This is going to sound weird coming from a gal that is about to post a Venison Shepherd’s Pie recipe but hear me out, okay?! I’m not entirely sure how there was a point in my life I considered myself a bit of a “picky” eater. Probably because I was the only person, like ever, that still, to this day, despises Watermelon. I know, I know. There’s a few other things, like Mustard and Coconut, that I used to hate as a kid but came to my senses about as I got older. Now, I can proudly say that the list of things my taste buds don’t jive with is not really a list at all. Just don’t be giving me any Avocados, Root Beer or Anchovies any time soon. Unless of course the anchovies are in Pasta Sarde form aka the only way I’ll eat ’em and like, the best pasta EVVVVA.
Coming from the gal who’s eaten Guineafowl in Africa, Guinea Pig and Crocodile in Peru, Alpaca in Bolivia and Scorpion on a stick in Thailand, I’m pretty game to try game (no pun intended). I do get a little bit of a weird sensation when I know what I’m eating, though. And years later, it’ll still be a hard NO for me when being offered ‘Suri’ in the Peruvian Jungle. It’s just something about those damn things I can’t even think about eating. Sorry, not sorry.
SO, What’s the Deal with Venison, anyway?!
While I’ve eaten Venison before, I’ve never actually cooked with it. So I mean, being on the West Coast and all, is there a better time than now to give this thing a go? It is kinda hard to get around here and I’ve been told you have to have a special license to sell it. You find it in some butcher shops and not in others. So, when we were fortunate enough to be the grateful recipients of a fresh 2 pounds (those West Coast gifts I tell ya…), I could not wait to have at ‘er! For my first time, I wanted something classic and easy peasy. A dish that really makes the venison shine while balancing out familiar flavours in the same bite. Venison Shepherd’s Pie, it is. Or Cottage Pie. Or whatever-you-wanna-call-it (utterly delicious) Venison Pie.
VENISON SHEPHERD’S PIECourse: Meaty MainsCuisine: Canadian, Comfort FoodDifficulty: Easy
Shepherd’s Pie? Cottage Pie? GROUND VENISON PIE! Either name, it tastes the same….and sure to satisfy the dinner game! (someone plz cut me off)
What You’ll Need
2 lbs Ground Venison
2 cups Beef Broth
1.5 cups Frozen Mixed Veggies*
1/2 cup Mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
5 medium Potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 Green Onions, sliced
1 medium Onion, diced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1/4 cup White Wine (optional – but for good measure)
1/2 cup Mozzarella or Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
1/2 tsp Dry Mustard Powder
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/4 tsp White Pepper
1.5 Tbsp Salt, more to taste
1/2 Tbsp Black Pepper, more to taste
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place the potatoes in a large stock pot and cover with cold water. Add 1 Tbsp of salt and bring to a boil. Cook until soft and can easily be pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes. Drain. Mash. Add 2 tbsp fresh parsley, the green onions and some salt and pepper. Stir and set aside.
- In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. Add the onions and cook until beginning to become translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occationally, until browned and mostly cooked through. Add the garlic and stir until fregrant, an additional minute. Move to a bowl or a plate and set aside.
- To the same skillet, add the ground venison (you may need to add an extra splash of oil). Brown the meat, mixing it up every few minutes. Add all the spices and worcestershire and give it a good stir until well combined.
- Add the sautéed veggies back into the skillet and mix until combined.
- Add the frozen veggies to the skillet and mix until combined.
- Make a well in the center. Add the tomato paste, broth and wine. Stir until combined.
- Cook on medium low for 10-15 minutes until the mixture has thickened a bit and some of the liquid evaporated.
- To Assemble
- Grease a 9×13 baking dish. Add the venison + veggie mixture and spread it out evenly in the dish. Top with the mashed potatoes and shredded cheese.
- Bake for 15 minutes, uncovered and broil an additional 5. Top with extra cracked pepper and chopped parsley.
- I used the pre-mixed frozen carrots, corn, beans and peas