Venison pot pie is loaded with tender bites of venison and vegetables swimming in a savory gravy and baked to golden perfection in a double pie crust. The best thing about pot pies is how easy they are to customize to fit your tastes. Get creative and add or subtract vegetables and herbs of your choosing.
Ingredients you will need for this recipe
- Venison - Any venison steak in your freezer will work. Since simmering will help make the meat more tender, steak from the shoulder or hams would be my first choice. Save your backstraps for something else if you can.
- Cooking oil - Canola, olive oil, or whatever you have on hand is fine. You want something with a high smoke point for searing the meat.
- Butter - Butter is used to form the roux which creates the gravy.
- Flour - Flour is the thickening agent that makes the gravy.
- Salt and pepper - Add these to taste, but go light. The perceived saltiness will intensify as the gravy thickens.
- Liquids - Beef broth is the primary liquid used to flavor the gravy, with Worcestershire added for depth of flavor. I recommend using low sodium broth so you have more control over the saltiness of the gravy.
- Vegetables - The classic pot pie vegetables are peas, carrots, and potatoes. I add garlic, onion, and mushrooms to my venison pot pies because those flavors really meld well with wild game.
- Herbs - I love the combination of venison and fresh sage. Sage is my first choice for this recipe, but you can substitute rosemary as well. Thyme can be used in a pinch, but I prefer the other two choices. A dried bay leaf can be added in with any of the herb options.
- Pie crust - Feel free to make your own pie crust from scratch, but using two refrigerated crusts from the grocery store is the easiest option. You will want to grab an egg for the egg wash as well.
Changes you can make
Customizing the vegetables is easy. Green beans and corn are common additions. Shallots can be used instead of onion. When substituting vegetables try to cut back on your other vegetables if you are adding more in so the ratios stay similar.
You can also change the flavor of the gravy by adding wine, brandy, or beer. However, if you go that route I would probably remove the fresh herbs so the flavors don't compete. Some beers, in particular, don't match well with fresh sage.
Tips on the pie crust
The best pot pies use a double pie crust. You want one crust underneath your filling, and the other on top of it. Spraying your pie pan with a non-stick spray really does a good job keeping the crust from clinging as it bakes.
I also recommend using an egg wash on your upper crust. The egg wash gives the crust a show-stopping golden brown appearance. You can make an egg wash by lightly beating one egg with a tablespoon of water, then simply brushing it on the crust.
How to make it
Pot pies seem like really involved recipes that can be intimidating to novice home cooks, but it really isn't too difficult. You simply need to make the filling, which is essentially a thick stew. Then you need to pour it into a pie crust and bake it.
You start by searing the venison in oil over medium-high heat. This only takes five minutes or so. Be sure to turn the meat as it brows so you get a good sear. At this point, the venison can be removed and the heat lowered to medium. Add the butter into the skillet along with the carrots, mushrooms, and onions. Cook until the vegetables until the mushrooms and onions are tender, then add garlic and cook for another minute.
Now the filling is ready to transform into a gravy. Lower the heat to low, and sprinkle in the flour, cook for 1-2 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste then slowly start mixing in the liquids. Once all of the liquid has been incorporated into the flour, all of the remaining stew ingredients can be added. Cover with a lid and let gently simmer for 30 minutes, or until the gravy thickens to your liking.
Tip: The gravy will continue to thicken as the pie bakes, so it is best to leave it a little thin before pouring it into the pot pie.
Spray a nine-inch pie pan with a non-stick cooking spray and place one pie doe in the bottom of the pan, stretching it up to the lip, then pour in the filling and top with the second pie crust. Paint the crust with your egg wash and bake in a 425-degree oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Can other wild game be substituted for venison?
Yes! Venison is not the only meat you can use in this recipe. Elk, antelope, moose, bison, or even beef would all be great substitutes. Use what you have available in your freezer.
Venison Pot Pie
- 1 pound venison steak (cubed)
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- ¼ cup butter
- 2 large carrots (peeled and chopped)
- 4 ounces mushrooms (sliced)
- ½ onion (chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 ½ cups low sodium beef broth
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 3 medium Yukon gold potatoes (chopped)
- 1 sprig fresh sage
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup green peas (frozen is fine)
- ground black pepper to taste
- salt to taste
- 2 refrigerated pie crusts (nine inch crusts)
- 1 egg + 1 t water
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Set a saute pan over medium-high heat and add oil and cubed venison. Sear until nicely browned, then remove from skillet.
- Lower the heat to medium and add butter, carrots, mushrooms, and onions. Saute the vegetables until the mushrooms and onions are tender, then add garlic and cook for an additional minute.
- Lower the heat to low and sprinkle in flour. Mix to incorporate with the butter and keep stirring to ensure the flour does not burn. Cook for about two mintues, then slowly start adding the beef broth a couple splashes at a time. Stir it in in batches until all liquid has been incoroporated.
- Return the meat to the pan along with all remaining filling ingredients, except peas. Cover the pan and gently simmer for 30 minutes, or until the gravy begins to thicken. Add salt, pepper, and peas.*
- Add one pie crust to the bottom of a pie pan sprayed with non-stick spray, stretching the dough up to the lip of the pan.
- Add filling into the pie and top with the second pie crust. Pinch the two crusts together to seal.
- Create an egg wash by lightly beating an egg wtih one tablespoon of water and paint the top crust with the wash. Then lightly sprinkle salt on the crust.
- Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes prior to serving.