Meat pies are a British staple that comes in many forms. The steak and Stilton pie is popular with those who enjoy the flavors of dark, stout beer and pungent Stilton blue cheese. The resulting meat pie is rich and filling—two or three of these little morsels will fill anyone’s stomach. Eat them on their own as finger food or serve with steamed peas and carrots on the side.
Beef is traditional in this meat pie recipe, but venison works just as well. Choose a cut with lots of silver skin, such as the shoulder, neck, flank, or shank.
Time to make
2 lbs. of venison roast
1/3 cup flour
1 cup shallot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tbsp. tomato paste
2 cups stout beer
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 oz. Stilton blue cheese
1 egg, beaten
7 oz. quality lard
1 cup water
18 oz. flour
½ tsp. kosher salt
Muffin pan, funnel, enamel Dutch oven
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Trim fat off the venison, but keep all silver skin intact. Cut the roast into ¾-inch cubes and lightly season with salt. In an enameled Dutch oven, heat a thin layer of oil over medium heat. Coat the venison pieces with flour. When the oil shimmers, brown the venison in batches, adding more oil as needed. Never overcrowd the pan. Set cooked meat aside.
- If needed, add more oil to the Dutch oven. Add minced shallot and sweat until slightly caramelized, adjusting heat as necessary to avoid burning. Add the garlic, bay leaf, thyme, and tomato paste. Cook for a minute, stirring frequently. Next, pour in the beer and add brown sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen the fond. Return venison to the pot. The meat should be completely submerged in beer, so add more beer or water if needed.
- Cover the pot and braise in the oven for 2 to 3 hours, or until the venison becomes tender. Stir halfway through, making sure there is still liquid in the pot. The liquid will thicken and turn into a gravy. The venison should be wet and well-coated, but not soupy. If necessary, add water or beef stock to thin out the gravy or, if it’s too soupy, simmer on the stove uncovered. Discard the bay leaf and thyme sprig when you remove the meat. Season with salt and pepper to taste and allow the stew to cool uncovered. The stew will thicken further as it cools.
- Leave the oven on and turn to 355 degrees. While the meat cools, make the hot water crust pastry. Combine water and lard in saucepan and heat until the lard is fully melted. In a mixing bowl, combine flour and kosher salt. Pour the hot water and lard into the flour mixture and stir to combine. When mixture begins to resemble dough and is cool enough to handle, place on a lightly floured surface and knead until it’s a smooth ball. Cover in plastic wrap to keep the dough from drying out.
- Lightly grease the wells in a muffin pan. Cut off a little more than 1/3 of the dough and roll out thinly. With a cookie cutter or a cup, cut dough into 12 circles to make pie tops. Cut vent holes into the middle of each circle with the narrow end of a funnel or a knife. Set “lids” aside.
- Roll out the remaining dough and cut out pieces to fit inside the muffin pan wells—these will be your pie bottoms. With your fingers, carefully mold them to fit inside the depressions, making them slightly taller than the cavity walls for easier sealing. Fill bottoms with cooled venison stew and a piece of crumbled Stilton blue cheese. Cover each pie with their lids, crimping the edges to seal.
- Lightly brush the tops with beaten egg and bake in a 355-degree oven for 55 minutes, rotating the muffin pan halfway through. Pies should turn golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before popping them out of the pan.