Preparation 30 minutes Cooking 4 hours Serves 6 Venison replaces beef in this rich combination of classic bourguignon flavours.
150g pancetta or smoked streaky bacon, diced 400g shallots, peeled and halved 1.2kg diced venison 2 tbsp oil 2 garlic cloves, crushed 1 tsp juniper berries, lightly crushed 1 tsp allspice 6 tbsp plain flour 275g button mushrooms, halved 650ml red wine 450ml beef stock 1 bay leaf 3 sprigs thyme, leaves picked 200g whole chestnuts 500g block puff pastry 1 medium egg, beaten
1 In a large pan or casserole dish set over a medium heat, fry the pancetta (or bacon) and shallots for 10 minutes. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and set aside. Season the venison well. Fry in two batches, using 1 tbsp oil for each, until evenly browned all over. Return to the pan.
2 Add the garlic, juniper berries and allspice for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the flour for another minute, stirring constantly.
3 Return the pancetta and shallots to the pan with the mushrooms. Pour in the wine and stock; add the herbs. Bring to the boil, reduce the temperature to low, partially cover and simmer for 3 hours. Once tender, stir in the chestnuts, remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely. Remove the bay leaf and thyme twigs and discard.
4 Spoon the cold filling into a 1.3 litre pie dish with a rim, mounding it slightly in the centre and adding enough liquid to come just below the pie rim.
5 Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface to £1-coin thickness. Cut off a few strips to fit around the dish rim. Brush rim lightly with water, press pastry strips on and brush with the egg. Use a rolling pin to lift the remaining pastry over the pie. Trim away excess, cutting downwards against the edge of the rim. Reserve trimmings. Tap the blade of a sharp knife against the edge of the pastry, separating the layers slightly, encouraging them to ‘puff ’. Scallop the pie edge with the back of your knife and finger. Brush lightly all over with beaten egg. Decorate the pie top with the trimmings and brush with beaten egg. Make two small vent holes with a knife. Chill for 20 minutes.
6 Heat the oven to 220°C (200°C) gas mark 7. Brush again with egg, place the pie on a baking sheet and cook in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes until the pastry is golden. Serve with seasonal vegetables.