Thursday, November 19, 2009

Venison Shepherd's Pie

A little break for the moment in Harvest Month. I've got photos of one HM meal, but not the recipe, and I've got the recipe for the other, but the photos aren't ready yet. So, in the meantime here is a non-harvest meal that came of my kitchen recently. Our friend Carrie was incredibly kind enough to deliver to us 2 pounds of ground venison, that she shot herself, when she came to our housewarming party. I decided I would use each pound individually so I could try more than one meal. I've already decided to make a chili with one pound, but first I decided to use a pound to try out a shepherd's pie. I couldn't quite settle on a recipe, so I used ideas from several different Martha Stewart/EF ones to come up with something. This meal was pretty good, but I'm not convinced that thyme was the right choice for the venison. We'll see how the chili goes when I get a chance to make it.

Venison Shepherd's Pie
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart/Everyday Food; Serves 4-6

2 baking potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound ground venison
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 box (10 ounces) frozen mixed vegetables (no need to thaw)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/2 cup shredded sharp white cheddar

  • Preheat oven to 425. Place potatoes in a large saucepan, and cover by 1 inch with salted water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Heat a large (5-quart) heavy pot or Dutch oven over high. Cook venison, breaking up meat with a spoon, until no longer pink, 4 to 5 minutes. Add onion and garlic; cook until softened, about 4 minutes.
  • Add thyme, ketchup, and flour; stir until combined. Add 1/2 cup water and vegetables. Cook until vegetables are warmed through and liquid has thickened, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Drain potatoes; return to pan. Cook over medium, stirring, until liquid has evaporated and a thin film covers bottom of pan, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat; add milk and butter. Mash until smooth; season with salt and pepper.
  • Spoon beef mixture into a 2-quart baking dish. Spread potatoes evenly over beef; using a fork, decorate potatoes with lines and peaks; sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese. Place dish on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until potatoes are lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Serve.
My notes: I unfortunately didn't have an onion when I made this recipe. I don't know how I overlooked that when making my grocery list, but oh well. I would definitely recommend using one though. Next time I think I'll forget the idea of cheese on the top, it seemed to prevent my top from browning much. Also, I didn't peel my potatoes. Call me crazy, but I love potato peel and it good for you, so I just mash it in with the potatoes. Thanks for the venison Carrie!

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