Celebrate autumn and a successful hunt with a traditional meat pie
Fall is my favorite time of year. In addition to providing the unfolding of a collection of successive hunting seasons, the weather is cool enough for long sleeves and a cap, and the grass no longer needs cutting. It’s also the time to turn the oven on or build a roaring fire and bake something delicious, like a meat pie.
The British have mastered the art of the meat pie, and the following recipe is one modeled on that idea with a cheater top crust. (That only simplifies an otherwise intimidating process.)
The recipe features a Porter from our local brewery. Porter goes perfectly with venison pie. My strong recommendation is to look for something suitable from a brewer in your own neighborhood. A porter, coffee stout, Russian Imperial stout or a strong dark Scottish ale would suit this recipe well. This pie was made a couple of days after butchering the first deer of the (early) season. I would encourage you to do the same with some tough cuts of this year’s harvest. Elk, deer, moose, bear or antelope would all yield suitable meat for a similar pie.
VENISON PORTER PIE (Serves 2)
Tools and Equipment
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Small Dutch oven
- Large skillet
- Cutting board
- Chef’s knife
- Paring knife
- Oven and stovetop
- Large cast iron or rolled steel skillet
- 1 to 5 pounds of (boneless) venison shoulder, cubed
- 1 teaspoon each coarse salt and pepper
- 90 grams of bacon ends diced, or 3 pieces of side bacon chopped
- 2 to 3 shallots, peeled and diced
- 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 5 large mushrooms, quartered
- 1 tablespoon Vietnamese fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 12 ounce can of Porter or Coffee stout
- Measure venison and dice, sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss, and let mixture rest at room temperature while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Preheat the oven to 325º
- Measure, portion and prepare the other
- Heat a large skillet on medium heat and add the chopped Stir every minute until the fat renders and the bacon starts to caramelize.
- Turn the heat to high and add the venison, being careful to keep the meat in one layer, preferably with some space between the pieces of What you want here is a fast brown sear, not a steam or boil.
- As soon as the venison is well-browned add the garlic, shallots, carrots and Reduce the heat to medium and stir well, continuing to cook until the vegetables start to color.
- Sprinkle the works with flour and stir well to incorporate the flour.
- As soon as the flour is absorbed and cooked for a minute, carefully add the porter (it may bubble up), fish sauce, honey and
- Stir well and bring to a simmer then turn off the