This is a great dish that was inspired by chef Jamie Oliver and his “Jamie at Home” cookbook. A couple of years ago, when I received a shipment of venison from my father-in-law, an avid hunter that lives in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I knew that although I could certainly use beef for this dish, it would be absolutely stellar with venison. And though the original recipe calls for Guinness, I knew that I couldn’t miss with my latest favorite local brew from my buddy Sean Larkin of Revival Brewing Co: his Double Black IPA…
DOUBLE BLACK I.P.A. VENISON STEW WITH PUFF PASTRY
3 red onions, peeled and chopped
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
3 Tablespoons butter, plus extra
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks, trimmed and chopped
10 oz baby bella mushrooms, chopped
3 lbs venison, cut into 3/4″ cubes
A few sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
Sea salt and black pepper
2 bottles (24 oz) Revival Brewing Company Double Black IPA, with a swig for the cook
3 Tablespoons flour
12 oz freshly grated cheddar cheese
1 1/2 pounds store-bought puff pastry (all butter is best)
1 large egg, beaten
Preheat the oven to 375.
In a large ovenproof pan, heat a few tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onions and fry gently for about 10 minutes. Turn the heat up and add the garlic, butter, carrots, celery and mushrooms. Stir well, then add venison, rosemary, a pinch of salt and about a teaspoon of pepper.
Fry on high for about 4 minutes, then add the beer, making sure you take a swig for,luck! Stir in the flour and add just enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer, cover the pan with a lid or foil, and place in the preheated oven for about 1 1/2 hours.
Remove after 1 1/2 hours and stir. Put it back in the oven and cook another hour, until the meat is cooked and the stew is rich, dark and thick. If it’s still liquidy, place the pan on the stove top and reduce until the sauce thickens. (You don’t want a soupy stew or you’ll get soggy puff pastry later on.) Remove the pan from the heat and stir in half the cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside to cool.
Depending on whether your puff pastry comes in sheets or a block, you’ll need to use a rolling pin to get it into sheets about 1/8″ thick. Butter a good-sized pie dish or an ovenproof terrine. Line the dish with the sheets of pastry, letting the pastry hang over the sides. Pour in the stew, even it out with a spatula, and add the rest of the grated cheese on top.
Use another 1/8″ thick sheet of pastry (or a couple if they’re not wide enough) to cover the top of the pie dish. Lightly crisscross the top with a knife, then fold over the overhanging pieces of pastry over the lid, making it look nice and rustic. Don’t cut or throw any of the pastry away! Use as much as you can, since everyone will want some.
Brush the top with the beaten egg and then bake the pie on the bottom of the oven for about 45 minutes, until the pastry has cooked, and it’s beautifully puffed and golden.
Serve with a side of peas.