Venison Shepherd's pie, also known as cottage pie, is a wonderfully savory dish. Often served as a casserole, the deer meat mixture features root veggies, mushrooms, and ground venison in a rich brown sauce. It is topped with mashed potatoes and then baked until bubbly. This is a comforting casserole if there ever was one!
When Mikey first came home with a deer last hunting season, one of the first things I knew I wanted to make was venison shepherd's pie. Shepherd's pie is one of my favorite dishes and I knew that the flavor of deer meat would pair perfectly with the rest of the ingredients in this savory dish.
Now I am lucky enough that my father in law used to be a meat cutter. So when he goes out hunting with my husband and brother in law, he quickly prepares the deer meat when he returns home. Talk about a well stocked freezer! He does a nice variety of cuts, from roasts, to ground, to venison medallion steaks, to venison backstrap. I find that I run out of ground venison first because it's just so versatile! It's a great ground beef alternative and though it's wild game, it has a mild flavor when prepared well.
Traditional shepherd's pie is actually made with lamb. If you are using another type of ground meat, it is technically called "cottage pie."
But the rest of the ingredients will be similar, root veggies browned in a skillet until tender. Then deglazed with wine or stock, tomato paste and herbs are added and caramelized. Then more stock to create a gravy. All topped with creamy mashed potatoes and a generous sprinkle of shredded cheese. As a bonus, this crustless casserole is naturally gluten free! It can also easily be made dairy free with a few substitutes.
If you don't have access to venison, you can substitute ground beef. All other ingredients will be the same, and the flavor with be similar.
- ground venison
- cremini mushrooms
- worcestershire sauce
- tomato paste
- herbs de provence
- black pepper
How to make venison shepherd's pie
Prepare mashed potatoes.
Brown venison meat.
Saute veggies and add tomato paste.
Add broth to make gravy.
Assemble the shepherd's pie layers.
Bake until bubbly.
This is a GREAT recipe for using up leftover mashed potatoes. If I have leftover mashed potatoes I often freeze them for use later and they cut down the cook time for many dinners, like this one!
more venison recipes
Venison Shepherd's Pie
- 4-5 medium russet potatoes peeled and large diced
- ⅓ cup cream or half and half
- 1 tsp. salt
- 5 tbsp. butter
- 1 lb. ground venison
- 3 carrots peeled and diced
- 3 celery celery stalks diced
- 1 medium onion diced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 5 oz. cremini mushrooms
- 1 cup peas
- 1 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
- 1 5 oz. can tomato paste
- ½ tbsp. herbs de provence
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 2 cups beef stock or venison stock if you have it
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Begin by preparing mashed potatoes. Peel and cube potatoes and then place them into a pot with cold water. Bring them to a boil and then boil for 10 minutes, or until fork tender. Drain and add cream, 2 tbsp. butter, and salt. Once butter melts, mash until smooth. Set to the side.
- In a large skillet or dutch oven, melt 1 tbsp. butter over medium heat. Add ground venison and brown until cooked through, breaking it up as you go. Transfer to a plate to the side.
- To skillet, add remaining 2 tbsp. of butter and melt. Add diced onions, carrots, and celery and saute until onions are translucent, around 3-4 minutes.
- Add garlic and quartered mushrooms saute until the mushrooms release their liquid, about 5 minutes. Add peas and tomato paste and stir to coat, cook for 2 minutes.
- Add flour and stir to combine. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Reduce heat and slowly add in herbs and broth, stirring constantly. Once fully combined, sauce should resemble a thick gravy. Stir in cooked venison. Turn off heat.
- If using cast iron or a dutch oven, you can use the same dish to bake in. Otherwise, transfer mixture to a casserole dish.
- Top with prepared mashed potatoes and shredded cheese.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top starts to turn a light brown.