Venison Pasty

This is a good robust pasty, very medieval and, indeed, along with the pastry trimmings it used to be decorated with hounds and deer. Venison is a curious meat, very lean and so very easy to dry out and, when wild, too gamey for a lot of palates. Certain areas of the country (usually around the old royal hunting forests) will not touch it, which is, no doubt, a genetic legacy of the horrendous Norman game laws.

Ingredients

  • 900g/2lb venison, neck, breast, flank or shoulder
  • 55g/2oz seasoned flour
  • 55g/2oz butter
  • 150ml/¼ pint port
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 300ml/½ pint venison stock
  • nutmeg
  • thyme
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 175g/6oz butter
  • 550g/lb short crust or rough puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten

Method

Cut the venison into small steaks and dust with seasoned flour. Heat a little butter in a frying pan and seal the steaks quickly. Put the meat into a 1.75-2.25 litres/3–4 pint pie dish, add the port, lemon juice and stock, sprinkle with grated nutmeg and thyme, salt and pepper. Lay the butter on top (traditionally it would have been lamb suet), cover with the pastry and glaze with beaten egg. Bake in a preheated oven at 220°C/425°F/Gas 7 for 15 minutes, then at 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 for 1¾ hours.

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