A flaky pie crust that melts in your mouth could only be better if combined with wild game and turned it into a meat pie. If you’ve ever been to New Zealand, you’ll know you can buy fresh meat pies in every small town on the map. Gas stations and bakeries produce several varieties of meat pies that leave you yearning for one after you get home. When I hunted with Glen Dene Hunting on New Zealand’s South Island, the traditional steak and mushroom pies found on our travels quickly became one of my favorites. Once home, I had to recreate the tasty pastry using elk.
After several attempts, I’ve settled on a recipe that takes me back to the green hills of the South Pacific. You can make a large pie to feed the whole family, or individual pies like you’d purchase when traveling New Zealand, as a quick takeout.
The pastry is easy to make following the directions on most lard or shortening containers. There are only a couple of ingredients, and you can be successful on your first attempt at making the flaky pastry. I prefer the homemade, but you can purchase frozen pastry shells that make the job quick and easy.
Meat pies are awesome for hunting camp and can be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer until needed.
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 2 tablespoons oil
• 1 onion, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, crushed
• 1 cup flour
• 2 lbs. venison shoulder or round roast, cut into ½ -inch pieces
• 2 cups beef stock
• 1 tablespoon fresh herbs—tarragon, sage, chives, thyme or rosemary
• ½ cup red wine
• 8 large mushrooms, sliced
• 1 tablespoon flour, mixed with 1 tablespoon melted butter for the thickening agent
• 2 frozen deep-dish pie shells
• 1 egg, for glazing
1. Heat half the butter and oil in a Camp Chef cast iron skillet and fry the onions and garlic for 5 minutes until softened and translucent.
2. Take the cubed meat, add it to a large zipper bag with the flour, and shake to coat the meat on all sides.
3. Heat the remaining butter and oil in a cast iron skillet and brown the meat. Do not overcrowd the pan; cook the meat in batches if required.
4. Add the onions to the meat in a large pan. De-glaze the skillet with half the stock, and pour over meat and onions.
5. Add the remaining stock to the meat along with the herbs, red wine and mushrooms. Simmer gently on low heat for 1 hour with the lid off.
6. Melt the butter and stir in the flour to create a roux. Remove a ¼ cup of the liquid from the simmering meat and add to the roux. Heat and stir until simmering, then add it back to the pot with the meat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
7. Cool the mixture to room temperature to prepare it for the pie shells.
8. Line a 12-inch pie plate with pastry and trim the edges. Pour the meat mixture into the pie shell and add a top layer of pastry, then press the edges together. This recipe makes enough filling for a deep-dish pie. Make a few slits in the top pastry layer with a knife to release steam during baking. Brush the top of the pastry with a beaten egg. Place into the oven at 400°F for 45 minutes, allowing the pastry to rise and turn golden brown. Remove and serve hot.
For more delicious wild-game recipes, click here.