Slow cooking is the perfect way to bring out the rich and complex flavors of venison. This slow cooker venison pie recipe is no exception. The combination of tender venison, salty pancetta, and earthy mushrooms, all simmered in a red wine sauce, creates an extra special dish that could become one of your firm favourites.
Venison isn’t one of the most commonly used meats. There’s a chance you may have been put off in the past by thinking it’s one of the most expensive options too. However, you may be surprised to hear that it’s considerably cheaper another great slow cooker option – lamb. We bought this diced vension from Waitrose for £5.50, which is £18.34/kg, while diced lamb shoulder from the same supermarket is a whopping £28.85/kg!
The rest of the ingredients are pretty common in all supermarkets. If you can’t find pancetta, then bacon lardons will work fine. And as always with slow cooking, don’t use an expensive bottle of wine – it’s not worth it!
When it comes to making this slow cooker venison pie, the key step is to take the time to bring everything together in the pan first. By browning the venison and pancetta, you’ll be able to create a deeper and more complex flavor that will make all the difference in the final dish.
You’ll also need to deglaze the pan with red wine, which will help to scrape up all of the flavorful bits from the bottom of the pan. It’s then a case of reducing the liquid. These steps where the recipe gets its rich depth of flavor. Keep simmering until you nearly reach your desired thickness of sauce for a pie. Slow cookers don’t tend to lose much liquid through cooking, especially when on low. With the flour used on the venison, this may even thicken slightly. You can always thicken it further at the end with a little cornflour and water if needed.
Once the slow cooking process is done, you’ll need to transfer the mixture into an oven proof dish and cover it with pastry. Then, you need finish the pie in the oven until golden and crispy. We use shop-bought ready made puff pastry, but of course you can make your own!
Slow Cooker Venison Pie
- Slow Cooker
- Frying Pan
- 300 g Venison diced
- 75 g Pancetta diced
- 1-2 Echalion shallots finely diced
- 2 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 Carrot diced
- 150 g Chesnut mushrooms diced
- 187 ml Red wine 187ml = UK miniature bottle
- Few sprigs Fresh thyme leaves chopped
- 1 Beef stock pot not mixed with water
- 2 tbsp Flour
- Pinch Salt and pepper
- 60 g Puff pastry approx
- 1 Egg for brushing onto pastry
- Lightly and evenly coat the diced venison with flour and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- In a hot pan with a little oil, brown the venison on all sides.
- Remove the venison from the pan and turn the temperature down to a medium heat. Add pancetta and cook for a few minutes until the fat starts to render and the pancetta starts to crisp.
- Add the shallot, garlic, thyme, carrot and mushrooms. Stir well and cook for a further few minutes.
- Add red wine and a stock pot (without water) to the pan. Simmer until the is liquid is reduced by at least half or until the sauce is just slightly thinner than your end desired thickeness of sauce. (It will thicken slightly in the slow cooker because of the flour on the venison).
- Transfer the contents of the pan and the browned venison to the slow cooker. Cook for 3-4 hours on high or 7-8 hours on low.
After the slow cook
- Preheat your oven to to 220°C (200°C fan) ahead of time, or to the temperature according to the instructions with your ready rolled puff pastry.
- Transfer the venison mix from the slow cooker to pie dishes. Top with puff pastry, trim around the edges, crimp and cut a small air hole.
- Brush with egg wash and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is golden.
Nutrition calculations only account for the ingredients stated in the slow cooker recipe. Serving suggestions such as rice and potatoes are not included. Remember to account for the nutritional values of anything you choose to accompany the recipe with.
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Prices mentioned above were correct as of Feb 2023.