This Venison Cobbler is delicious, the meat and pie gravy is rich and dark, and is baked under a light, golden-brown, knobbly pastry. A British ‘cobbler’ is when rounds of pastry are cut out (like scones) and placed on top of the savoury meat pie as a crust, and when it bakes the pie is reminiscent of cobbled streets – this is not the same as an American sweet fruit cobbler. The pie filling can be made up well in advance of finishing the pie off, in fact you can make several batches up and freeze the filling, defrosting it when you want to make the pie – only at the point of making the pie do you need to make the cobbler topping.
Venison Cobbler Recipe
Serves 6 – You need a 2 litre pie dish
for the pie filling
- 1.2 Kg venison shoulder (trimmed and cut into 3cm cubes)
- 500ml real ale
- 200ml beef stock
- 50ml water
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 large onions (sliced fine)
- 2 celery sticks (sliced fine)
- 2 carrots (peeled and diced small)
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 1 tsp English mustard powder
- 3 tbsp redcurrant jelly
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- two dashes of Worcestershire sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- pinch of sea-salt (ground)
- pinch of freshly ground black pepper
for the cobbler
- 480g self-raising flour (plus extra for dusting)
- 100g butter (cut into cubes)
- 300ml whole milk
- 1/2 tsp English mustard powder
- 1/2 tsp sea-salt (ground)
- 1 egg yolk & 1 tbsp milk (beaten to glaze)
Heat the oil and butter in a oven-proof casserole dish (which can also be heated on the hob) and gently fry the onions, celery and carrot on a low-medium heat for 10 minutes – until the onion is softened and coloured, stirring occasionally. Add the flour and mustard powder and cook it out for a minute, stirring it into the oils, before slowly stirring in the water, then add the ale and beef stock – only put a drop of water in at first to stir into the flour, put the rest of the liquid in when the flour has been worked into the initial water and oils.
Add the cubbed venison chunks, redcurrant jelly, thyme leaves and bay leaves and stir. Season with ground sea-salt and black pepper, finally add a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce. Stir everything in. Bring everything in the casserole dish up to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, then cover with a lid as you pre-heat the oven.
Preheat the oven to 180°C
Place the casserol dish on a baking tray then place in the oven and cook for 2 hours at 180C. After two hours check the venison is cooked and very tender and the sauce is thick. Check the seasoning and adjust to taste. To thicken the sauce place the casserole dish on to the hob on a medium-high heat and reduce to your desired consistency.
At this point you can cool the venison mixture and leave it in the fridge for the next day, or cool and freeze.
When you are ready to make the Venison Cobbler spoon the pie filling into a 2 litre oven-proof pie dish.
Preheat the oven to 200°C
To make the cobbler: In a large mixing bowl sift in the flour, and scatter in the mustard powder and salt. Using your finger-tips rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. To bring the mixture together into a dough add the milk, stirring constantly – this should make a soft, spongy dough.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface, knead gently, then roll it out until it is about 2cm thick. Using a pastry cutter, cut out 5cm rounds, put each one aside and re-roll the dough as necessary to turn all the dough into pastry rounds. When you cut the rounds out try to do it cleanly, without snagging the dough an compressing it.
Neatly place the pastry rounds over the surface of the pie filling. Do it so that they cover the filling, with only a little space between them. Brush the tops of them with the beaten egg yolk.
Place the pie on a baking tray and bake for 30 minutes in an oven at 200C – until the cobbler topping is golden brown and the pie filling is pipping hot. Remove the Venison Cobbler from the oven, leave it for 5 minutes, then serve.