October 19, 2007

No Sweets Today

A friend of mine recently commented that he noticed my blog was primarily sweet stuff. I didn’t think this should come as a surprise. For anyone who has yet to clue in, I’ll tell you right now, I like sweet stuff. I like it a lot. It also makes for better photographs. As much as I enjoy a good stew, (and I do, I really do) they don’t photograph well. Stew looks like brown mush. Is it tasty? Most definitely, but it doesn’t always show it. And when you can’t smell the amazing aroma of a stew to make you forget that it’s ugly, it doesn’t always look that appetizing. A cake on the other hand, always looks good. Cake slices nicely and can be drizzled with a pretty sauce if it needs gussying up. I suppose you could stick a dumpling on top of a bowl of stew to try for some visual contrast but it’s not the same. This post is a bit of a compromise between the sweet and savory worlds. The picture you see is of a venison and wild mushroom pie that’s clearly savoury but has taken the form of a sweet. I thought that struck a happy balance between the two. And because I couldn’t drizzle this pie with a caramel or chocolate sauce, I topped it with my Mom’s homemade zucchini relish. In this case, that’s just as good.

Venison and Wild Mushroom Pie, (from Food & Drink magazine, Autumn 2007)

1 lb venison, cut into ½ inch dice, (you could also use beef)

Salt and ground pepper

¼ cup vegetable oil

2 medium onions, diced

2 tsp chopped garlic

¼ tsp dried thyme

¼ tsp dried marjoram

1 lb wild mushrooms

¼ cup all purpose flour

½ cup dark lager

2 cups venison or beef stock

1 lb frozen puff pastry, defrosted

1 egg, beaten

2 T milk

Season venison with salt and pepper.

Add 2 T oil to a large heavy bottom pot over med-high heat, and heat until just smoking. Add venison and cook for 3-4 minutes or until browned all over. Remove venison with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Return the pot to the element, reduce heat to medium and add onion, garlic and herbs and cook for 3 minutes or until browned. Add mushrooms, cover and cook, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes or until juicy. Add remaining 2 T oil to pan and stir in flour to coat mushrooms. Add beer and then the stock, stirring each time so that the paste is incorporated into the liquid. Return venison to the pot, bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 1 hour or until the venison is tender and sauce is thick. If too thick add a little extra stock.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Divide frozen puff pastry into 2 pieces. Roll out to make a top and bottom crust to fit a 9-inch pie plate.

Beat together egg and milk to make an egg wash. Fill pie shell with the venison mixture, brush the edges with the egg wash. Top with remaining pastry and press to seal edges. Cut a few slits in the top to allow steam to escape. Brush the pastry top with more wash and bake for 30-35 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and mixture is bubbling.

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K and S said...

I haven't had vension in ages! this really sounds and looks delicious!

jef said...

Making and photographing food that is otherwise hard to photograph is half the fun! If we all wanted easy and pretty we'd just photography macarons and chocolates and petit fours all day.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Wait a minute here! Two comments already and nobody has called you on this mighty omission! Where's the recipe for that Mom's homemade zucchini relish . . .
Wake up people, have I missed that in a previous post? Really, the pie, venison and wild mushrooms - that'a great stuff. But Mom's homemade zucchini relish - I have lots more zucchini than venison!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Really, you can't put chocolate sauce on this??? And I'm with Tanna -- let's have the recipe for that beautiful relish, please!

Cynthia said...

I've never hand vension, that is the texture like?

Deborah said...

I have never had venison either - but this pie looks great!!

Anonymous said...

My dad was a hunter and I grew up eating venison. I'm really thankful to be beyond that part of my life. :-) I'd definitely pick out and eat the wild mushrooms, though.

Truffle said...

You really know how to take a girl's breath away! This is the sort of dish I just adore. Pastry, venison, mushrooms... what more could you want?

Jenny said...

You don't think a big dollop of whipped cream and a shaving of good chocolate would help with the visual appeal of that pie? Why ever not! :-)
Looks yummy!

Kelly-Jane said...

It's true that sweet posts are more popular than savoury, but having said that there a good number of us that like savoury a lot too (and I say this as a primarily sweet toothed girl!).

Lovely pie and your relish is soooooo green!

Anonymous said...

hmm.. how does venison taste?

Anonymous said...

this sounds fantastic! i made my first beef and ale pie (plus the pastry!) on Friday (and blogged about it), and I'll be very interested to try this, too! :)

one good thing about winter/autumn is certainly all the lovely game that's in season! we had a wild duck yesterday, which was fabulous!

Patricia Scarpin said...

The photo is wonderful, Bri - that piece of pie is mouthwatering!

Brilynn said...

Venison is wonderful, it's lean but full of gamey flavour.

The relish though is really the star, and I should definitely try to post a recipe for it. The problem is that my mom never follows a recipe and it's slightly different each time she makes it, but always fabulous.