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Thursday, November 06, 2014

Hunter's Pie

Basically this is my recipe for 'Shepherds Pie,' but when I researched the topic I learned that this sort of pie when made with ground ('minced' if you're from the Commonwealth) beef is called 'cottage pie' and when made with ground lamb is called 'Shepherds Pie'.  So what's it called when you make it with ground elk or deer?  I decided to call it 'Hunter's Pie', and I'll expound on the definition to include mountain goat, moose or caribou, or really any ground game meat that you hunted yourself.

I will add that in terms of comfort food this is right up there with home-made macaroni and cheese, or scalloped potatoes.  One of the Holy Trinity of comfort foods.

The recipe consists of a base of meat and vegetables topped with mash potatoes.  I give their ingredients separately.

Ingredients needed

For ground meat and vegetables portion:

2 pounds of ground ('minced') wild animal
1 or 2 onions
1 bag of frozen peas
1 cup of chopped carrots
1 'Safeway-sized' box of mushrooms
2 1/2 Tbs of butter
2 handfulls of flour
1 cup of beef broth
1/2 cup of chopped celery
2 Tbs of canola oil (or peanut, avocado, corn whatever as long as it can withstand high heat - ie not olive oil)
a couple dashes of salt and pepper
a couple of dashes of Worcestershire Sauce

For mash Potatoes topping: (I generally make more mash potatoes than I need and fry up the extra as mash potato pancakes for breakfast)

4-5 to large, 'soft-ball' sized potatoes (I mix Yukon Gold with Red potatoes)
Garlic paste
Half and Half whipping cream
8 Tbs of butter (Yes you read right - a whole stick of butter and I usually add more!)
Salt and pepper to taste


I like to make the mash potatoes first and so the first thing I do is get a big pot of water boiling and then add the potatoes (at this point I start the meat and veggie process outlined below).
After dumping the cooked potatoes in a colander I add a stick (8 tbs) of butter to the pot and a good squirt of garlic paste.  I let the garlic cook a bit and the butter to melt before I put the potatoes back in the pot. Then I add a cup or so of half and half cream and mash the potatoes with a masher.  I add salt and pepper (and more butter and cream) to taste.

For the meat:
I first heat up beef broth in a small pot and add celery - let it steep away on low heat
I then add 2 Tbs of oil to frying pan and cook the onions and carrots until the onions turn clear
Then I add finely cut mushrooms and let them 'sweat away' (cooking slowly and stirring occasionally)
In another frying pan add 2 1/2 Tbs of butter and the 2 hand fulls of flour and create roux
To the roux add a little more oil (if needed) and the 2 lbs of ground game
Cook ground meat until cooked through and add to vegetables (I mix up the 2 frying pans)

Put the frozen peas into a colander in the sink and run hot tap water over them until they are unfrozen

In an 18 by 12 inch dish around 3 inches deep add the meat and vegetable mixed and stir in the thawed peas
Add broth and celery, Worcestershire Sauce and stir together
Top with mashed potatoes and use fork to create pattern on top that can brown in oven
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or so and then turn to broil to brown top.
Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes or so and then serve - Enjoy!

And looking back at the recipe it seems a bit overly complicated. It's not.  Basically cook up meat and veggies and top with mash potatoes and bake in the oven.  That's a hunter's pie.


Boiling the potatoes and cooking the onions and carrots

Mashed Potatoes all ready to top the ground meat (I used too much broth on this try)

Ready to eat!

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