Cottage pie is made with beef. Shepherd’s pie is made with mutton (“Lamb’s for sellin’, no’ for eatin’.”). This is gamekeeper’s pie and it is made with game, mixed game. Today, I am using venison and turkey. I should have used any mixture of venison, turkey, grouse, pheasant, chukar/partridge, rabbit, hare, duck and goose were it not for the fact that venison and turkey are all I have at present. The point is to use a mix of game meats which wouldn’t be enough to feed the family on their own.
The turkey meat is not from a wild bird but from a domestic creature which ranged over-freely and had to be treated like a wild turkey. I am using leg meat which has undergone a tenderising process. The legs were browned under the broiler/grill, used for stock/broth, then the cooled, deboned meat was ground/minced. What the residual meat lacks in nutritional value, it makes up for in chewability. In this recipe, it is used to make the venison go further: a bulker for carnivores.
1 lb Ground Venison
1 ½ Cups Ground Turkey
2 Medium Onions
2 Stalks of Celery
2 Good Sized Carrots
2 oz Mushrooms
2 Cups Beef Stock
1 tsp Dried Thyme
1 Bay Leaf
1 tbsp HP Sauce
Salt and Pepper
Red Currant Jelly
Peel and coarsely chop the parsnips. They are going to be steamed until they are mashable; and the parsnip flavoured, bay leaf infused, water will be used in the stew.
While the parsnips are steaming, chop up the onions, celery, carrots, and mushrooms and fry them in some olive oil. I roughly cut them up with a knife and then finish them off with the Pampered Chef chopper. Years ago, we picked up a scoop thing. It has Graham Kerr’s name on it, so that lets you know how long ago it was. It is a very simple, but useful tool.
While the vegetables are softening in the olive oil, brown the venison in another pan. Then add the venison and turkey to the softened vegetables, pour in the beef stock, the HP sauce, thyme, bay leaf from the parsnip water, and as much parsnip water as it takes to bring the fluid up to the correct level. Cover and simmer for about an hour.
About half way into that hour, boil some potatoes and, when they are ready to mash, add the parsnips, and butter; then mash them together. I loathe sloppy mashed potatoes at any time. They are stomach turning on a pie. Do not add milk. If in doubt, do nothing, or increase the amount of butter.
Somewhere in about here, put the oven on at 200C/400F.
At the end of the hour, remove the bay leaf, and add a teaspoonful of red currant jelly to the stew. That is, as much jelly as comes out of the jar on a teaspoon. If ’twere measured, ’twould measure nearer a level tablespoon. Melt the jelly into the stew and adjust the salt and pepper levels.
Take the stew off the heat.
In a suitable dish, put in as much of the game mixture as you think that your family will eat, then add another ladleful. Cover it with tablespoon sized dollops of mash. Start round the edge, spiraling into the centre, then smooth over with the back of a spoon.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the temperature of the components when the pie is built.
Tonight, there was enough game mixture left over to make another meal. The plan is to have the rest with dumplings for lunch tomorrow.