Venison Shepherd's Pie

Venison Shepherd's Pie

The Spruce / Laura Donovan

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 85 mins
Total: 110 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Yield: 1 pie
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
467 Calories
18g Fat
49g Carbs
27g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 467
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 10g 49%
Cholesterol 102mg 34%
Sodium 550mg 24%
Total Carbohydrate 49g 18%
Dietary Fiber 7g 24%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 27g
Vitamin C 25mg 124%
Calcium 99mg 8%
Iron 5mg 30%
Potassium 1591mg 34%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This luxurious shepherd's pie has a rich, meaty venison filling covered with fluffy, creamy mashed potatoes. It's as easy to make as the original recipe made with lamb (or beef for a cottage pie) and this homey and flavorful supper will delight everyone at the table. When cooked along with a variety of vegetables and port wine, the filling becomes hearty and flavorful, perfect crowned with creamy mashed potatoes and baked until golden and crispy on top. Because of the earthy quality of the meat, it's best served with red wine, like pinot noir, syrah, or zinfandel.


  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

  • 5 tablespoons (2 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed, divided

  • 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and quartered

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 6 tablespoons milk

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lard, or meat drippings

  • 1 cup chopped onion

  • 1 cup finely diced carrot

  • 1 cup finely diced parsnip

  • 1 cup finely diced celery

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 3/4 cup port, or good red wine

  • 2 cups ground venison

  • 1 cup beef stock, or chicken stock, divided

  • 1 cup chopped white mushrooms

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

  • 1 pinch mace, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 375 F/Gas 5/190 C.

    Venison Shepherd's Pie ingredients

    The Spruce / Laura Donovan

  2. In a small bowl, mash the flour with 1 tablespoon of butter and place in the freezer.

    flour and butter in a bowl

    The Spruce / Laura Donovan

Make the Mashed Potatoes

  1. Bring water to a boil in a large pot and add the potatoes. Cook until they are soft but not breaking up, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain through a colander.

    peeled and cut potatoes in a pot of water

    The Spruce / Laura Donovan

  2. Add the potatoes to a bowl and mash with a potato masher, ricer, or fork. Add a little salt and pepper to taste.

    potatoes mashed with a potato masher

    The Spruce / Laura Donovan

  3. Using the same pan you used to boil the potatoes, place the milk and the remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Return to the heat and gently warm until the butter has melted.

    milk and butter in a pot

    The Spruce / Laura Donovan

  4. Add the potatoes to the pot and mix well until you've achieved a creamy mash. Set aside.

    milk and butter added to the potatoes in the pot

    The Spruce / Laura Donovan

Make the Venison Filling

  1. In a large and roomy frying pan, melt the lard (or drippings). Add the onions, carrots, parsnips, and celery and saute the mixture for 5 to 6 minutes.

    onions, carrots, parsnips, and celery cooking with lard in a skillet

    The Spruce / Laura Donovan

  2. Add the chopped garlic and cook for an additional minute. Raise the heat, add the port or red wine, and let the mixture bubble for 5 minutes, or until the wine has reduced.

    add garlic and red wine to the vegetables in the pan

    The Spruce / Laura Donovan

  3. Add the minced venison to the vegetables and approximately 1/3 of the beef stock. Cook, stirring constantly until all the meat is browned.

    venison cooking in a skillet with vegetables

    The Spruce / Laura Donovan

  4. Add the remaining stock, mushrooms, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and the mace, if using. Cover and cook for 15 minutes over medium heat.

    Add the remaining stock, mushrooms, and parsley to the pan with the meat and vegetables

    The Spruce / Laura Donovan

  5. Take the flour and butter paste from the freezer and add it in tiny pieces to the pan. Stir constantly until all of the flour has dissolved and the sauce has thickened slightly, cooking for approximately 5 mins.

    add the flour and butter mixture to meat mixture in the pan

    The Spruce / Laura Donovan

Assemble and Bake the Shepherd's Pie

  1. Place the venison mixture in an 8 by 8 by 3-inch deep ovenproof dish and cover it with the mashed potatoes. Fluff up the surface of the potatoes with a fork and season again with salt and pepper.

    venison with mashed potatoes on top

    The Spruce / Laura Donovan

  2. Bake in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes until the surface is crisp and browned.

    Venison Shepherd's Pie

    The Spruce / Laura Donovan

  3. Serve immediately and enjoy.

What is Venison?

Compared to beef, venison is a moist, tender, high-in-protein, lean game meat. It is a wonderful addition to your diet and can be used in recipes as you'd use beef. Its cuts are varied and it has been used for centuries in cultures where hunting is still common. Like any animal fit for human consumption, venison meat can be used in numerous preparations, but because it's a leaner meat, sometimes additional fat is necessary for certain recipes.