The home of Shooting Times and Sporting Gun

Venison bourguignon pie recipe: slow and steady does it

Low and slow cooking is the secret to the exquisite, silky tenderness of Cai ap Bryn’s venison pie version of the French classic, beef bourguignon. Serves six to seven people.

Venison Bourguignon Pie

Venison Bourguignon Pie

Neck, shoulder or shank work well for this venison bourguignon pie recipe, cooked low and slow for maximum tenderness. I used puff pastry, but shortcrust will work equally well.

The bourguignon can be made in advance and would be a fantastic supper dish or something fancier for a dinner party. It’s beneficial to use a heavy casserole dish or Dutch oven. Otherwise, use a deep ceramic dish tightly covered with foil.

Venison bourguignon pie


  • 250g lardons or chopped bacon
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1.2kg diced venison
  • 30g butter
  • 15 small pearl onions, whole
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced or grated
  • 200g sliced mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1.75cl bottle of pinot noir
  • 150ml rich beef stock
  • bouquet garni
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 2½ tbsp cornflour, mixed into a little cold water
  • Flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 sheet of 320g puff or shortcrust pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten


  1. Gently fry the lardons or chopped bacon in the oil to render down the fat, then add the venison in batches to brown.
  2. In a separate pan, melt the butter and add the onions, garlic and mushrooms. Cook on a medium heat for five minutes to soften, then place in the pan with the meat and stir in the tomato purée.
  3. Add the wine and cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes to reduce the alcohol. Add the beef stock, bouquet garni and half a teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Cover and put in the oven at 160°C.
  4. After one-and-a-half hours, add the carrots. If it’s looking a little dry, a little splash of water can be added. Return to the oven for 40 minutes.
  5. Move back to the hob to thicken the bourguignon. Add the cornflour mix and stir over a medium heat to thicken the liquid. The gravy needs to be quite thick for a pie, so add half a tablespoon of cornflour if required, until the right consistency is reached.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste and place in one large pie dish, or several smaller dishes. Top with the rolled-out pastry, glaze with beaten egg and finish off in the oven at 180°C for 35 to 40 minutes. Serve with mashed or boiled potatoes or crusty bread.

The inspiration behind this dish

I try to make at least one trip over to France with my family every year. We have fallen in love with the beautiful country and one of the main reasons is the food.

I adore the passion the French have for their food and the rich style of cooking appeals to my palate. I have a particularly fond memory of Beaune, a small medieval town in Burgundy, full of charm and cobbled streets.

On market day, it has a fantastic display of stalls bursting with local wines, fresh produce, cheeses and meats. Total foodie heaven. Near the main marketplace was a delightful little bistro that served delicious traditional French food and on the menu was beef bourguignon.

It wasn’t the first time I’d had this wonderful dish, but it was certainly the most memorable. The beautiful silky rich burgundy gravy with tender pieces of beef, carrots and shallots was out of this world and it gave me the inspiration to create this venison bourguignon pie.