Venison and Juniper Shepherd's Pie with Juniper and Horseradish Mashed Potatoes - The Clean Gourmet

Venison and Juniper Shepherd’s Pie with Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

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This is the time of year in which hunters begin cooking up their reserves.  Enter cozy venison shepherd’s pie with zingy horseradish mashed potatoes.  Juniper is a classic pairing with venison, so I couldn’t help but add it to the meat.  If you can’t find juniper, don’t let that discourage you from making this!  Simply omit it.

Venison Shepherd's Pie with Horseradish - The Clean Gourmet

Since venison is so lean, be sure not to overcook it in the first stage of cooking.  It’s ok to have some rare spots, especially since it will cook further in the later stages of making the pie.  Also, I only partially peel the potatoes, since the peel is full of nutrition and fiber.  However, leaving all the peel on would compromise the texture of the potato mash.

Ingredients:

For the potatoes:

2 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, partially peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

4 cups light bone broth or chicken broth

1 tablespoon grated fresh horseradish, plus more to taste

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

pinch black pepper

5 tablespoons softened butter or olive oil

For the venison:

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 pound ground venison (ground bison or grass-fed beef are good substitutes)

3 juniper berries, crushed and chopped (optional)

1 yellow onion, small dice

1 stalk celery, small dice

2 carrots, small dice

1 bay leaf

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup red wine

3 tablespoons reserved broth from potatoes

1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley, plus more to serve

1 tablespoon potato starch (or cornstarch) dissolved in 2 tablespoons broth

3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

about 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 425ºF.

Put potatoes and broth in a medium/large pot over high heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium low and cook potatoes at a simmer until tender, about 12-15 minutes.  Drain potatoes over large bowl or measuring cup, reserving liquid for venison.  Return potatoes to pot, along with horseradish, salt, pepper, and olive oil/butter. Mash with a potato masher until smooth and fluffy, adding a few tablespoons of reserved potato broth if necessary.  Set aside.

Preheat a large (preferably cast iron) high sided skillet over medium high heat.  Add olive oil, ground venison, and juniper and let brown, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon or metal spatula.  Once the venison is mostly cooked with a few rare spots, about 5 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon into a medium bowl and set aside.

With pan still hot, cook onion, celery, carrot, and bay leaf in venison drippings (add more oil if necessary) over medium high heat.  Once the vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes, add garlic and cooked venison.  Cook an additional 1-2 minutes.  Deglaze pan with red wine and allow to evaporate.  Add broth, thyme, parsley, and dissolved potato starch.  Season with salt and pepper and remove bay leaf.  If using a cast iron pan, top meat mixture with mashed potatoes directly in the pan.  Otherwise, scoop meat into into oiled casserole dish and top with mashed potatoes.  Spread the potatoes evenly, allowing for a few peaks and valleys, and brush with olive oil or spray with a Misto oil sprayer.

Bake in preheated oven 15 minutes, or until mashed potato peaks are browned.  If the potatoes need help browning, turn on the broiler for a few minutes before removing from the oven.  Sprinkle with minced parsley and serve immediately with a fresh green salad and bold red wine.


Saffron and Ginger Kabocha Soup with Black Salt and Sesame Seeds

I made this when I was visiting family in California and found some fun ingredients in the pantry.  Stuff like crystallized ginger, this World Salt Tower and black sesame seeds.  Not to mention an excellent spice selection and hyper local produce from New Leaf Community Market in Half Moon Bay.

Warm and hearty, this soup tastes like a decadent cream soup, but is actually more of a detox soup in that there is no dairy, little oil and is lightly spiced.  You’ll also get lots of carotenoids (great for the eye health) from the squash and extra minerals from the black Cyprus salt, which is Mediterranean sea salt mixed with volcanic charcoal, a natural detoxifier.

Serves 6

What you need:

1 kabocha squash (about 2.5 pounds), halved and deseeded

2 teaspoons olive oil or avocado oil

1/3 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon coconut oil

2-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced

1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped into 1/2-inch chunks

1 stalk celery, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 small (4-inch diameter) celeriac (a.k.a. celery root), peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes

3 cups chicken broth or light vegetable stock

pinch saffron

1/4 teaspoon cardamom

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

To serve:

crystallized ginger, very fine dice

black sesame seeds

black Cyprus salt

What to do:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.  Rub kabocha flesh with olive oil or avocado oil and place cut sides down on parchment.  Pour orange juice into pan and place in oven.  Roast for about 45 minutes, or until a fork easily pierces through the skin and flesh.  Remove from oven and let cool.

In a medium sauce pot, sauté the ginger, onion, celery and garlic in the coconut oil, along with the salt, over medium heat.  Stir frequently to prevent browning.  Once the onions are translucent, add the celeriac, broth, saffron and remaining spices.  Scoop out the flesh of the pumpkin and add to the soup.  Raise heat to high, bring everything to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

Ensure that the celeriac is fork tender and turn off the heat.  If time permits, allow to cool 10-15 minutes.  Put contents in blender, working in batches if your blender is small, and blend on high (though starting at LOW) until silky smooth.  Return to pot and rewarm over low heat, adding water if necessary.  Adjust for salt, keeping in mind that you will be topping with black salt just before serving.

To serve, ladle soup into warmed bowls and top with crystallized ginger (they will sink), black sesame seeds and a few flakes of black Cyprus salt.