Venison Pie and more

At this time of year as we are winding up the preserving of summer and autumn fruits, it is time to think about using our preserves to enhance other dishes.  Sometimes they can be a feature, such as bottled fruit in a pie, and other times they can be a subtle yet dynamic addition to the flavour of other dishes.  Such is the case with the Venison Pie I have posted here today.  Of course you can substitute beef for the venison.

However, here on Eaglehawk Neck we have a place called Doo Town Game Meats that sells magnificent venison.  When you see the lush pastures on which the animals graze, it is small wonder that the meat is so good.   The quince jelly adds a subtle fruitiness to the gravy.

In the main recipe I have simply suggested using a sheet of ready rolled puff pastry.  However, you can make your own savoury shortcrust pastry and top the pie with this, even make a pie that has a double crust – top and botttom.  It is very simple to do, so I’ve given the recipe for that also, at the end of the pie recipe.  You may have some left over, in which case you can freeze the est for later use.  It will even keep well in the fridge for 3 days.  You can use it to make little jam tarts for instance, which is a good way to use some of the wonderful summer jams.

Venison Pie

 Serves 4 to 6

 1 tablespoon olive oil

1kg diced venison

2 onions, diced

½ cup red wine

½ cup tomato sauce

2 teaspoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons quince jelly

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup beef or chicken stock

2 teaspoons cornflour mixed to a paste with 2 tablespoons cold water

1 sheet ready rolled puff pastry

 Heat the oil over high heat and then sauté the meat until well coloured.  Add the onions and sauté two minutes more, then and the rest of the ingredients (except the cornflour paste).  Bring to the boil and simmer until the meat is tender – this may take 3 hours, depending on the cut of meat.  Check from time to time of the liquid is getting low and add more stock or water if necessary.  When the meat is tender, thicken the mixture if necessary with some or all of the cornflour paste.

 Pour into a casserole dish and top with the thawed pastry sheet.  Prick in several places, then bake for 20 minutes until the pastry is puffed and golden.

Savoury Shortcrust Pastry

 Makes 350g, approximately

 180g plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

90g butter

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons cold water, approximately

 Place the flour, baking powder, salt and butter in a food processor and process until if resembles breadcrumbs.  Turn out into a bowl and mix with the lemon juice and enough water to bring it together into a soft dough (do this with a metal spoon).  Wrap in cling film and place in fridge for at least an hour before rolling out on a lightly floured surface (dust top of dough lightly with flour also).

 To make a double crust pie, cut off two thirds and roll that first to fit your pie dish (about 20cm).  Pour cool filling into the middle (sweet or savoury), dampen the edges of the rim of the pastry.  Roll out the other piece to fit the top.  Put in place and crimp the edges together with your fingers.

 To get a nice brown finish, glaze with a little beaten egg mixed with a very little cold water.  Prick the pie in several places before baking for 20 to 30 minutes until golden.

Heat oven to 190°C.  Grease a 20cm round pie dish.

 To make a double crust pie, cut off two thirds and roll that first to fit your pie dish (about 20cm).  Pour cool filling into the middle (sweet or savoury), dampen the edges of the rim of the pastry.  Roll out the other piece to fit the top.  Put in place and crimp the edges together with your fingers.

 To get a nice brown finish, glaze with a little beaten egg mixed with a very little cold water.  Prick the pie in several places before baking for 20 to 30 minutes until golden.

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