Signature Beef Pie.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

The idea of making pies has always been one that has gripped me. To be able to produce a crumbly, meaty, family-unifying meal is surely an invaluable skill, right? So I've practiced a couple of times and I've settled on a recipe that I think I'll be going back to for years. I've wanted to share this one with you guys for ages, but wanted to get it perfect! 
And guess what, nobody will know it's been made on a student budget or skill set, promise!

For the filling you will need:
500g diced beef
50g flour
2 carrots
2 red onions
7-10 mushrooms
1 can Guinness
150g strong cheddar cheese  
Salt, pepper, rosemary

For the pastry you will need:
400g plain flour
200g unsalted butter
4 tablespoons cold water
1 egg for glazing
To begin with, mix 50g of flour with salt and pepper.

Coat each piece of meat in the flour mixture. This will not only seal each individual piece but give you an irresistibly thick pie gravy.

Dice up your onions and chop your carrots.

Slice the mushrooms.

Combine together in a pan and soften. Once soft, add in the floured meat and brown.

Now for the Guinness. I'm a bit of a Guinness novice and my can punished me thusly:

Pour into the pie contents once the meat is brown. Add salt, pepper and rosemary to taste and then whack in the slow cooker for about 4 hours. If you don't have a slow cooker, you can put it in the oven for 2 hours at 180c.
If you're reluctant to use Guinness/don't fancy drinking the other three cans, my Grandmother shared a little tip with me. Crumble a beef oxo cube into a mug, add a tablespoon of Marmite and fill the mug to the top with boiling water. Mix et voilĂ ! Guinness alternative. 

Now to make some wonderful, buttery pastry.
I've gone with my favourite shortcrust recipe that never lets me down and is oh-so therapeutic to make.
Preheat the oven to 180c.
Begin by combining the flour and butter. Make sure it is cold and diced. Crumble together and then add 4 tablespoons of water.

Once the pastry is in a ball divide it into two thirds and one.

Roll out the two thirds and line the bottom of a dish with it.

Trim the edges until it just overlaps the dish.

Pile your filling into the dish.

Grate the cheddar over the top. You can omit this, but it adds a wonderful richness.

Roll out the top and cover your pie. Marry the pastry together with a fork, make a slit in the middle to release steam and make some decoration to top. I've gone with traditional leaves but don't hold back if you're feeling adventurous...

Brush with an egg.

Whack into the oven for 45 minutes and serve with buttery mash and steaming vegetables once you can see the filling bubbling through the pastry.
I served mine with pride for my sister's birthday and it served six and there was still leftovers for lunch the next day!

I hope you treasure this recipe as much as I do.  

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