Deer stalker pie

  • medium
  • Makes 24 pies, big enough for large canapés or small starters
  • 2 hours
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For such a small dish, this venison pie recipe packs a seriously flavourful punch. Slow-braised pulled venison, an onion purée and rich bone marrow breadcrumbs are layered inside a cheesy pastry case – the perfect way to kick off a dinner party.

First published in 2020




Braised venison

Bone marrow crumb

Onion purée

Cheese pastry

  • 125g of unsalted butter, chilled and diced
  • 250g of plain flour
  • 60g of cheddar, ideally Montgomery cheddar, finely grated


  • 7.5cm fluted tart tins
  • Blender
  • Food processor


Preheat an oven to 150°C/gas mark 2
For the venison, place a large pan over a medium heat and, once hot, add a dash of oil. Add the onions cut-side down and cook until caramelised. Once golden, sprinkle the Demerara sugar into the pan, allow to caramelise, then deglaze the pan with the balsamic vinegar. Add the halved garlic bulb cut-side down and cook for 3 minutes
  • 2 onions, halved
  • 1 tsp Demerara sugar
  • 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic bulb, halved
  • vegetable oil, for frying
Transfer the onion and garlic to a large roasting tin, along with the bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns, miso, and fennel seeds. Set aside
Add a splash of oil to the pan you used to caramelise the onions and garlic and place over a high heat
Dust the venison pieces in the seasoned flour and add to the pan, without overcrowding (you may need to brown the meat in batches). Sear until the pieces are nicely caramelised, then transfer to the tray with the onions and garlic
  • 1kg venison shoulder, preferably in whole muscle groups, or cut into large pieces
  • 2 tbsp of plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
Pour enough water into the tray to cover all of the ingredients and top the tray with foil. Braise in the oven for 4 hours
To make the bone marrow crumb, place a pan over a medium heat and add the butter and bone marrow. Once melted and starting to foam, add the onions and cook gently until soft and golden brown in colour
Place a sieve over a bowl and tip the contents of the pan into the sieve. Return the strained fat to the pan (reserving the onions), place over a medium heat and add the breadcrumbs, frying until golden-brown. Strain the breadcrumbs through a sieve, discarding the fat, and mix the breadcrumbs with the reserved onions. Spread the mixture out over a dehydrator mat, or on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, and leave to dry out in a low oven or dehydrator at 40—50°C for several hours, or until completely crisp. Allow to cool then stir through the parsley
  • 200g of breadcrumbs
  • 25g of parsley, finely chopped
To make the onion purée, place a large pan over a low-medium heat. Once hot, add a large glug of oil and the onions, and allow to caramelise over a low heat, stirring frequently. Once golden, add the yeast and thyme and cook for a further 3 minutes
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • 500g of onion, finely sliced
  • 20g of fresh yeast
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
Add the cream, milk, and butter, and allow to reduce gently, for around 5—10 minutes. Discard the thyme, then transfer the contents of the pan to a blender. Blitz until smooth and season to taste. Set aside
Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3.5
Now make the pastry. Add the flour and butter to a food processor and pulse until the mixture forms a fine crumb. Add the grated cheese, pulse twice more, then turn the mixture out and form into a log shape. Wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for 10 minutes
  • 250g of plain flour
  • 125g of unsalted butter, chilled and diced
  • 60g of cheddar, ideally Montgomery cheddar, finely grated
Roll out the pastry to the thickness of a pound coin and shape the pastry into greased 7.5cm, fluted tart cases, using a scrap piece of pastry to push the pastry into the corners and even it out. Bake for 12-16 minutes
Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from the cases. Set aside
When the venison is ready, remove from the oven and drain the meat from the stock (reserving the stock) and transfer to a bowl. Strain the stock through a fine sieve into a pan and reduce over a medium-high heat until you are left with a sticky glaze
Pull the braised venison into fine pieces. Once the stock has reduced, combine it with the meat and season to taste
Gently reheat the onion purée before assembling the pies
To serve, heat the venison filling in a pan and the spoon into the bottom of each pie case. Pipe or spoon the onion purée on top of the venison to completely cover in a thin layer. Top with the crumb and serve
First published in 2020

Entirely self-taught, Ivan Tisdall-Downes is proof that passion, hard work and natural talent can lead to great things in the kitchen. At his restaurant Native at Browns, he works closely with co-founder Imogen Davis to showcase the wild, foraged and often overlooked ingredients from the British countryside.

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