Venison Pie with Port and Prunes

If venison is not available you can use beef (lean brisket). Do make the filling the day before, it improves with keeping. A good quality bought puff pastry will save time if that is a problem, but first prize remains our Sour Cream Pastry.

YOU WILL NEED

  • 1 kg shoulder or leg of venison cut into 3 cm x 3 cm blocks
  • 200 g lamb shank (optional)
  • 125 g prunes, pipped
  • 1 cup (250 ml) ruby port
  • 125 g streaky bacon
  • canola oil
  • 2 T (30 ml) Ina Paarman's White Sauce Powder
  • 1 T (15 ml) Ina Paarman's Meat Spice
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • ½ t (2,5 ml) Ina Paarman’s Green Onion Seasoning
  • 2 carrots, sliced into rings
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced into slivers
  • 2 cups (500 ml) water
  • 2 x 25 g of Ina Paarman's Liquid Beef Stock
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • 400 g Sour Cream Pastry or bought puff pastry
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
Method

Leave the meat out of the fridge to come to room temperature.

Soak the prunes in the port. Leave on one side.

Cut the bacon across the rashers into smaller pieces. Crisp them in about 2 T of oil using a large ovenproof cast iron pot. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon but retain the oil in the pan.

Toss the cubed meat with the White Sauce Powder and brown in three batches in the oil. You may have to add a little more oil after each batch. Remove each batch of browned meat with a slotted spoon and keep on one side. Season with Meat Spice after browning. Adjust the oven shelf to one below the middle and pre-heat the oven to 150°C.

Brown the onions pre-seasoned with Green Onion Seasoning with a little more oil. Add the carrots, bay leaves and garlic. Stir through for 1 minute.

Add the water and Liquid Beef Stock. Bring to the boil. Add the meat. Cover the pot with a lid.

Bake for 2½ – 3 hours until the meat is fork tender. Spoon the meat out with a slotted spoon. Put the pot back on the stove and strain the port into the sauce. Boil sauce very fast, without a lid, until reduced by half. Return meat to the sauce.

Add the prunes and bacon. Taste for seasoning, add balsamic vinegar to balance the sweetness of the port. Leave the filling to cool down completely.

Dish the filling into a 30 cm pie dish with a little lip all round. Position an upside down egg cup in the middle to support the pastry.

Cover the pie with pastry and scallop the edges (see picture).

All this can be done the day before – refrigerate the pie or it can be frozen for a month.

Adjust the oven to one slot below the middle position. Preheat to 200°C.

Beat the egg with a pinch of salt. Brush the egg over the pastry.

Bake for ± 35 minutes until well browned.

Note: A very cold pie will require a longer baking time, ± 50 minutes. Cover the pie crust with baking paper after 35 minutes to avoid over browning.

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