There are pies and there are special pies, but Venison Pie is so special. The lean meat belies the richness of the gravy in this pie. The recipe may look a little daunting but do not be put off, it is in fact straightforward.  


• 1-kilogram shoulder venison (or leg) cut into chunks
• 40 g dripping (or lard)
• 2 large onions (peeled and finely diced)
• 1 heaped tablespoon all-purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
• 1 teaspoon English mustard powder
• 4 medium carrots (peeled and diced)
• 500 millilitres dark ale
• 1 tablespoon brown sugar
• 3 tablespoons malt vinegar
• 1 to 2 pinches nutmeg
• 1 sprig thyme
• salt to taste
• pepper to taste
• 2 ginger biscuits, grated
• 250 g puff pastry
• 1 medium egg (beaten with 1 tablespoon milk)

Follow these steps

ONE Gather the ingredients.

TWO Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C/Gas 4.

THREE Heat the dripping in a large, lidded casserole on the hob, add the onions, fry until soft and browned. Turn off the heat, sift the flour and mustard powder into the pot. Stir until you have a thickish onion mix.

FOUR Add the meat and carrots to the onions. Add the ale, sugar, vinegar, nutmeg, thyme and pepper, and both ginger biscuits. Stir once more. 

FIVE Cover the contents of the pot with a circle of neatly cut greaseproof and put the lid on, then cook it in the preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours. When the time is up, add a tablespoon of salt.

SIX Transfer the contents of the casserole to a pie dish. Use a deep dish, as a wide shallow one will have the pie crust drooping in the middle, thus becoming soggy. Turn the temperature of the oven up to 400F/200C/Gas 6.

SEVEN Roll your pastry out to a thickness of about ¼”/7mm and lay it over the filling. Leave a slight overhang and crimp the edges with a fork. Paint the top of your pie evenly with the beaten egg and milk. This is the time to fashion any pastry motif appropriate to the occasion and place it on top. Prick a hole in the middle of the pastry.

EIGHT Cook for 40 to 45 minutes, until the pastry, is a rich hazelnut brown. If in doubt, cook a little longer, as the pale, soggy pastry is not as pleasing.

Sourced from chef Valentine Warner in his excellent book, What to Eat Now.