Venison and Tater Tot Shepherd's Pie
You've already put in the hard work harvesting the venison, make this delicious shepherd's pie a little bit easier by using tater tots for the topping.
- 2 cups ground venison
- 4 tbs butter, divided
- 2 tbs flour
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 3 carrots, sliced
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 ribs celery, sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 2 cups beef, mushroom, or vegetable broth
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 sprigs thyme, divided
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 3 cups frozen tater tots, thawed
- Preheat the oven to 450 F
- In a large pan, melt 2 tbs butter over high heat. Once the butter begins to foam, add the mushrooms. Stirring occasionally, sauté until golden. Add the wine and Worcestershire sauce. Scrape along the bottom of the pan to release any browned bits, and bring the wine to a boil. Let the wine reduce to almost nothing.
- Add the remaining butter and let it melt. Toss in the carrots, onions, and celery, then cook to begin to soften, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic then cook a minute longer.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the venison. Cook all the way through then add the flour. Stir and cook for a minute longer.
- Add the broth, one sprig of thyme, paprika, and nutmeg and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, then cover and cook for about 10 minutes to thicken the sauce. Transfer this mixture to a 2 quart baking dish.
- Add the tater tots to a food processor. Remove the thyme leaves from the remaining sprig and toss them in as well. Pulse the tots until broken up into a medium-fine crumb. Scatter this over the top of the casserole, then bake until the filling bubbles and the top is golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.