Spiced Venison Cottage Pie with Colcannon Mash

By Saturday, December 03, 2016

Venison is a fantastic meat to use as an alternative to beef in a cottage pie. It's incredibly good for you as it's a very lean red meat that's packed full of protein and low in cholesterol. Venison has a subtle gamey flavour that works brilliantly in this rich pie, creating a beautifully indulgent and flavourful winter dish. 

Serves 4 - 6 

You will need:

1 kg venison haunch, diced
2 carrots, diced
250g chestnut mushrooms, diced
1 red onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 bay leaves
4 sprigs of thyme
500ml beef stock
500ml good red wine (I usually use Rioja or Shiraz)
3 tsp five spice
1/2 tsp fresh nutmeg, grated
2 tbsp flour
4 tbsp olive oil
salt + pepper

 1.5 kg maris piper potatoes, skins on and evenly diced
1/2 savoy cabbage, finely sliced
100g mature cheddar, grated
50g butter
1 egg, beaten
1.5 tsp rock salt, 1 tsp pepper

Begin by preheating the oven to 180 degrees. In a large heavy based saucepan,  heat two tablespoons of oil over a medium heat. Add in the onion, garlic and carrots and cook for 5 minutes until softened. Add in the mushrooms, 5 spice, nutmeg and thyme and fry for a further 2-3 minutes, until the mushrooms are starting to soften. Remove everything from the pan and leave to one side. 

In the meantime, place the venison pieces in a mixing bowl with the flour and plenty of salt and pepper. Coat the pieces evenly with the flour mixture, then fry in two batches until each side is nice and crispy. Add in the stock and wine and bring to the boil to deglaze the pan (run your mixing spoon over the base of the pan to remove all of the residue from frying the venison). 

Add the onion and mushroom mixture back into the pan and add in the bay leaves. Bring to the boil then cover with a lid and place in the oven. Bake for 2 1/2 - 3 hours until the venison is really tender and falling apart. Remove from the oven and simmer on your hob for 15-20 minutes until the sauce is nicely reduced and thick. 

Turn the oven up to 200 degrees. Whilst the sauce is reducing, boil the potatoes until really tender. In the meantime, steam the cabbage for 2-3 minutes until just cooked through. Drain both, leaving the cabbage to one side and placing the potatoes back into the saucepan they cooked in. Then, add in the butter and mustard and mash well until the mixture starts to become smooth. Finally, stir through the cheddar, cabbage, egg, salt and pepper until really smooth. 

Pour the venison filling into a large pie dish and top with the mash. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the mash is deliciously golden and the sauce is thick and bubbling. Serve and enjoy! 

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