Venison Shepherd’s Pie Recipe
When I grew up in New Zealand, Shepherd’s Pie was often on the menu. It was a good way to use up leftover roasts of beef and lamb. My mother would grind up the meat, add leftover gravy, top with mashed potato and bake it until crisp. I think we used to put tomato sauce (aka ketchup) on it. The following recipe is an overhauled version of an old favorite; I have added a crispy base and layered baked potato instead of mashed. Hunting season is just around the corner and the richness of venison beats my mother’s leftover roasts (sorry Mum).
- 2 Tbsp. canola oil
- 1 Medium onion chopped
- ½ cup finely chopped celery stalk
- 2 Cloves garlic pressed
- 1 Tsp. paprika
- ½ Tsp. sea salt
- ½ Tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 pound ground venison
- 2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
- ¼ cup beef or chicken stock
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1/2 cup chopped green zucchini squash (optional)
- ½ cup chopped cherry tomatoes halved
- 2 Large baking potatoes, such as Russet, cleaned and dried
- Phyllo dough sheets (available in the frozen section)
- Canola cooking spray
- ¾ cup grated hard cheese
- In a heavy pan heat the canola oil; add the first 6 ingredients, sauté for 5 minutes on medium heat.
- Turn up the heat slightly and add the ground venison, sprinkle the flour over the venison and sauté, gently stirring the mixture as it cooks.
- When the venison is slightly browned, lower back to a medium heat and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add stock and soy sauce, stir in the zucchini and continue to sauté on low heat for 3 minutes and then remove from the heat.
- Stir in the tomatoes and set aside at room temperature (this can be made ahead and refrigerated until the next stage of the recipe).
- Place the potatoes in the microwave until cooked but firm, remove and set aside to cool. Slice the potatoes about 1/2 inch thick.
- Take an 8-inch pie or lasagna pan and spray the entire inside with cooking oil. Line the pan with four layers of Phyllo taking it up to the top edge. Give a light cooking oil spray between each layer. If you haven’t worked with Phyllo before, it’s very forgiving and don’t worry if it tears, just press it together with a little oil. You wont notice it after its cooked.
- Once the pan is lined, add the venison mixture, then cover the top with the sliced potato. Sprinkle with your favorite cheese, I like to use a sharp, aged cheddar.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Bake about 20 minutes or until the Phyllo is a light golden color and the cheese is melted.
- Place the dish under the broiler at the end to crisp the potato and cheese topping slightly.