La Motte’s Venison Pie Recipe

Easy Winter Recipes: This flavour-bursting meat pie will warm you right to the bone 

Cooking game meat might seem like a daunting task for an average home chef, but this uniquely South African recipe from La Motte Winery’s Cape Winelands Cuisine cookbook is simple to prepare; plus, it’s packed with flavour. The venison is marinated over night with a combination of spices and then stewed with marrow bones, strips of bacon or mutton tail fat. This traditional method has been passed down from generation to generation in the Winelands, and as both past and present vineyard folk can tell you, nothing says winter time like a warm, hearty game pie.

In the recipe, bacon can be substituted for marrow for added richness, and some cooks prefer to add herbs, such as sage, thyme and rosemary.

Extra tip: This dish works exceptionally well with La Motte’s spicy Shiraz.  

Ingredients for Venison Pie with Buttermilk Pastry

  • 1 kg venison shoulder or leg, cubed
  • 200 g smoked bacon, cut into thin strips
  • 3 cups (750 ml) good quality dry red wine
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) ground cinnamon
  • 6 whole cloves (wrapped in a muslin bag)
  • ¼ tsp (1 ml) ground ginger
  • Pinch of saffron (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) lamb’s tail fat, lard or oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup (250 ml) dried peaches
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) brown sugar
  • 8 cups (2 litres) venison, beef or lamb stock or water
  • 1 buttermilk pastry
  • Milk, for brushing
  • Freshly ground sea salt

Method

Place the venison, bacon, wine, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and saffron (if using) in an earthenware dish and marinated overnight.

The following day, preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F).

Used a large, heavy-based casserole dish with a tight fitting lid that can also be used on the stovetop, heat it and add the fat, lard or oil.

Remove the venison and bacon from the marinade (reserve the marinade) and pat dry with paper towel. Season with the salt and pepper and brown in the fat, lard or oil.

Add the onion and fry for 5 minutes.

Add the peaches,  sugar, reserved marinade and stock. Cover with the lid and place in the oven for 2-3 hours until soft.

Remove the dish from the oven and place on the stove and cook until the sauce thickens. To aid thickening, add a little cornflour mixed with water.

Check seasoning and leave to cool in the pot.

Increase the oven temperature to 200°C (400°F).

Placed the pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll out to a thickness of 2 cm. Make sure the rolled pastry is large enough to cover the top of the casserole pot. Place on top of the meat, covering the whole surface. Alternatively you can make little balls of pastry and place them tightly next to each other on top of the meat.

Brush the surface with the milk and sprinkle with feshly ground sea salt. Bake for about 45 minutes until golden brown.

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Visit La Motte Winery in Franschhoek where you can get the perfect wine to go with your meal

and then finish it all off with this sinfully sweet South African malva pudding.

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