Ah yes, January! The perfect month for some good old comfort food! I believe that most of us know the Irish/UK classics Shepard's Pie and Cottage Pie. Cottage pie utilizes beef as the protein and Shepherd's pie, lamb.
I figured what better way to pay homage to such a wonderful dish than by replacing the meat with wild harvested venison and calling it Hunter's Pie. But not only did I swap out the protein, I also changed the classic ground meat with a braised and pulled blade roast to make it even more hearty.
I'd imagine that in the old days braised or stewed meat was used for the filling. Hell, the filling may have very well been leftover pot roast or a basic stew.
***You can replace the blade roast with shanks and have just as good results.
INGREDIENTS (for the Venison)
1 - Venison Blade Roast or 3 Shanks
2 Tablespoons - olive oil
2 - large carrots (chopped)
1 - large onion (chopped)
1 Tablespoon -Fresh Rosemary (chopped)
2 Tablespoons - Fresh Thyme
4 - Garlic Cloves (chopped)
2 Tablespoons - Worcestershire sauce
1.5 Cups - Tomato Paste
2 cups - Red Wine
2 cups - Venison Stock (can use beef, chicken or veal stock)
2 cups - Frozen Green Peas
Salt and pepper to taste
INGREDIENTS (for the Potatoes)
1.5lbs - Yukon Gold Potatoes (Quartered)
1/4 cup - Whole Milk
3 Tbsp - Butter (Melted)
1/2 cup - parmesan cheese
1/2 Teaspoon - Salt
Preheat the oven to 330 degrees.
Season the meat with salt and pepper. Coat a large pan with the olive oil and heat to medium high heat. Brown the venison on each side for about 2-3 minutes or until good color is achieved. Set the pan and meat aside.
In a blender or food processor, puree all of the vegetables (Except the Green Peas), herbs and the garlic until it looks like a thick paste.
Remove the meat from the pan and heat the pan to medium heat. Add the tomato paste, worcestershire sauce and the vegetable puree to the pan and cook for 7-8 minutes while stirring frequently.
Add the red wine and scape all of the bits off the bottom of the pan. Reduce the mixture by half.
Place the venison in a braising dish or a dutch oven. Pour the vegetable and wine mixture over the meat. Add about 2 cups of stock or enough to cover the meat about 3/4 of the way. Cover and cook for 3-4 hour or until the meat is falling off of the bone.
While the venison is cooking, place the potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and cook until fork tender (about 15 minutes)
Strain the potatoes and whip with an electric mixer along with the melted butter, milk, parmesan and salt. If the potatoes are too thick adjust with more milk.
When the meat is done remove it and preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Remove the venison from the cooking liquid and shred very finely. Add the meat and green peas to an ovenproof dish. Add enough of the cooking liquid to the shredded meat until it is nice and moist.
Top the meat with the whipped potatoes. Sprinkle a little extra parmesan cheese on top and bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.
***Pro Tip: Pour a little bit of the cooking liquid and some extra parmesan over your potatoes once plated. You'll thank me later!