Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Venison Sheppards Pie: The Cure to A Relentless Winter

     It has been such a long, brutal winter with plenty of snow accompanied with below zero temperature invasions nearly every month.  It doesn't seem like April will ever get here so we can hopefully get underway on our 5 month adventure to Alaska., which by the way is having a rather mild winter this year.   
     Fortunately we have plenty of venison in the freezer and I wanted to try something a bit different.   I have never had Venison Sheppards Pie, but Barb said her mom made this whenever her uncle bagged a deer when she was younger.  This definitely qualifies as 'Comfort Food' and the variety of ingredients that you can use makes it the perfect cold weather family dish. 
     Wild game is the perfect organic food; no preservatives, no chemicals, no hormones, free range....always natural.  I have always been able to prepare venison in more traditional ways without the need to fry, heavily season, wrap in bacon, or marinade excessively.  When killed and processed correctly venison does have it's own flavor, but no less delicious.  Savor it, don't change it.  I am lucky that I found a woman that loves it as much as I do. 
    The process is simple.  I chose a recipe that creates a 'meat loaf' type of pie.  First pick your cut of venison to braise.  I chose lean burger for my first time, but I am sure lean steak meat would be delicious as well.  Then decide your layers which means pick your combination of favorite vegetables.  The beauty of this is that you can use whatever vegetables and as many layers as strikes your fancy.  The top and bottom are always mashed potatoes, but of course I had to add my own personal touch here as well. 

First I lined the greased baking dish with Sweet Potato Fries.

Then I added a patted down mixture of browned burger, onion, garlic, and egg.

I added a layer of green beans, corn, cheese, and drizzled tomato sauce on top. 

Finally top the dish with a layer of mashed potatoes spread to your choice of thickness.  Dot with butter, sprinkle with parsley, and bake in over at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Perfect for those 'whatever below zero' nights to help keep that warm and snuggly feeling.