Michelle's FreeFrom Venison and chestnut – or mushroom – pie
Corn, dairy, gluten, lactose, nightshade, soya and wheat free; can be egg and nut free

Every year, around Christmas, I remember chestnuts, and for several months afterwards, use them liberally before they fall off the menu again until the next year.
For those who either cannot eat nuts, or who have had enough of chestnuts, this pie also works well with mushrooms.
This is also a serious pie… To me, a pie has lots of filling and pastry on the top, but for my son, a pie is only pie when it not only has pastry on the top but a thick layer of pastry underneath into which much of the gravy has soaked during the cooking. So this is a ’proper’ pie….
It is better if you make the filling the day before and allow it to cool before filling the pie.

Venison pie

3 tbsp olive oil
12 shallots
100g / 4oz button mushrooms, if you are not using the chestnuts
2 level tbsp gluten and wheat-free flour
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
800g / 1lb 12oz trimmed and cubed venison
200ml / 7fl oz Marsala
400ml / 14fl oz water
3 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
1 large sprig parsley – or 3 bouquet garnis
50g / 2oz fresh cranberries
100g / 4oz cooked chestnuts

250g / 9oz gram (chickpea) flour
150g / 5 1/2oz rice flour
1 level tsp xanthan gum
200g / 7oz vegetable fat or dairy free spread
120ml / 4fl oz chilled water
1 egg (optional)

Heat the oil in a heavy pan and add the shallots. Cook briskly for a few minutes, then add the mushrooms.
Season the flour in a bowl and then use it to coat the venison pieces all over.
Add the floured venison to the pot and fry briskly to seal.
Add the Marsala and use to prise any stuck bits off the bottom of the pan, then stir in the water. Add the herbs and mix all together well.
Bring to the boil then cover and lower the heat. Simmer for approximately 1 hour or till the venison is quite tender, then add the chestnuts and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. Season to taste then cool in the pan.

To make the pastry, sift the flour with the xanthan gum then rub in the fat either by hand or in a food processor.
Add the water and mix gently till it pulls together.
Meanwhile, heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4.

Roll our 2/3 of the pastry and use it to cover the bottom and sides of a pie dish. Don’t worry if it falls apart slightly – just patch the tears with spare pastry and use a little water to stick the joins together.
Spoon the venison mixture into the pie.
Roll out the remains of the pastry. Wet the edges of the pie dish then lift the top onto the pie. Once again, do not worry if it tears as you can always patch the tears with pastry scraps.
Press down the edges fo the pie and decorate with leaves of balls.
If you are using the egg, beat one egg in a small bowl, then use it to brush the top of the pie.
Bake for 70 minutes by which time the pastry should be cooked and tanned and the filling well heated through.

Serves 4 - generously - per portion

Calories 1164Kcals
64g Protein
59g Fat (12g Sat fat, 22g mono, 22g poly)
83g Carbohydrate of which 10g Sugar
10g Fibre, 538mg Sodium, 1.3g salt
178mg Calcium

Good Source: vitamin B1, B2, B6, B12, folate, iron, zinc

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