I am a big fan of the recipes found in Das Kochbuch der Sabina Welserin. They’re full of flavor, they’re recognizable, and they take little to no tweaking to fit the modern palate. Fitting all three of these categories makes my life easier as I’m planning my menus, so I go back to this cookbook over and over.
For my barony’s first Twelfth Night revel in many years, I wanted to use locally-sourced venison, which was made easy by the family farm. Because this was a small feast and this was one of the main courses, I added standard pot-pie vegetables. The rye crust turned out to be a problem because of how coarsely-ground the flour I chose was, so it ended up as a shell and a crumble instead of a flat pie topper; this is definitely something I’ll revisit and experiment with until I get it right.
66 A game pie
Das Kochbuch der Sabina Welserin, 1553
“Take beef fat, and chop it small, and rosemary, which can be fresh or dried. If you have none, take marjoram or anise or sage, as much as you would like. Chop them finely together, put cloves, pepper, ginger and salt into it, as much as you would like, pour one pint of wine on it. The game must be cooked beforehand. And make a shaped pastry the same way as for the veal pie, and let it bake, serve it warm. In this manner one can also prepare a loin roast. ”
Makes: 1 large pie
1 lb Venison
~1.5 bottles Cabernet Sauvignon (or red wine of your choice)
Herb bag (or linen or cheesecloth)
1 med onion, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
1 c mushrooms, sliced
2-3 potatoes, chopped
Thoroughly soak your venison in a water-vinegar mixture until all the blood has been leeched out. (I usually do two 1-hr long soaks, but it can take longer depending on how well the deer was processed.)
Because this particular venison was a bit tough, I boiled the venison in a 1-part water, 1-part wine mixture with the herbs secured in an herb bag until the meat was cooked through. (This saves you the grief of picking out the rosemary bit-by-bit!) Use this time to chop your vegetables.
Once the meat was cooked through, I drained the water mixture, replenished my herb bag, and added roughly 1/2-3/4 bottle of wine, some water, and 2 tubs of Knorr’s concentrated beef stock to the pot, along with the herbs, spices, and vegetables. Unfortunately, all this is to taste — I don’t use measuring spoons in my kitchen if I can avoid it. 🙂 Bring your pot to a boil, then continue simmering at a reduced temperature until your vegetables are finished.
If you don’t want to make a pie, then you could cut the recipe here and have a nice stew instead. If you want to make the pie, then onwards!
Next, pull your meat and veggies from the pot and bring that delicious stock back to a hard boil, and make sure to stir it frequently. Reduce it by about a half, then pull it from the heat. If the reduction is still to runny, thicken it with cornstarch or flour until you reach the desired thickness of your gravy. Pour it over your meat and veggies and set it aside.
The last step is the obvious — you’ll need to have prepped your pie crust, whether hand-made or store-bought, you’ll pre-bake it, load the shell, and place the crust topper, and bake until crust is finished. I’m omitting my rye crust, since I wasn’t pleased with it. Google is your friend to find a recipe that works for you!