This fantastic venison pie recipe is unusual but makes a beautiful pairing with Stilton
- 50g (2oz) butter
- 2 large onions, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3tbsp flour
- 1.5kg (3lb 6oz) diced venison shoulder
- 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
- 1 bottle red wine
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 250g (9oz) mushrooms, halved
- 150g (5oz) Stilton, broken into chunks
- 375g (13oz) ready-rolled, all-butter puff pastry
- beaten free-range egg, to glaze
Heat the butter in a large casserole dish and add the onions and garlic. Cook the onions gently and without colouring for 15 minutes until soft, then stir in the flour and cook for a further couple of minutes.
Add the venison, season and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes with a large pinch of sugar, then two-thirds of the bottle of wine and the bay leaves. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, bubbling very gently for 2 hours 30 minutes, until the meat is tender and the sauce is thickened. Add the mushrooms after 1 hour 30 minutes and add the rest of the wine if you need more liquid.
Remove the casserole from the heat and allow to cool completely – it will taste even better if you can give it a night in the fridge – then transfer to a lipped pie dish and scatter the crumbled Stilton on top. (If using a pie funnel, place in the centre then just cut the pastry around it.)
Heat the oven to 200 C, 180 C fan, 400 F, gas 6. Lay out the pastry on a floured surface and cut a couple of thin strips off one side. Brush the lip of the pie dish with beaten egg and stick the strips down on top, so they line the rim of the pie dish. Brush another layer of egg over the strips, then lay the pastry sheet on top, press the edges down then trim them with a serrated knife leaving a slight overhang to give the pastry room to shrink. Chill for 20 minutes then glaze the top of the pastry with the remaining egg, cut a steam hole in the top and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the pastry is risen, crisp and golden, and the filling is bubbling. Serve immediately.
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