Cook a ‘beautiful’ pie with Jamie Oliver’s affordable recipe

Steak and ale pie is a classic British dish but sourcing good quality cuts of beef isn’t the easiest to do on a budget.

But now there’s a cheap and readily available alternative for Britons in the form of venison.

The population of wild deer has reached its highest count for a millennium, with an estimated two million threatening to destroy woodland and precious wildlife habitats across the country.

According to the British Deer Association, venison is “one of the most sustainable” and ethically sourced meats in the UK and is sold at affordable prices for all to enjoy.

That’s why it’s a great product for cooking and is easy to turn into a delicious meal using Jamie Oliver’s trusty pie recipe.

Sharing the dish on his website, the British chef claimed: “This is a beautiful pie and the kind of dish that makes me dream of good home cooking.

“The venison will cook to be delicious, tender and sumptuous. After all these years of cooking, a meal like this still gets my pulse racing.”

While it was once considered to be the preserve of the rich, the low-fat, high-protein meat is easy to find for as little as £3 at Sainsbury’s.

Jamie Oliver’s venison pie with juniper, rosemary and bay

Start with a preheated oven set to 180C/ 350F/gas 4, then take a large ovenproof pan and set it over low heat on the hob.

Add a large glug of oil, then peel and slice the onions before frying them off for 10 minutes until sweet, ensuring they don’t gain too much colour. Meanwhile, peel and chop the carrots and garlic cloves, then trim and chop the celery.

Dial up the heat, add in the garlic, butter, carrot and celery then peel and roughly tear up the mushrooms. Mix everything in the pan, then prepare the venison.

Cut the meat into 2cm cubes, chop the rosemary leaves and bash the juniper berries in a pestle and mortar. Add all of this into the pan, along with the bay leaves and thyme, then sprinkle in a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of pepper.

Fry everything off for four minutes, add the ale and then stir in the flour, then top the pan with water to cover the ingredients. Bring to a simmer, place a lid on the pan and cook in the oven for 2.5 hours, stirring occasionally.

According to Jamie, the perfect pie filling should have tender meat in a rich, dark, thick stew. He said: “So if, when you remove it from the oven, it’s still quite liquidy, place the pan on the hob and reduce for 15 minutes or so until it thickens up a bit.”

Finally, roll out the pastry on a floured surface until it is even with the thickness of a pound coin. Then tip the stew into the pie dish and place the pastry on top of the pie.

Score the top of the pastry with a light criss-cross pattern using a very sharp knife, then brush the top with a beaten egg.

Return the pie to the bottom shelf of the oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the pastry is well cooked, puffed-up and golden. Serve piping hot with a side of greens and mashed potato.

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