Venison and Chestnut Pie

Author
Yield 4 - Servings

This pie makes the most of readily available stewing venison. Serve it on a cold winters night with mashed potatoes and a mix of colourful vegetables. It is a great dish to freeze with or without the pastry top.

Ingredients: 
For the pie
675g Venison, cubed
1tbsp seasoned flour
2 - 3 tbsp sunflower oil
85g smoked bacon lardons
1 onion, chopped
200mls red wine
200mls brown beef or chicken stock
30g butter
100g button onions, peeled but kept whole
100g button mushrooms, wiped clean. cut into quarters if large
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 bayleaf
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp cranberry jelly
salt and freshly ground black pepper
55g fresh or frozen cranberries (optional)
15g caster sugar (optional)
120g vacuum packed peeled chestnuts
350g puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
Instructions: 
  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/Fan oven 150C/gas mark 3. Toss the meat in the seasoned flour.
  2. Heat half the oil in a heavy frying pan and brown the venison cubes a few at a time. Place them in a casserole. If the bottom of the pan becomes brown or dry deglaze with some of the stock and add to the browned venison. Heat more oil and continue browning the meat.
  3. When all the meat has been browned deglaze the pan again and add more oil. Add the chopped onions and bacon lardons to the pan and cook over a low heat until the fat runs from the bacon and the onions soften. Add to the casserole.  Add the red wine and bring to the boil. Reduce by half. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Pour over the meat.
  4. Melt the butter in the pan and add the button onions and mushrooms. Brown over a medium heat for 5 minutes, add the garlic and cook for a minute and add to the casserole with the bayleaf, parsley and cranberry jelly. Season with salt and pepper and cover. Place in the preheated oven and cook for approximately 1 ½ - 2 hours or until the venison is tender.
  5. Meanwhile (if using) cook the cranberries briefly with the sugar and 2 – 3 tablespoons of water until just soft but not crushed.
  6. Once the venison is cooked strain the sauce off the meat and put the sauce into a pan to reduce until a good flavour and texture is achieved , adding extra seasoning only if needed. Allow the meat and sauce to cool and add the cranberries and chestnuts.
  7. Preheat the oven to 200C/ fan 180C/ Gas mark 6. Place the cooled venison into a pie dish and place a pie funnel in the centre if necessary.
  8. Roll the puff pastry out to the thickness of a £1 coin. Trim off an outer strip of pastry. Brush the edge of the pie dish with water and place the strip of pastry around the edge. Brush the pastry strip and lay the rest of the pastry on top of the pie dish. Trim the edges carefully, knock up and crimp. Chill the pie in the refrigerator for 10 – 20 minutes or longer. Brush the pastry carefully with egg wash and place in the oven to cook for 20 minutes. Once the pastry is golden brown, turn the oven down to 170C/Fan oven 150C/Gas mark 3 and cook for a further 20 minutes to ensure the meat is piping hot.