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
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.
- Make the mashed potatoes first. Mix some shredded cheddar cheese in and let it sit on the stovetop.
- Meanwhile, brown the meat and the onions, and add whatever vegetables you’d like.
- 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.
- Use a standard 9×13 casserole dish, add the mashed potatoes and bake in the oven..
- 2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1/2 cup half and half or buttermilk
- 3 T. butter
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 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
- 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.
- Add the remaining ingredients for the mashed potatoes and mash it all together until the potatoes are nice and fluffy. Set aside.
- In a heavy skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter.
- Add onions and saute’ for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add venison, basil, salt and pepper to taste as it cooks. Brown it well then remove and set aside.
- Add the rest of the spices, garlic and vegetables and cook another few minutes.
- Set a large Dutch oven or similar pot over medium heat. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
- Add the browned meat and onions, plus the rest of the ingredients (other than the cheese). Stir well and bring to a boil.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.