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Mary Berry’s Venison Cottage Pie

This Venison Cottage Pie, as seen on the BBC2 series Mary Berry Everyday, puts a tasty twist on a classic British comfort dish.

From the book


Such an everyday classic, but I have used venison for a change. Minced venison is easy to buy, and gives a richer colour and flavour to the meat sauce, but you could use minced beef instead or half beef and half venison. Maris Piper, King Edward or Desirée potatoes are all perfect for mashing.

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2 tbsp oil
6 rashers of smoked streaky bacon, chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
leaves from 2 sprigs of rosemary, chopped
600g (1lb 5oz) minced venison
1 heaped tbsp plain flour
300ml (10fl oz) red wine
500ml (18fl oz) beef or game stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the mash:
1kg (2lb 3oz) floury potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks
A knob of butter
A splash of milk

Essential kit

You will need: a 1.5-litre (2.5-pint) wide-based ovenproof dish, greased.

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1. You will need a 1.5-litre (2.5-pint) wide-based ovenproof dish, greased.

2. Heat the oil in a large, deep flameproof casserole dish or saucepan. Add the bacon and fry over a high heat for 3–4 minutes or until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Tip in the onion, carrot and rosemary and fry for 4–5 minutes. Add the mince and stir over the heat for 3–4 minutes or until golden brown, using two spoons to break up into smaller pieces.

3. Sprinkle in the flour and cook for a minute, stirring. Gradually stir in the wine and then boil for a few minutes to reduce by half. Pour in the stock and bring back up to the boil. Return the bacon to the pan, season with salt and pepper and allow to bubble, stirring, for 5–10 minutes. Cover with a lid, reduce the heat and simmer for about 40 minutes or until tender.

4. Spoon the mince into the ovenproof dish and set aside to cool down completely (see tip).

5. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas 6 and make the topping.

6. Cook the potatoes in a pan of boiling salted water for about 15 minutes until tender. Drain, add the butter and milk, season with salt and pepper and mash until smooth (see tip).

7. Spoon the mash on top of the cold mince, level the top and rough the surface with the back of a fork, making a pattern, if you like. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or until golden and bubbling.

PREPARE AHEAD: Can be prepared and assembled up to a day ahead, ready to cook. The mince can be made 1–2 days ahead and stored in the fridge.

FREEZE: The cooked mince can be frozen, ideally without the mash on top as it sometimes does not freeze well.

MARY'S EVERYDAY TIP: It is important for the mince to be cold before adding the mash; if it is hot, the mash will not be able to spread across the top properly and will mix in with the mince. By contrast, the mash spreads better when it’s warm.

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From the book: Mary Berry Everyday

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