Venison Cottage Pie

Never underestimate the allure of the humble cottage pie, this gratifying dish is a winner any day of the week.

Ingredients

1000g Venison Mince

2 Brown onions, medium diced

2 Carrots, peeled and medium diced

2 sticks Celery, medium diced

5 Garlic cloves, chopped

150ml + 100ml Wine

25g Butter

100g + 100g Vegetable oil

50g Tomato paste

4 Thyme sprigs

600g Canned tomato

800g Chicken stock

80g Worcestershire sauce

Fish sauce to taste

1200g (1000g peeled) Potatoes

100g + 100g Milk for mash and finishing

80g Cream

Salt

How to make it

  1. Heat a medium sized pot, and add 100g oil. Heat oil till just before smoking point and add mince.

    Cook on high heat to seal, mixing constantly. Use the back of your mixing spoon to break up the mince so it does not clump together. Season with salt, then deglaze with 150ml wine. Cook for two minutes, then pour contents of pot through a strainer. Reserve meat and drain off excess liquid and discard.
  2. Place pot back on the stove on medium heat, add remaining 100g of oil, then cook brown onion, carrot, and celery. Add thyme, and sweat on a low to medium heat until the onion turns translucent.
  3. Add tomato paste, and caramelise for five minutes on a low heat, stirring to prevent the mix from burning. Deglaze with remaining 100ml of wine, and cook for two minutes.
  4. Add chopped tomato and chicken stock. Cook with a lid on for two hours on a low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent the sauce from sticking and burning.
  5. Cook for a further hour lid off. The sauce should be reduced, but still with a saucy consistency. Add milk, then season with salt, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and a touch of fish sauce.
  6. Peel and quarter potatoes. Add to a medium sized pot, cover with enough water so that the potatoes are completely submerged, season liberally with salt and bring to the boil. Once the water has boiled, turn down to a low simmer and cook potatoes till they are soft, until a skewer easily passes through. This should take approximately 20-25 minutes.
  7. Strain, allow the potatoes to steam off for two minutes, then mash them till they are smooth and no longer clumpy.
  8. Add butter, mash till incorporated, then add milk and cream till combined and homogenous. Season with salt, then allow to cool slightly.
  9. Preheat oven to 200C, fan forced.
  10. Fill the bottom of a 15cm diameter baking dish with the meat mixture about one inch high, then spread the potato mash atop.
  11. Use a fork to rough up the surface of the potato to create more surface area for caramelisation.
  12. Cook for 10-15 minutes until the surface of the pie is golden brown. Remove and season with freshly cracked black pepper.
  13. Serve alongside a fresh garden salad and a touch more Worcestershire sauce or your favourite saucy condiment!

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