Food & Wine Pairing Recipe of the Week – Dark Chocolate Venison Pie with Parsnip Topping

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Venison is abundant in Central Otago. We have many friends who fill their freezers once a year after committing to a week long hunt in the hills, especially those in Wanaka and the surrounds. This dish is great for the less attractive cuts of meat. Combined with a little fruit and the rich nuttiness of this dark chocolate pastry make this dish something very special!

Dark Chocolate Venison Pie with Parsnip Topping

Dark Chocolate Venison Pie with Parsnip Topping

Dark Chocolate Venison Pie with Parsnip Topping



  • 1 kg diced venison
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 300 mls robust red wine
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 sage leaves, chopped
  • sprig rosemary, chopped
  • 3 cloves
  • 4 cranberries, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons robust red wine
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • 175 g plain flour
  • 30 g cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 125 g butter
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon very cold water


  • 1 kg of Parsnip
  • 225 mls whole milk (approx)
  • 50 g butter
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • freshly grated nutmeg


The Venison

Mix the venison with all the marinade ingredients and marinate in a cool place for 5-7 hours or overnight. Remove from the fridge and drain being sure to reserve the marinade.

Using a casserole dish or similar heavy weighted pan, heat the oil and fry the meat at a high heat until evenly browned. The more colour the better. Do this in batches so the pan is not overcrowded and your Venison does not stew. Remove the Venison from the pan. Sift over the flour and brown lightly, then stir in the reserved marinade, scraping any meat residue from the pan. Make sure you grab this as it’s full of flavour. Pour in your red wine and gently bring to a simmer. Return meat to the pan, cover and cook at very low heat until the meat is tender and the sauce reduced and is thickly coating the meat. Season with salt and pepper.

The Pastry

Sift your flour, salt and cocoa together into a large bowl. Cut your butter into cubs, then rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs. Beat the egg yolk and water together in a small bowl, and stir into the flour mixture and mix to form clumps.

In your bowl, form the pastry into a disc then tip onto glad wrap, wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes roll your pastry out into a circle on a lightly floured surface. You will need a 26 cm pie dish. Lightly grease your dish with a little butter then lay our pasty out over your dish. Cover with crumpled greaseproof paper and top with blind baking beans or rice. Chill for 30 minutes.

The Topping

Peel, dice and boil the Parsnip in salted water until tender, approximately 20 minutes. Drain well then mash with a Potato Masher. Place mash in a clean pot to one side. Pour most of the milk into the other side of the pot and warm it. Stir the mash into the warmed milk, adding more milk to reach a soft spreadable consistency. Don’t add to much or it will go runny. Stir in the butter. Season to taste with salt pepper and nutmeg.

Assembling the Pie

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Bake the pastry case for 10 minutes, then remove the greaseproof paper and blind baking beans/rice and bake for a further 5 minutes.

Spoon the venison and sauce into the pastry case. Cover the venison with the mash. Heat until warmed through and serve.


Wine Pairing – Bald Hills Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2011

With woody hints of spice and fruit, the 2011 SVPN is the perfect match to this dish! But, if you want something with more depth we would also recommend a Shiraz.