While I’m puttering on with my thesis, I also have the task of emptying out the freezer before we take a break for a few weeks and go back from whence we came. Around August, Francois’s family brought us a huge haul of meat to last us through the second semester. While we’ve polished most of it off, I had two pieces of venison burning a hole in the freezer. I had never eaten much venison, much less cooked it, so I didn’t really know what to do with it.
However, since Francois has been clamouring for pie since we tried to cut down on carbs, I decided that this might be a prime opportunity to try my hand at baking a good old-fashioned venison pie. This is quite a traditional thing here in South Africa, where hunting is still very much part of the Afrikaner mindset and wildsvleis, as we call it, is rather easy to come by if you know some hunters. However, like I said, I haven’t eaten much of it, and I wasn’t sure how well I’d react to the gameyness of the meat.
Alls I can say though, is that I reacted good. Damn Good.
Here’s a few pictures of the finished result:
So I usually have some issues cooking, because Francois and I are both very picky eaters. He absolutely hates tomatoes and we both dislike warm fruity things in savoury stuff. While we like the taste of onions, Francois hates the texture, so I have to be careful with that too. For this reason, I had to adapt the recipes I found online a bit. I marinated the meat in Merlot, olive oil and a few cloves for 24 hours, but then I had to figure out what to put into the pie along with the meat. Most recipes recommend carrots and dried peaches, so I compromised and added carrots with some chopped potatoes. I browned the meat with a whole lot of onions but then scooped out the pieces so that they didn’t go into the big pot.
Most recipes also only call for a pie-top, but I decided (because we both love pastry so much) to make a closed pie. I cheated a bit and got ready made puff pastry, but I’m also quite a noob at working with pastry so I had to look up a few things, like what ‘blind baking‘ is and that I should definitely use flour when rolling everything out.
I am, to say the least, rather satisfied with the result. Seconds and thirds were had, and the recipe left a wonderful gravy that had just a hint of the Merlot in it. It did, however, take quite some time to prepare and get together, but it left some snatches for me to work and exercise in. All in all, I’m in favour of long complicated recipes. I really wish I had a bigger kitchen, but I suppose that goes under the ‘one day’ dream-list. For interested parties, I drew inspiration from this blog’s recipe. If you try it, bon appétit!