Venison pie

Make this comforting venison, chestnut mushroom and red wine pie with suet pastry for the crispiest topping. The filling is slow cooked until the venison becomes beautifully tender


  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1kg stewing venison, cut into chunks
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 juniper berries
  • 400ml red wine
  • 200ml chicken or vegetable stock, plus extra if needed
  • 200g chestnut mushrooms
  • 200g baby shallots or pearl onions, peeled
  • 2 tbsp redcurrant jelly
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 150g shredded vegetable suet
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • leaves picked to make 2 tbsp thyme
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 egg, beaten to glaze



    1. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in large pan over a medium-high heat and brown the meat in batches until golden brown. Remove to a plate or bowl using a slotted spoon. Heat a little of the remaining oil in the pan and fry the onion for 5 minutes until lightly golden. Stir the meat back in, along with any resting juices, then sprinkle over the flour and mix well. Add the bay, juniper and wine. Bring to a simmer and scrape the base of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Pour in the stock so the meat is covered, then cover with a lid and cook for 2 hours over a low heat until the meat is tender. Remove the lid for the final 10 minutes to thicken the sauce, if needed – it should be quite a thick gravy that coats the meat. Top up with more stock during cooking if needed.
    2. When the filling is ready, heat the rest of the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the mushrooms and shallots for 15 minutes, shaking the pan often, until the veg is golden and caramelised, and the shallots are tender throughout (make sure they’re soft as they won’t soften in the pie). Stir these through the pie filling along with the redcurrant jelly, balsamic and some seasoning. Cool. It will keep in the fridge for up to two days.
    3. Mix together all the pastry ingredients except the egg, add 150-175ml of ice-cold water and mix in with a cutlery knife until it comes together. Roll into a ball, wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
    4. Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Tip the pie filling into a 22cm lipped pie dish. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured worksurface until large enough to cover the dish. Brush some of the beaten egg around the rim, then top with the pastry, crimping the edges and trimming any excess. Brush with the rest of the beaten egg and bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden and crisp.