There was some venison in the freezer which needed something done to it. The children wanted Venison and Mushroom Pie. So, we did the following.
First, we took:
3 lbs Cubed venison
6 oz Bacon, chopped
12 oz Portobello mushrooms cubed
1 packet (1 ½ oz) dried Morel mushrooms
1 packet (1 ½ oz) dried Porcini mushrooms
2 cups Boiling water
2 cups Beef broth
3 medium Onions
One sprig each of Rosemary, Thyme, and Sage
1 tbsp crushed Juniper berries
1 tbsp Red Current jelly
2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
Flour and butter to thicken
Then, we obeyed these instructions (which I made up as we went along):
Empty both packets of dried mushrooms into a Pyrex jug. Fill the jug up to the 16 fl oz mark. Leave to one side.
Put the bacon into a frying pan and sweat over medium heat. We use localish bacon from these people. It renders forth grease, not white froth. This is good because the bacon grease will be needed. While this is happening, chop one of the onions up very finely and turn on the broiler in the oven.
When the bacon is cooked, remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon and put into a 5 l Le Creuset casserole or its equivalent. Add the beef broth, herbs, and juniper berries to the casserole and put over low heat.
Fry the chopped onion over a low heat until softened completely in the bacon grease. While that is happening put the cubed venison on a large broiler pan covered with foil (shiny side up) and broil until brown on all sides. It takes about three stirrings round to get all sides; but it doesn’t take all that long. Add the venison to the casserole. Turn off the broiler.
Take the rehydrated mushrooms out of the liquid and chop them up finely. Added them to the onions and sauté them for a bit. If the onions aren’t quite ready, raise the heat to medium to finish the mixture off. When they are all nice and soft, add the onions and mushrooms to the casserole.
Top up the Pyrex jug to 16 oz again with water and add to the casserole, together Worcestershire Sauce.
Turn the oven on to 150 C. The broiler will have heated the oven beyond that. When the temperature is at 300 C, cover the casserole and put it in the oven for 40 minutes.
Now is the time to chop the other onions up coarsely and slowly soften them in butter in a frying pan. Sauté the mushrooms in butter. This will, of course, be finished to coincide with the 40 minutes of casserole cooking. If not, it will leave enough time for a cup of tea to be made.
Remove the herbs from the casserole, and add the onions, mushrooms, and red current jelly. Stir to mix and melt in the jelly. Return to the oven and cook until all is tender: after another 30 minutes, start testing.
When the venison is ready, divide it into pie sized portions. Let them cool and freeze them.
On pie day, put a defrosted filling in a pan and bring slowly to a low boil. Make a ball of 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp flour. Melt this into the pan and let it boil until the gravy thickens. For a pie, one desires thick gravy so that the filling does not run a way across the plate and leave the pastry abandoned. If it takes more flour and butter, so be it. Check for salt and add pepper. (We haven’t had to add salt as the bacon, bacon grease, and Worcestershire Sauce have enough.) Spoon the filling into a pie dish.
My part over, Wife Person now makes short crust pastry and turns my common or garden stew into that magical thing called pie.