For those who like their meat traditionally made, this pie is seriously off the charts TASTY. I rarely cook pies as I regard Mr.B’s frame as requiring no extra investment from the pastry department, but when I do I really savour and enjoy every mouthful. Whilst the photo above shows the pie pre pastry topping, the ones lower down show it in all its glory. I apologise though for the rather poor quality of photographs. Normally I shoot my photographs earlier in the day so as to catch natural light, but for this post I wanted to eat the pie as soon as it emerged from the oven in the evening…..so I took the photos with candlelight….BIG mistake as they really don’t do the dish justice. Anyway I hope you will overlook the photographs here this once and just trust me when I say this pie is an absolute winner.
You’ll need to get hold of a bottle of Guinness, which gives the pie a fantastic depth of flavour. The pie doesn’t require a whole bottle so you will have some to sip whilst the pie is cooking!
We had some guests over for Valentines dinner, hence the pastry hearts on top of the pie.
Happily our guests were very happy to receive such comfort food on a cold February evening and we all found it very easy to over-indulge. In these days of calorie counting and healthy eating at every corner, it was very refreshing to have some warming, nourishing food with no attempt at modernisation or a “skinny version”. Indeed after the sacrifices of January, pairing this with some mature, spicy Rhone red wine was blissful.
Steak, Guinness and Mushroom Pie
adapted from Good Housekeeping Step-by-Step Baking
700g stewing steak, cubed (from your reliable local butcher)
flour, for coating
salt and pepper
175g bacon lardons/pancetta or bacon chopped into small pieces
2 white onions, peeled and diced
2 garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1/2 tsp ground allspice
300ml/1/2 pint Guinness
150ml (1/4 pint) beef stock – I use this
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 bay leaves
400g button mushrooms
300g plain white flour
1 tsp salt
180-200ml iced water
1 egg, whisked with a little water
1. In a mixing bowl place the cubed stewing steak, a little dusting of flour and salt and pepper. Mix together gently with your hands.
2. In a large pan dry fry the bacon/lardons/pancetta gently until it has browned and then remove with a slotted spoon.
3. In the same pan place half the butter and cook the stewing steak in batches, for around 5 minutes each batch. Add the fresh thyme, onions, garlic and allspice to the steak and stir in well together. After 10 minutes, by which time the onion and garlic will be nicely cooked, add the bacon.
4. Pour in the Guinness, beef stock, tomato paste and bay leaves and gently simmer for one hour, by which time the beef will be deliciously tender.
5. Heat the remaining butter in a separate pan and add the mushrooms until they are lightly browned and then add to the stewing steak. Give a good stir before placing into a pie dish and discarding the bay leaves. Leave to cool completely before adding the pastry topping. (see first photo in the post!)
6. To prepare the pastry sift the flour and salt into a bowl and cut the butter into very small cubes before placing into the flour. Using your finger tips, lightly rub the butter into the flour so that it begins to form a crumbly consistency. Add a little water at a time to form a dough ball. Place on a clean dry surface and knead together until it is smooth. You may need to add a little more flour if it is too sticky! Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge to chill for around 20 minutes.
7. Roll the pastry out so that it sufficiently covers the pie dish. The one I use is 31x22x6cm. Gently cut around the pie dish where there is excess pastry. With the extra overhanging bits of pastry, create pastry leaves, hearts, stars, words, basically whatever takes your fancy, to place on top of your pie. Using your thumb and index finger pinch the pastry gently around the edges so as to give a wave effect. Lightly brush the pastry with the whisked egg and use a little water to keep any parts of the pastry in place.
8. Place in a preheated oven at 180 degrees (if using fan, ten degrees more if not) for 35 minutes or until the pastry is golden.
Serve immediately with mashed potato, red cabbage or greens.
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