Emeril's Venison Shepherd's Pie




6 servings


2 large Idaho potatoes, about 1¾ pounds, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
3 cloves garlic, smashed
4 cups water
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
¾ cup well-shaken buttermilk
¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1¾ cup beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 ounces bacon, sliced into ¼-inch slices
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped carrot
½ cup chopped celery
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tablespoon minced garlic
4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
¼ pound ground lean pork
1 pound ground venison
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
¼ pound cheddar, grated


  1. Add the potatoes, garlic, water and 2 tablespoons salt to a small sauce pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low, and simmer until potatoes are knife tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and discard water from the potatoes. Mash together potatoes and garlic with a potato masher until completely broken up. Stir in the butter, buttermilk, and white pepper. Set mashed potatoes aside until ready to use.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Combine the broth and tomato paste in a small container and set aside until ready to use. It is not necessary to dissolve the tomato paste.
  3. Set a 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the bacon. Cook, stirring as needed until fat is rendered and bacon begins to crisp, about 2 minutes. Add the onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf and thyme sprigs to the pan and cook, continuing to stir, until vegetables are soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes. Move the vegetables to the sides of the pan. Add the ground pork and venison to the center of the pan and brown for 2 minutes. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and add the remaining teaspoon of salt and black pepper. Stir to combine the meat with the vegetables. Whisk in the broth and tomato paste. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce. Transfer the meat and vegetables to a 6-cup baking dish using a large slotted spoon. Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs.
  4. Continue to reduce the liquid remaining in the pan until it is thickened and bubbly over the entire surface, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Pour the liquid into the baking dish. Using a flexible spatula, dollop and smooth the mashed potatoes over the top. Sprinkle with cheddar. Set the baking dish on a baking sheet and bake until bubbly for 10 minutes. Increase oven temperature to broil and cook until cheese is browned, 3 minutes. Remove Shepherd’s Pie from the oven and set aside to cool 10 minutes before serving.

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