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Tahr Pie

By MacLean Fraser


Everybody loves a good pie so why not try putting a spin on the good old Kiwi classic? This recipe utilises the shoulder meat and you could substitute the Tahr with Venison shoulder or Goat shoulder if you like and it will still turn out great.

The cooking method is the same as if you are making a stew but it’s important that when adding the corn flour at the end you make it a bit thicker than usual so while still being nice and saucy it isn’t so thin that the sauce runs out of the pie when you’re baking it. Some cheese is a nice addition here and the pies can be made well in advance and heated gently in the oven when needed or even frozen. 


Makes 4-6 portions.



1kg Diced, trimmed tahr shoulder

1/2 Onion

3 Cloves garlic

1 Bottle Speights or any other ale beer

200ml Red wine

Chicken stock (or water) - enough to cover

1 Sprig thyme

1 Sprig rosemary

2 Bay leaves

20g Dried mushrooms (Porcini best but can use Shitake or other mixed mushrooms)

2 Tbsp Duck fat (or butter or cooking oil)

Corn flour

Salt and pepper



Puff Pastry

1 Egg

2 Tbs Melted butter

Cheese (optional)



Crush the garlic and dice the onion. Roughly chop the dried mushrooms. Heat the duck fat in a pot and cook off the garlic and onion. In 4 or 5 batches, brown off the diced Tahr in a Dutch oven or hot pan with a little oil until nicely browned on all sides.


If using a Dutch oven then add the beer and wine and simmer for 5mins to burn off the raw alcohol flavour. Combine with the herbs and mushrooms in the Dutch oven or a deep oven dish (adding enough water or chicken stock if needed so that the ingredients are just covered) and braise slowly in the oven at 150C until the meat is nice and tender; about 2-3hrs.


Once the meat is tender drain the cooking liquid into a pot (discarding any herb stalks and the bay leaves) and reduce on the stove top until the flavour has intensified and is nice and rich. Season with salt and pepper if needed.


In a small bowl mix some corn flour with a little cold water, mix in a little of the hot braising liquor to temper it and avoid lumps then stir or whisk this back into the braising liquor and bring to the boil to thicken. Add as much corn flour as you need so that it is nice and thick. Add the sauce back to the meat and cool.


Using a pastry brush grease several small (or one large) pie tins with some melted butter and line the base with puff pastry then fill to the top with the cold pie mix (and crumble some blue cheese or cheddar on top if you like).


Place some puff pastry on top for a lid and crimp the edges with a fork and make a couple of slashes in the top of the pastry or a small hole to let the steam out when it’s baking. Trim off any excess pastry from the edges and brush the top with some whisked egg. Bake 1t 180C for about 15-20 mins or until the pastry is cooked and a nice golden brown.


Serve with some buttery mash, vegetables and a nice gravy or jus.


About MacLean

“I am a professional chef and amateur hunter. I have spent time hunting in most of the North Island ranges but do most of my hunting in the Tararua’s.


Working as a chef has sent me to several locations in the world and I have worked in New Zealand, Malaysia, Cook Islands and the Maldives.


I first started out hunting rabbits and possums with my old man when I was a kid before moving on to goats and deer as I grew older. As a chef I like to use the best produce available. Hunters when killing humanely and taking only what they need can end up cooking with not only the most ethically harvested meat but when dealt with properly, the best quality also.


I think it’s really important to know where your food comes from and how best not to waste it, and that’s why I think hunting and cooking marry so well together and that’s what I hope to promote and achieve through sharing the recipes and techniques we use to cook wild game professionally.”


MacLean Fraser 


MacLean Fraser,

Executive Chef,

Artisan Dining House,

Bolton Hotel,



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