Venison Shepherd's Pie

Venison Shepherd’s Pie

Venison Shepherd’s Pie is an old English dish that dates back to the 1700s. Back then it was called “Cottage Pie”. It is usually diced or ground meat — lamb, beef, mutton or venison — often with vegetables, whatever you have in the pantry, a nice gravy, and typically Scarborough Faire herbs. But, unlike most pies, shepherd’s pie has no real crust. Just a layer of mashed potatoes and maybe some cheese on top. Oh, and I didn’t mention…. it’s easy to make.

Venison Shepherd’s Pie




1.5 hours



When you’re making venison shepherd’s pie, you’re really making two dishes at once: Making mashed potatoes, and the filling that goes into the pie pan. But, even though there will be several pots going, this is an easy recipe.

  1. Make the mashed potatoes first. Mix some shredded cheddar cheese in and let it sit on the stovetop.
  2. Meanwhile, brown the meat and the onions, and add whatever vegetables you’d like.
  3. Finally make a gravy to tie it all together. The gravy for our venison shepherd’s pie recipe is a dollop of mustard, Worcestershire, a splash of Maggi, and a touch of tomato paste. Thin it out a bit with red wine (claret), or a dark, malty beer, some beef or venison stock. Then cook it down so that the filling is wet, but not soupy.
  4. Use a standard 9×13 casserole dish, add the mashed potatoes and bake in the oven..


Mashed Potatoes

  • 2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup half and half or buttermilk
  • 3 T. butter
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt


  • 4 T. butter, divided (half of a stick)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut small
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and cut small (optional)
  • 1 cup peas (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 cups diced or chopped cooked venison *Any ground or diced meat will work for this recipe. We’ve used beef, mutton, lamb, and even wild turkey.
  • 1 T. chopped basil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 cup red wine (or malty beer)
  • 2 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 T. Dijon mustard
  • 1 T. tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried sage
  • 2 tsp. Maggi sauce (optional)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten


Mashed Potatoes

  1. Boil potatoes in a large pot over high heat. Simmer until tender. Drain the pot and return the potatoes to it. Turn the heat to low and let them steam for a few minutes.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients for the mashed potatoes and mash it all together until the potatoes are nice and fluffy. Set aside.


  1. In a heavy skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter.
  2. Add onions and saute’ for 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Add venison, basil, salt and pepper to taste as it cooks. Brown it well then remove and set aside.
  4. Add the rest of the spices, garlic and vegetables and cook another few minutes.
  5. Set a large Dutch oven or similar pot over medium heat. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  6. Add the browned meat and onions, plus the rest of the ingredients (other than the cheese). Stir well and bring to a boil.
  7. Boil the mixture down until the mixture is wet but no longer soupy. Stir often. This step should take somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes.
  8. Pour mixture into a 9×13 casserole dish. Leave about an inch of space for the mashed potatoes. Cover with potatoes and be sure to make the surface uneven. Sprinkle the cheese over the top.
  9. Bake until browned. About 25 minutes.

Once made, your venison shepherd’s pie makes superb leftovers and will keep a week in the fridge.

If you’re looking for more venison recipes, try our ‘After the Hunt’ Venison stew.

Interested in bagging your own venison?

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