The steel grey light of a damp November day gives way to cold fat drops splatting against the windows as the wind drives the rain forward. The fire’s lit, the intermittent crackles forming a percussion with the rain. It’s time for comfort food. Game is perfect when the weather gets cold, but you don’t always want the bones and bits that go with a pheasant or a quail. Venison mince is the perfect ingredient for a meal eaten curled up on the sofa. Rich in flavour and a creaminess from the oats, it can be eaten with just a fork or a spoon and if you make a cottage pie it has all your veg too! Well nearly. What’s your favourite dish to warm you on a cold autumn day?
Venison Cottage Pie With Crispy topped Spring Onion Mash
- 2 tablespoon Olive oil
- 3 Shallots
- 3 clove Garlic
- 3 Carrots
- 440 g Venison mince
- 200 ml Red wine
- ½ Gem Squash
- 250 ml chicken or vegetable stock
- 3 sprig Fresh thyme, stalks removed
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1½ tablespoon Porridge oats
- 120 g Frozen peas
- 1 kg King Edwards Potatoes
- 120 g Butter
- 125 ml Double cream
- 5 Spring onions
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and cook the shallots for 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until the shallots are transparent, a further 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, put the potatoes in a pan of cold salted water and bring to the boil. reduce the heat slightly and cook for about 12 - 15 minutes until soft.
- Add the finely diced carrots to the shallots and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Add the mince and break up in the pan to ensure the mince doesn't cook in clumps. Cook until the mince is just browning then turn up the heat and add the wine. Cook for 5 minutes on a high heat stirring and then reduce the heat to medium and add the remainder of the carrots and the squash.
- Add the stock, thyme leaves and bay leaf and stir thoroughly, then add the oats and stir until the mixture starts to thicken, the mince should have a thickened sauce but still be loose. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Once the potatoes are cooked mash with a fork, a potato masher or put through a ricer. Beat in the butter and then add the cream, continue to beat until the mash is creamy and smooth. Stir in the spring onions, season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the peas to the mince mixture and pour into an oven proof dish. Then either 'blob' the mash over the top or put in a piping bag and pipe over the mince. Ensure you have rough edges on the mash as this is what will catch in the cooking, giving you a crunchier top. Use a fork to rough up the mash if necessary. At this point you can place in the fridge, covered for 2-3 days before baking in the oven.
- To finish off baked in the oven. Preheat the oven 190c, 170c fan, gas mark 5, 375f for 25-30 minutes until golden brown on the top.
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