North America is full of large and — if dealt with properly — tasty ungulates. One of which is the grand ole dinosaur of them all, the moose.
Moose is a main staple at my table because of the incredible amount of meat from the big Canadian bull I hunted and took back to Utah in the fall of 2018. Every icy mile along the Banff highway there and back was totally worth it. The 500-plus pounds of cooler-packed red meat has provided years of dinners, lunches, and snacks. Among my favorites is this moose meat shepherd’s pie variation. It’s a perfect way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
A hearty dish that you can serve up for large gatherings, shepherd’s pie is prep-intensive but worth the effort. It’s a great addition to the winter repertoire. I was first exposed to this version of the dish through a friend, Steve Barker, a former Recon Marine who also has a few cooking tricks up his sleeve.
- Olive oil
- 1 to 1 1/2 pounds ground moose, or other venison or beef
- Salt and pepper
- 1 large carrot, grated
- 1 large onion, grated
- 4 cloves minced garlic (more or less to taste)
- Fresh rosemary
- Fresh thyme
- 1 small can of tomato puree or paste
- Several splashes of Worcestershire sauce
- Several glugs of red wine
- About 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 1 cup of frozen peas
- About 1 1/2 pounds golden potatoes
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 3 1/2 tablespoons butter
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (minimum)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Heat olive oil in a large pan, then add the moose meat. Brown the meat, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Once the meat is browned, incorporate the carrot, onion, garlic, herbs, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, lightly mixing.
- Once totally incorporated, add the red wine and let that reduce for 5 minutes. Then add the chicken stock and let it reduce on low for 3 minutes.
- Add the green peas and stir.
- While you’re working on the moose mixture, boil the potatoes in salted water until fork-tender. Drain the water, then add the heavy cream, butter, egg yolks, salt, and pepper.
- Place meat mixture in a baking dish and cover completely with mashed potato mixture. Finish with the grated Parmesan cheese over the top.
- Put the shepherd’s pie in the oven and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour. It’s done when the top develops a nice golden color.