Gas Mark 6 for half an hour or until the pastry is golden and crisp.
Take the pies from the oven and let them sit on a heatproof surface in the ramekins for 10 minutes.
A blunt edged small knife should be used to carefully release the pies all the way down and around the edges before they are carefully tipped out and set on a wire rack to rest for 10 further minutes before being eaten. Alternatively, they can be allowed to cool completely and eaten cold. They will keep in the fridge in an airtight container when cooled for a couple of days but should be removed 15 to 20 minutes before being eaten.
These pies are delicious eaten on their own or served with such as roast potatoes and garden peas.
© 2018 Gordon N Hamilton