You could prepare these venison, Stilton & rosemary pasties on a Sunday morning before heading out for a winter walk. Put them in the oven when you’re back home and they’ll warm your fingers and your hearts!
300g stewing venison, chopped into small chunks
3 tbsp plain flour
2 tsp English mustard powder
2 tbsp vegetable, sunflower or rapeseed oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 rosemary sprigs, leaves picked and chopped
100ml pale ale
1 beef stock cube
1 medium potato, finely diced
1 tbsp honey
70g Stilton, crumbled
For the pastry
300g plain flour
1 tsp English mustard powder
125g butter, chilled
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp poppy seeds
Toss the venison in the flour, mustard powder and plenty of seasoning. Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish, and brown the venison in batches. Take your time doing this to build up some good meaty flavours. Transfer the venison to a plate.
Add the onion to the dish and cook for 5 mins to soften, stirring to release any meaty bits from the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle any remaining flour back into the dish and add the rosemary, ale, stock cube, venison, some salt, plenty of black pepper and 200ml water. Cover and cook for 45 mins until the meat is tender but not falling apart. Stir every now and then, and add a splash of water if the dish looks dry
Add the potato, honey and a splash of water if necessary. Cover and cook for 10 mins until the potato is just cooked. Leave to cool completely (you can chill overnight or freeze for up to two months).
To make the pastry, tip the flour into a bowl and add the mustard powder and 1 tsp salt. Grate the butter into the flour, mixing in the strands and dipping the end of the block in flour every now and then to prevent it from clumping. Use a cutlery knife to stir the butter into the flour. Add 100-125ml cold water and mix again with your knife until the pastry forms a dough. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 1 hr, removing the pastry from the fridge 10 mins before you roll it.
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. On a floured surface, roll the pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin. Use a plate as a guide to cut out six 16cm circles. You may have to reroll the scraps to make all six.
Divide the venison stew between the pastry discs, piling up the filling on one side. Crumble a little Stilton over each one. Brush egg wash around the end of each pastry circle, then lift one side and stick down on the other to create pasties. Use a fork, or two fingers, to crimp the edges firmly shut. Transfer to baking trays lined with baking parchment and brush with more beaten egg. Brush with egg and cover in poppy seeds. You can now chill for 24 hrs, or cook straight away.
Bake for 30 mins, swapping the trays over halfway through cooking if you need to, until the pastry is crisp and golden. Serve warm