My mother used to make something she called “shepherd’s pie” several times a year. It was one of her best dishes, but the best part was watching my dad stir up the potatoes with the tomato sauce, green beans and ground beef. It looked like something a 4-year-old would create, and it drove my mom crazy. I’m pretty sure that’s why he did it.
I’ve since been told that if it’s made with beef, it’s cottage pie. The same dish made with lamb is shepherd’s pie. Because I make mine with ground venison and never really gave it a name, well, it’s the best I could come up with.
Ground venison is lean, lean, lean. If yours isn’t ground with 20 percent fatty beef or pork, add some to the mix.
The carrots and onions are grated but could just as easily be diced if you don’t want to mess with a grater.
Shepherd’s Cottage Pie
- 1½ pounds red potatoes, skin on or off (I leave it on), quartered
- 3 tbsp butter
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 egg
- salt and white pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cups ground venison
- 1 large carrot, peeled and grated
- 1 large onion, peeled and grated
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, minced
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 cup tomato puree
- ½ cup dry red wine
- 1 cup frozen peas
- ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese
- Boil potatoes in salted water until soft. Drain and mash with butter, sour cream and egg. Season with salt and pepper, and keep warm.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add venison and cook until browned. Stir in carrot, onion and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes. Add Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, salt, pepper, tomato puree and red wine. Cook until liquid is reduced and thickened, about 6 to 8 minutes
- Stir in frozen peas and spoon mixture into a baking dish. Spread potatoes evenly over meat mixture. Sprinkle cheese over top, and lightly sprinkle paprika over cheese. Place in the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until top is golden brown.