Braised venison pie with sour cream pastry

    Braised venison pie with sour cream pastry

    Making a pie from scratch is a labour of love that comes with great reward. Nothing beats the taste and smell of freshly baked pastry with an oozy, rich, fall-apart filling – it is comfort food perfection.


    45 ml (3 tablespoons) olive oil
    250 g smoked streaky bacon, cut into cubes
    2 medium onions, finely chopped
    4 cloves garlic, finely grated
    1,25 kg boneless venison meat, cut into larger chunks (springbok, kudu or even ostrich)
    salt, to taste
    3 bay leaves
    6 whole cloves, crushed in a pestle & mortar

    6 juniper berries, crushed in a pestle & mortar 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
    2 teaspoons ground coriander
    15 ml flour

    250 ml red wine (or beef stock)
    125 ml (1/2 cup) freshly squeezed lemon juice 30 ml (2 tablespoons) balsamic vinegar
    250 ml water
    1/4 cup plain yoghu


    Preheat the oven to 170 C. In a heavy based large pot (with lid suitable for oven use) over medium heat, heat the oil and fry the bacon, onions, garlic until the onions are soft and translucent. Remove from the pot and set aside. Add the meat to the pot and fry on all sides until brown (work in batches if necessary), seasoning with salt. Add the bay leaves, cloves, juniper berries, white pepper and coriander and stir for a minute, then add the flour and stir to coat all over. Add the wine, lemon juice, vinegar and water and bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid and braise in the oven at 170 C for 2,5-3 hours or until very soft, checking half way through if you need to add more water. In the meantime, prepare the sour cream pastry (see below). When the meat is very tender, add the yoghurt and season with more salt if necessary. Stir to loosen the meat strands (pull them apart with a fork if needed) and leave to cool. When the pastry is ready (see below) and rolled out, line a greased ovenproof deep pie dish with a thin layer of pastry, leaving a little overhang. Transfer the meat filling into the lined pie dish and smooth the top. Cover with a sheet of rolled out pastry (see below) and trim the sides. Use a fork to press indentations all around the edges. Cut decorative patterns from the trimmings, if you want to. Cut small slits in the pastry for steam to escape, paint the top with egg-wash, and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for about 50-60 minutes or until golden brown and puffed. Serve with your choice of sides like rice and vegetables or salad.

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