Venison Shepherd’s Pie
A recipe featured in the Outdoor News Taste of the Wild
Recipe by Ryan Lisson
There’s nothing quite like a big helping of Shepherd’s pie to warm you up and lift your spirits during the long winter. It’s absolute comfort food, and consistently makes an appearance on our dinner table. Technically, a true Shepherd’s pie is supposed to contain lamb meat, while cottage pie generally uses another meat (e.g., beef). But venison is very lean and similar to lamb in several ways, so I’m stealing the name.
The nice thing about this recipe is that you can tweak the ingredients based on your family’s preferences, and it turns out great with nearly any combination (we’ve tried many). You can add or subtract vegetables, mix beef and venison together, and use real mashed potatoes or instant versions – it all works. Served with some good bread on the side, enjoy tucking into this hearty winter meal.
Yield: 6 servings
1 pound ground venison
2 large potatoes, cubed (instant potatoes work well too)
1 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1 cup carrots, roughly diced
½ cup frozen corn
½ cup frozen peas
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour or cornstarch
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons milk
½ teaspoon each black pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
- If using real potatoes, clean, peel, cube, and add to a pot. Cover them with half an inch of water. Bring to a boil, and simmer for about 15 minutes (or until tender). Mash them with 2 tablespoons of milk and 1 tablespoon of butter. Alternatively, prepare about 3 cups worth of instant potatoes.
- Heat 4 tablespoons of butter in a skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add carrots and onions, and sauté for about 5 minutes.
- Add the venison to the pan and cook until no longer pink/red.
- Add garlic, salt, and pepper, and sauté for about a minute.
- Add corn, peas, Worcestershire sauce, and about half of the beef broth. Simmer for roughly 10 minutes. Add more broth periodically to keep it from drying out (and scrape the brown bits on the bottom of the pan). If you prefer more of a gravy base, whisk 2 tablespoons of flour or cornstarch into the broth before adding to the pan.
- While the venison/vegetable mixture is simmering, preheat oven to 400°F.
- Spread the venison/vegetable mixture evenly into an 8”x8” pan. Smooth the mashed potatoes over the top. Cook for 25-30 minutes.
About the Chef: Ryan is a biologist, hunting mentor, and outdoors writer from Saint Paul, Minnesota. He enjoys spending time outside with his wife and two kids, and preparing different wild game recipes. He is also the founder of zerotohunt.com, a website to mentor and coach new adult hunters so they can experience the outdoors too.