Venison Cobbler with a Pumpkin Topping

A cobbler, with its golden scone-dough topping, makes a handsome centrepiece for a casual supper for friends and family. Here I add pumpkin to the topping, and suggest this as an alternative to turkey for a Thanksgiving dinner, a holiday we usually celebrate, even though Tom has lived here for over thirty years.



  • 1.5 kg (3 lbs) diced venison – use boned leg or shoulder
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon each salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons brandy
  • 75 mls ( pint) port
  • 1 tablespoon red wine or balsamic vinegar
  • 600 mls (1 pint) good dry red wine
  • sprig of rosemary


  • 300 g (10 oz) self-raising flour
  • 75 g (3 oz) butter or lard, diced
  • 75 g (3 oz) Parmesan, grated
  • 100 g (4 oz) raw pumpkin, grated
  • ½ teaspoon each freshly ground pepper and nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons plain yoghurt, mixed with 75 mls ( pint) cold water
  • 50 g (2 oz) flaked almonds


Toss the venison, a few pieces at a time, in a bag with the flour and seasoning. Brown the meat in the olive oil, flame with the brandy, then add the port, vinegar and red wine. Bring to the boil, tuck in the sprig of rosemary, cover, and cook it at 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2 for about three hours.

Rub the flour and fat together in a bowl, and then stir in the cheese, the pumpkin and seasoning. Stir in enough liquid to make a soft, pliable dough. Transfer to a floured board, and knead it lightly.

Roll out to fit the top of whatever ovenproof dish you are serving the stew from, cut into wedges and lay them on top of the stew, or cut into rounds and arrange on top. Sprinkle with the flaked almonds. Bake at 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6 in a preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes.