Steak, Guinness and Mushroom Pie

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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.

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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!

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We had some guests over for Valentines dinner, hence the pastry hearts on top of the pie.

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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.

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Steak, Guinness and Mushroom Pie

adapted from Good Housekeeping Step-by-Step Baking

Serves 6

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

50g butter

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

Pastry

300g plain white flour

175g butter

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.


No more cold cuts please – Turkey, Ham and Leek Pie

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your family and loved ones and that it was not too stressful if you were the one in charge of feeding the masses. We always end up with loads of turkey and ham/gammon leftovers and whilst cold cuts are delicious for maybe one or two sittings, any more than that and one craves for variety. I felt a good old fashioned pie would be the perfect way to use up some of the leftovers and fill the bellies of my guests. Whilst I had every intention of following the recipe on  ‘lovefoodhatewaste’ I ended up deviating off a lot to the extent that I think it is better to describe the recipe on the site as giving me ‘inspiration’. I found that the dish to be a hit and it was polished off completely in one sitting.

Turkey, Ham and Leek Pie

serves 8

450g turkey, (or chicken) cut into small sized chunks

350g ham/gammon, cut into small sized chunks

5 leeks, chopped

2 celery, chopped

100g mushrooms, chopped

2 tsp of cornflour

1-1.5 litres of turkey stock

pinch of salt

black pepper

400g of shortcrust pastry or ready made

1 egg, lightly beaten

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

2. Evenly chop the celery, leeks and mushrooms and place most of them on the bottom of the pie dish. (The dish I used was 35cm length by 24cm width). This will allow the vegetables to cook properly through when they are in the oven.

3. Cut the turkey and ham into small sized chunks and scatter over the vegetables along with the remainder of the vegetables that you put to one side.

4. If you have any turkey stock left over use that, otherwise, use chicken stock cubes, such as knorr. I also had some juices left from the ham so I managed to combine these into the stock as well giving it a really delicious taste. Add approximately 1.5 litres of stock to the pan and warm it through completely. Place 2 teaspoons of cornflower into a small bowl along with a couple of tablespoons of cold water. Stir until the cornflour is smooth and watery and add to the stock to thicken it. As an alternative to stock, you could use a tin or two of Campbell’s chicken soup so as to give it a creamier consistency.

5. Add the stock over the meat and vegetables and using your hands try and make sure all the pieces are covered to some degree in the stock. Add salt and pepper to season.

Easy Shortcrust Pastry

400g plain flour

200g butter, cubed

2-3 tbsp of cold water

6. To make your own pastry, simply place the plain flour into a large mixing bowl along with the cubed butter (room temperature is best). Using your finger tips gently mix the butter and flour together so that it begins to crumble. Using a knife stir in a little water into the dough so that it binds together. If you put in too much water just add a little extra flour. Once the dough has come together, form a ball and cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge for 15 minutes.

7. Roll the pastry out onto a cold floured surface. Once it is larger than your pie dish gently place it over the top of your filling making sure the extra pastry hangs over the sides. I find it is best to use the rolling pin to place it gently on top. Press down at the edges using your finger and thumb so that the pastry is completely secure. Using a knife cut the extra pastry that is hanging over the sides. You can then get creative on the top of your pie using the left over pastry.

8. To help give your pie the perfect brown glow, gently brush the top of the pie with your beaten egg.

9. Using a fork place a few fork marks over the top of your pastry so that it can let out the air within the body of the pie when cooking.

10. Place in the oven for 30-40 minutes, checking to see that it does not brown too much. Serve immediately with peas and new potatoes.