This easy recipe uses puff pastry dough to make homemade meat pies you can eat with your hands. Buttery dough is filled with tender, lightly spiced ground venison, then baked until golden.
These simple meat pies are made with freezer aisle puff pastry and ground venison. The deer meat is sauteed with yellow onions before being spiced with cinnamon and allspice, then mixed with currants.
Sound unusual to have cinnamon in a savory recipe? Well, as I mentioned in this baked chicken thighs recipe, cinnamon brings a warm and flavorful dimension to meat dishes that is actually quite mouth-watering! The meat filling is wrapped in puff pastry, then baked until golden for a perfect pocket pie that you can eat with your hands. I do add a small amount of cheese to the filling, but you can certainly add more if you want to eat cheesier pies.
The dough used to make these pies is store-bought, making them very easy to make as a last-minute meal. You can find the full ingredient list in the recipe card below, but here are a few notes on some of the ingredients:
- Ground venison – You can also use ground elk, bison or beef.
- Mozzarella cheese – Choose a good quality, low moisture mozzarella to shred, or goat cheese. You can adjust the amount of cheese you use if you prefer a cheesier pie.
- Currants – You can also use raisins.
- Pine Nuts – These are optional.
Can I Use Ground Beef Instead?
Yes. This recipe will work with other types of ground meats like beef, ground elk, or ground bison. The flavors and texture of the pies will vary slightly depending on which meat you use.
Where Can I Find Ground Venison?
Depending on where you live, deer meat can be bought fresh when hunted in season. You can also find it frozen in some specialty shops and grocery stores. If you happen to live in proximity to a hunting community, the best place to source venison is from the hunters themselves, or from your local grocer.
If you live where venison is trickier to come by, you can look into ordering game meat online. In the US, I’ve had success ordering from Fossil Farms when I can’t find what I’m looking for locally.
How to Make Ground Venison Meat Pies
Before you begin, remove your puff pastry from the freezer and set it on the counter to defrost while you prepare the ingredients.
Prepare the venison filling. Sauté the onion over medium heat. Next add in the meat, garlic and spices (apart from the parsley), and gently brown the meat until it’s cooked through. Season the filling with a generous pinch of salt and a dash of pepper while it continues to cook for another couple of minutes. Lastly, stir in the currants, pine nuts, and chopped fresh parsley before allowing the filling to cool.
Prepare the puff pastry. Set your oven to 350 degrees F. While the oven is preheating, lay out your puff pastry sheets and cut them into equal sized pieces. Carefully roll these out into rectangles, without pressing too hard as this risks flattening the pastry layers.
Fill the pastry dough. Place 2-3 spoonfuls of the pie filling onto one half of each rectangle. Leave about a half-inch border between the filling and the dough edges. Sprinkle the filling with cheese.
Fold the pies. I like to give the dough edges a quick brush with water to help them stick. Next, fold the dough over the filling and gently press the edges down. Use the tines of a fork to seal the pie edges (also for aesthetic purposes!).
Brush with egg wash. Place the folded pies smooth-side-up on a lined baking sheet. Mix the egg yolk with a bit of water and then give the tops of the pies a gentle brush with the egg wash.
Bake. Bake the pies in the preheated oven until the pastry is puffed up and golden, about 25 to 30 minutes. Give the pies a few minutes to cool once they’re out of the oven, then serve.
Tips for Success
- Adjust the amount of cheese. The pies in this recipe aren’t super cheesy, with about one tablespoon per pie. If you’d rather have a cheesier hand pie, you can add up to three tablespoons of your choice of cheese.
- Make the filling ahead. The venison mixture can be prepared up to two days in advance. Store it airtight in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. Then just proceed with the recipe as directed!
- Add veggies. You can add diced potatoes, carrots or peas to the filling. Saute any veggies with the onions before adding the ground meat and make sure they are cooked through. Meat pies are also a great way to use up any leftover cooked vegetables you may have in the fridge.
How to Store and Reheat Extras
These meat pies will be at their best and flakiest on the day they’re baked. However, they will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 3 days. When it comes to reheating hand pies, my preferred way to do it is in the oven as this will help revive the pastry.
Wrap the pie in foil and place it in a 350 degree F oven until heated through, then remove the foil to let the exterior crisp up a bit for the last minute or two.
Can I Freeze These?
You can! The best way to freeze these venison meat pies is prior to baking. Follow the recipe as directed right up until you would normally bake them. Instead, place the baking sheet in the freezer and let the pies freeze until solid. Then just transfer the pies to a resealable freezer bag to store frozen for up to 2 months.
Bake the individual pies straight from frozen, adding about 5-10 extra minutes to the baking time.Print
Easy Ground Venison Meat Pies
This easy recipe uses puff pastry dough to make homemade meat pies you can eat with your hands. Buttery, flakey dough is filled with tender, lightly spiced ground venison.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 12 pies
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large Vidalia onion, minced
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 pound ground venison or elk
- 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 2 tablespoons currants (or small black raisins)
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts (optional)
- 4 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley (fresh, not dry)
- 17 ounces puff pastry (2 sheets)
- About 4–6 oz of good quality shredded mozzarella cheese (low moisture) or goat cheese (more if you want the pies to be cheesy)
- 1 egg yolk + 1 teaspoon water
Remove a puff pastry sheet from the freezer and set aside to thaw.
Make the filling.
Over medium heat fry the onion in the oil until soft and golden, about 15 minutes. Add the meat, butter, garlic, and spices except for the parsley. Cook for about 5 minutes until heated through. Cook until the meat is no longer pink and the juices have reduced. Add a generous pinch of kosher salt, and a few shakes of black pepper. Continue to cook for 2 to 3 more minutes then taste and adjust salt as needed.
Stir in the currants or raisins, pine nuts, and chopped parsley, then let the mixture cool.
Assemble the Meat Pies and Bake
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Cut each puff pastry sheet into 6 pieces of equal size. Roll each piece of dough out on a lightly floured counter, into a rectangle about 7 x 5 inches. (Be careful not to press down too hard, be gentle, otherwise, you’ll risk crushing the layers of pastry dough together.)
When you’ve rolled each piece of dough, place filling onto one half of each rectangle, leaving a 1/2-inch margin around the edges. Top with a sprinkle of cheese. I use about 2-3 tablespoons of filling and about 1 tablespoon of cheese but you can use more cheese if you like. Just make sure you can seal your pies.
Brush the edges of the dough with water to make them stick together better. Fold the pastry over to cover the filling and create a square. Gently press the tines of a fork along the edges to seal and create a pretty pattern, then trim any superfluous pastry around the pie with a knife.
In a small bowl, whisk together an egg yolk with 1 teaspoon of water.
Place the pies on the prepared baking sheet and brush the tops with the egg mixture.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until puffed up and golden.
This recipe makes meat pies that are not super cheesy, with about only 1 tablespoon of cheese per pie. You can add up to 3 tablespoons if you’d like a cheesier hand pie.
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Keywords: ground venison recipes, meat pies, hand pies, puff pastry recipes