Venison pie. Say what you will about British food, but this boozy venison pie with game meat enrobed in red wine and currant jelly beneath a pastry crust that crackles beneath your fork just may change your mind.
Venison pie is a British stew that bubbles away into luxuriant and aromatic awesomeness beneath its golden, flaky pastry crust. The venison benefits from a long, slow simmer in red wine and currant jelly, resulting in meltingly tender meat that contrasts spectacularly with the crackling layers of tender pastry. The pie calls for just enough vegetables to satisfy your conscience but not so many to distract from the more indulgent aspects of the dish.–Angie Zoobkoff
- 4 1/2 to 6 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
- 1 3/4 pounds venison (preferably leg meat) cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch (4- to 5-cm) pieces
- 2/3 pound beef brisket cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch (4- to 5-cm) chunks
- 2 about 11 oz small red onions sliced or diced
- 1 large carrot halved lengthwise and sliced
- 4 ounces thickly sliced bacon cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) cubes
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon red currant jelly
- 2 1/2 cups red wine
- 12 ounces store-bought or homemade puff pastry (thawed, if frozen)
- 1 large egg beaten
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a Dutch oven or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/3 of the venison and brisket and cook, turning the pieces frequently with tongs, until they’re well browned on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes, adding an additional 1/2 tablespoon oil if the Dutch oven or skillet seems dry. Transfer the cooked meat to a plate. Repeat, adding more oil if necessary, for a total of 3 batches.
- Add 1 1/2 tablespoons oil to the pot in which you seared the venison (don’t wipe it out!), reduce the heat to medium, and add the onions and carrot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the bacon and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more. Add the garlic and cook just until softened, about 1 minute more.
- Generously season the vegetables and bacon in the pot with salt and pepper, then add the bay leaf and stir in the red currant jelly and the wine. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low, return the venison and beef to the pot, cover, and gently simmer until the meat is tender, about 2 hours. Remove from the heat and let cool. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC).
- Spoon the meat into a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) baking dish or a 8-by-10-inch (20-by-25-cm) baking dish or 4 individual baking dishes (each about 5 inches or 13 cm in diameter).
- If using 1 large baking dish, roll out the puff pastry to form a round or rectangle just large enough to fit over the dish. Gently place the pastry over the top of each baking dish so that it rests lightly on the meat. Make a small hole in the middle of the pastry to allow steam to escape and then lightly brush the pastry with the beaten egg. If using individual dishes, divide the puff pastry into 4 equal parts and roll out each part to form a round just large enough to fit over the top of your dish.
- Bake the pie or pies for 15 to 20 minutes, until the pastry starts to brown, then reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF (175ºC) and bake for 15 to 30 minutes more, until the pastry has risen and turned golden brown. Let cool slightly before serving.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This is a wonderfully flavorful venison pie with a flaky, golden crust. The wine gave the meat rich deep flavor with lots of sweet onion and bits of tender carrot. Cutting into the flaky crust with your fork makes this meal feel really special. Perfect dish for the meat lovers in the house. I used an 8-by-10-inch ceramic dish and store-bought puff pastry and only needed 1/2 the package. Although my husband liked it because it was mostly meat, I would add some more carrot next time. I had trouble finding the red currant jelly and I had to go to a few stores. I couldn’t really taste the jelly in the end so I think this could easily be replaced with any type of jelly.
Comfort food at its finest. This venison pie is rustic and elegant at once. Baked in individual portions, it’s a perfect make-ahead dinner party dish that’s sure to impress. The flavors are excellent, the textures work great, and of course it smells heavenly as it stews and then bakes. I used a 9-by-13-inch baking dish instead of 4 individual dishes.
We loved this venison pie recipe for its straightforwardness. It was aromatic and a simple cooking technique. I highly recommend using a very good wine as there’s no other liquid in the stew. I opted for a Gascon Malbec Reserva and was not disappointed. The wine stood up well against the meat.
We have a small butcher shop on the North shore of O’ahu that gets its venison from Lanai. It’s small Axis deer but very tender. I would have preferred that the venison pie had potatoes in it. My puff pastry was starting to brown at the 15 minute mark so I turned the oven down at that point and it finished 15 minutes later.
Originally published February 26, 2017