Beef shin, venison and wild mushroom pithivier by Matt & Vlad, The Cooks Shed

Matt says: “These are the ultimate comfort food in a handy package. Warming and indulgent, they are essentially a French form of pie, but of course, being French have that little something else. We use fresh wild mushrooms when we can find them, our own dried ones when we can’t, and sometimes a mixture.”

Makes 2


  • 300g all butter puff pastry
  • 2 eggs whisked (for egg wash)
  • 200g of beef shin, diced
  • 200g of venison haunch, diced
  • 100g of fresh or rehydrated wild mushrooms (reserve mushroom water if using rehydrated)
  • 1 medium onion (finely diced)
  • 2 garlic cloves (pureed)
  • fresh thyme (chopped)
  • salt and pepper
  • beef or chicken stock
  • a generous splash of good red wine

For the filling

Make sure you cook all the filling in the same dish – this allows caramelisation at the bottom of the pot which will really intensify the flavour of the finished pie.

In a casserole dish over a medium to high heat, add a little oil and brown the beef in small batches so as not to crowd the pan. Remove and reserve the meat.

Next do the same with the venison.

Now brown the mushrooms in the same dish, just long enough to start caramelisation of the mushrooms but before the meat residues on the bottom of the dish start to get too dark.

Add onions, garlic and thyme, cook for a couple of minutes.

Add wine, then the beef shin (not the venison) and enough stock to just cover all the ingredients in the dish.

Cook on a medium heat for 30–45 min, then taste some of the beef to test for tenderness. Beef shin cooks surprisingly quickly, much quicker than brisket for example.

The cooking liquid might reduce during this process so be ready to add a bit more stock if necessary (or mushroom stock if you are using dry mushrooms and have reserved the liquid after rehydrating).

When the beef has become relatively tender add the venison cubes and cook out for another 10–15 minutes.

Remove the meat and mushrooms from the broth, reserve a portion of the liquid for gravy, then reduce by half to thicken.

Return the other ingredients to the reduced broth, season to taste then set aside to cool down completely. Once the filling has reached room temperature place in the fridge to allow to firm up. This will make assembly of the pithivier easier.

For the pithivier

Heat the oven to 175C.

On a floured surface, roll out the pastry to approximately the thickness of a pound coin. Now cut out four disks from the pastry – two approximately 10 centimetre diameter, two 16 cm. The smaller ones will form the bases. The neatest way is to find two appropriately sized plates, bowls or saucers and cut around them.

Place one of the smaller, base disks on your surface. Carefully spoon half of the cooled filling mixture into a heap in the centre of the disk, leaving about 2cm all round the filling. Brush the outside of the disk with beaten egg.

Gently lift one of the larger disks onto the filling, Carefully push down the edges to line up with the base then push and softly mould all around to form a dough containing the filling. Use your finger tips to push all around trying not to leave any air pockets. Use a blunt instrument such as a fork handle to push pleats all around the base, approximately 1 cm apart, to look like outside of a child’s drawing of a flower. Turn the tip of a small sharp knife around in the top of the pithivier to create a small hole. Use the same knife to score an arc from the centre of the pithivier to one of the pleats at the base. Repeat around the whole pithivier.

Repeat for next pithivier.

Brush all over with egg wash.

Place on a greased baking sheet and into the oven. Bake for approximately 30 minutes until golden and some of the juices just start to appear in the hole at the top.

Serve with the hot reserved gravy, vegetables of your choosing and perhaps a little of your favourite chutney.

For a vegetarian pithivier  

“A good selection of veggies would be a warm salad of wilted kale, with roast carrots (rainbow if you can get them), roast celeriac and some cooked dark green or puy lentils. Dressed with salt flakes and rapeseed oil and a little cider vinegar.”

The Cooks Shed is open for takeaways this weekend (Friday and Saturday) and is taking bookings for Christmas roast packs for collection or delivery on 23rd or 24th December.

Re-opening for takeaways on Friday 8th January, Vlad says: “If anyone has any particular catering requirements over the Christmas or New Year period they can get in touch through

Chef’s Cuisine – Matt and Vlad  – The Cooks Shed

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