Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Hunter's Series: Hunter's Pie (Featuring Guest Writer John!)

I've wanted to have a guest writer take over my blog for a long time and finally the dream has come to fruition!

Last week John cooked up two wonderful meals: a duck & goose stew (which I refer to as duck-duck-soup) and a variation on sheppard's pie called hunter's pie, made with beef, deer, and peameal bacon.
It was delicious. 
We ate the pie for dinner (and lunch) so I only have pictures of the pie so that will be the recipe up today.

Anyway, to tell you how he made his hunter's pie, here is John!

Hello everyone. This hunting season for me was pretty short, as I only got out once during duck and goose season.  But thanks to the kindness of my hunting buddies Shawn and Kris, we had a pile of different game meats in our freezer. Among them was deer, moose, elk, Canada goose, and a few different types of duck.  So first on the menu of wild game food was my take on Sheppard's Pie- a Hunter's Pie.

It's really simple to make, and you can substitute the ingredients used with pretty much anything you'd like.  This is very meat-heavy though, so if you're hoping for a vegetarian alternative you're out of luck.  Maybe in the spring I'll do another post about foraged wild edible plants though- spring fiddleheads are pretty tasty.
So central to this recipe is meat: Peameal bacon, ground beef, and ground venison.  Venison has a stronger, more gamey flavour than beef, so combining half beef and half deer mellows out the flavour a bit and makes it more accessible to people that would otherwise be scared off by eating deer.
I started off by cutting the bacon in rough chunks, and sautéing them in a pan.  Then I added onion, minced garlic, cracked black pepper and chilli flakes.  When the onions turned translucent, I added the ground meats.  When they were fully cooked I drained off some of the liquid to prevent the pie from being too soggy.

Ground beef and deer in the pot.  The beef is the bright one, while the venison is more brown in colour.

While the meats were browning, I boiled and mashed some potatoes and a few sweet potatoes. I like the contrast between white fleshed potatoes and the orange of sweet potatoes, as it makes the pie look a bit more interesting.  I then added a bit of butter and a spoonful of horseradish to the potatoes, which makes them taste way better.

With the meat browned and the potatoes mashed, all that's left is layering this sweet concoction in a baking dish.  To assemble: meat on the bottom in a layer about 2cm thick, sprinkled with corn and peas (the canned stuff works great), then smooth on the mash to about 2cm thick as well. Toss it in the oven for a while and you're set.

Butchering (ed note: in my mind I'm going to just read this as 'hunting'. Still love you John!) any large game animal like deer, moose, or elk leaves you with a lot of ground meat. This is a great way to use up all that delicious, flavourful meat and clean out your freezer.  Anyone who hunts knows how important it is to use as much of the animal as possible, and this is an easy and tasty way to accomplish that.
Thanks for reading my wildly speculative ramblings, and thanks to my lovely wife for letting me contribute to her blog.

Up next in the hunter' series: Duck-Duck Soup

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