Venison humble pie

Venison humble pie

Ben's Meat Bible
Benito Martin


Quantity Ingredient
300g ready-made shortcrust pastry, (ideally, ready-rolled)
1 egg, beaten
150g stilton or other strong, semi-soft blue cheese

Venison filling

Quantity Ingredient
500ml Beer brine
1kg venison leg, cut into chunks
75g plain flour, plus extra to dust
2 tablespoons salted butter
olive oil, for frying
12 shallots, peeled and left whole
2 onions, diced
3 carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
2 celeriac, diced, (optional)
1 litre Beef or veal stock
1 bay leaf
1/2 bunch thyme sprigs
10 black peppercorns


  1. One day before cooking, make the beer brine. Place the venison in a large bowl and cover with the brine. Transfer to the refrigerator to marinate for 24 hours.
  2. The next day, strain the brine into a bowl and reserve for later.
  3. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  4. Lightly dredge the venison in the flour. Heat the butter and a splash of oil in a large flameproof casserole dish. Working in batches, brown the venison all over for 10 minutes over medium heat. Add another dash of oil, along with the whole shallots and diced vegetables, and fry for another 5 minutes, until the vegetables are beginning to colour. Pour in the reserved beer brine and top up with stock to ensure that all of the meat is submerged in liquid. Add the bay leaf, thyme sprigs and peppercorns, then cover with the lid and braise in the oven for 2–3 hours. The venison should be very soft and the liquid should be similar in consistency to thick gravy. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool while you prepare the pie.
  5. Increase the oven temperature to 200°C.
  6. Dust a clean work surface with flour and, if necessary, roll out a sheet of pastry so that it is a little larger than your pie dish. Trim roughly to the size and shape of the pie dish, leaving a 1 cm overhang, and gently press into the dish. Chill the pastry in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator, line with baking paper and fill with pastry weights, uncooked rice or dried beans. Blind bake in the oven for 12–15 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, if necessary, roll out the remaining pastry dough and trim it to the size of the pie dish (this will be the pie lid).
  8. Spoon the venison mixture into the pie casing. Brush the edge of the pastry lid with egg, then lay it, egg side down, over the pie filling, pinching the edges together to seal. Use a sharp knife to score a couple of lines in the lid to allow steam to escape while the pie is baking. Brush the top liberally with the remaining egg wash and bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes, or until light golden brown. Remove from the oven and crumble the Stilton over the top of the pie. Place the pie on a baking tray to catch any drips and return to the oven for a further 7–10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and golden.
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