With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, this is a fun twist on Shepard’s Pie. They can be made ahead of time if you are feeding a crowd.
Hunter’s Pie Baked Potatoes
1.5 lb ground venison
1/2 red onion, minced
2 cloves garlic
2 carrots, finely diced
1 cup of peas
1 tsp. minced thyme or oregano, 1/2 tsp if using ground
1/2 cup chopped parsley (optional)
2 cups diced tomatoes (or a 14.5 oz can)
a splash of wine, Guinness, or vermouth to deglaze the pan (optional)
4 large baking potatoes, such as russet
4 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375°F. Wash and dry the baking potatoes, pierce potatoes on all sides with a fork and rub a bit of olive oil over the potatoes. Place on oven rack and bake until tender, about 45 minutes-1 hour.
Meanwhile brown ground venison in a skillet over medium heat on the stove (you may need to add a bit of olive oil depending on your pan and if the venison is sticking). Add the onion, carrots, peas, 1 clove of minced garlic, thyme, and a handful of chopped parsley. Saute a few minutes. Add about 2 Tbsp of wine or Guinness or vermouth to deglaze the pan, scraping up any bits (optional). Add the tomatoes and stir well. Cook until the liquid is absorbed and the meat is cooked through. Keep warm until the potatoes are done.
When the potatoes are done cooking and cool enough to handle, cut them in half lengthwise. Scoop the inside of the potato out into a bowl (a metal spoon or small ice cream scoop works well for this) leaving the wall of the potato intact.
Place the hollowed out potato skins on a baking sheet. Add butter, milk, and 1 clove of minced garlic to the insides of the potato and mash/whip the potatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place mashed/whipped potatoes into a quart size plastic bag and cut the corner to make a pastry-type bag or use a pastry bag and tip if you have one. Spoon the venison mixture into the potato skins and then pipe some of the whipped potatoes on top. (The potatoes can be placed in the fridge at this stage for a few hours until ready to heat for dinner- this makes them a fun, and easy thing to serve for a dinner party with friends and family)
Put the potatoes back into the oven and cook about 10 minutes until heated through. Serves 4.