In celebration of British Pie Week, we asked Catering Manager Mr Wattley what he thinks is the BEST pie…

And his answer was….. Venison, Mushroom and Ale pie with shortcrust pastry

He has even provided us with the menu below, so why not give it a go?

Mr Wattley recommends serving it with pan-fried savoy cabbage and leek with fennel seeds and black pepper, steamed potatoes with fresh herbs – and an open log fire and great company




How to make…..

For the shortcrust pastry base

900g/32oz plain flour
4 tsp baking powder
120g/5oz unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the pie tin
120g/5oz lard
2 free-range egg yolk
1 tsp salt
240ml/8-9floz water

For the pie filling

4 tbsp vegetable oil
2kg/70oz venison steak, diced
125g/4½oz streaky bacon, cut into lardons
2 large onions, sliced
1 stick celery, sliced
250g/9oz chestnut mushrooms
50g/2oz plain flour
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp redcurrant jelly
500ml/17½floz beef stock
2 x 500ml/17½floz Ale
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper


  • Mix the diced venison with half the onion and celery add a few bay leaves, some fresh thyme, seasoning and the ale and leave to marinade overnight
  • For the shortcrust pastry, mix the flour, baking powder and salt together in a food processor. Add the butter and the egg yolk and pulse together until the mix resembles breadcrumbs, gradually add the water while the motor is running until the mixture comes together to form a dough (not all the water may be needed) wrap in cling film and chill for at least an hour before use
  • Drain the marinated venison meat and leave the liquor to one side, heat the vegetable oil in a large pan and brown the venison meat in small batches (try not to crowd the pan as the meat will sweat and not brown properly)once all is done transfer to another dish and put aside.
  • Using the same pan add the bacon the rest of the onions and celery and the mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes until tender, now add the browned off venison and stir together with the flour, mixing well to prevent the flour from forming lumps, cook for 1-2 mins then add the bay leaves, redcurrant jelly, stock, half the marinade liquor and thyme, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for approx. 2hrs or until the meat is tender, set aside to cool.
  • Preheat the oven to 180c / gas 4 and grease a 20cm/8in deep pie dish with unsalted butter.
  • Roll out half the pastry until big enough to line the pie dish, line the pastry with baking parchment and fill with baking beans (Dried pulses or rice will also work) Bake in the oven for 20 mins or until the pastry is golden around the edges, remove from oven and set aside until it is cool, remove the beans and discard the parchment.
  • Once sufficiently cool fill the pastry case with the cooled pie filling and top with the rest of the pastry, crimp around the edges and trim off any excess, prick the lid with a fork in several places to allow steam to escape and brush with some beaten egg.
  • Bake in the oven for 30 mins or until the pastry is golden brown.