Venison Burger Pie – Easy to Make and Super Delicious!

Scott Leysath |

As far as culinary concepts go, this one is fairly straight forward. First, brown up a bunch of ground game meat, any game – antlered game, feral swine, upland game, duck breasts. Add some onions, celery, carrots and any other vegetables that make you happy. Top the whole mess with a pile of whipped potatoes and pop it in the oven. In about thirty minutes, it’s dinner.

Mom used to make something she called “Hamburger Pie.” It was a big hit with dad and the three boys. You might be more familiar with Sheperd’s Pie, a classic ground lamb dish. I do remember that my dad used to get a heaping bowl of hamburger pie and stir it up into an orangish gruel that looked more like something you might get in prison. And while I’m sure it tasted about the same as our intact portions, I do believe that he did it more to get my mom worked up.

I wouldn’t waste too much time measuring ingredients for your ground game pie. After you make the first one, you’ll come up with a bunch of ways you can make it better next time. Maybe you like it spicy. If so, try it with corn, hot peppers and a little queso fresco. You can even substitute the mashed potatoes with masa, grits or polenta. No matter what you load into your pie, it’ll stick to your ribs and tastes great, especially after a day in the field.

This dish can be frozen for a few months. I prepare it in a foil pan and make sure that it is completely cooled before covering with foil and freezing. You can also make individual portions in oven-safe ramekins.

The Filling

2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil

1 cup celery, diced

1 cup onion, diced

1 cup carrot, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups ground game meat

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon kosher or other coarse salt (or 2/3 teaspoon table salt)

pinch or two black pepper

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 cup chicken, beef or game broth

dash Worcestershire sauce

 

The Topping

If you’re short on time or out of spuds, instant mashed potatoes will work.

3 large russet potatoes, peeled and quartered

2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup half and half

 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. To prepare filling, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add celery, onion, carrot and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add ground game meat and cook, stirring often, until evenly browned. Sprinkle flour over and stir to mix evenly. Cook for 2 minutes. Add remaining filling ingredients, stir to blend and cook for 2 minutes more.
  2. Prepare topping. Place peeled and quartered potatoes in a pot. Cover with at least one inch of water. Add salt and bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well, return to pot and whisk in butter and half and half until smooth.
  3. Transfer filling to a lightly greased baking dish. Spread potatoes over the top and place in preheated oven until lightly browned on top and the filling is bubbly hot.

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