This hearty winter pie is perfect for a cool winters night. Serve it with plenty of greens, and if the carby pastry isn’t enough, a side of creamy mashed potato.
2 onions, sliced
800g-1kg of gravy beef
2 tbsp flour
1 cup beef stock
½ cup red wine (or 2 tblsp balsamic vinegar)
1 tblsp tomato paste
2 tbsp dried porcini mushrooms
Rough Puff Pastry (recipe below)
Heat a little oil in a heavy pan or a Dutch oven and slowly cook the sliced onion. When they are soft and translucent remove them from the pan. Cut the beef into 1cm pieces and dust with the flour. Heat a little more oil in the pan and brown the meat in batches. This is a crucial step as the caramelisation of the meat will add depth of flavour to the stew so ensure the meat is golden and brown all over. Don’t overcrowd the pan as this will cause the meat to steam rather than sear.
After the last batch of meat is cooked deglaze the pan with the wine. When the wine has reduced, add back the cooked onion and beef along with the stock and tomato paste. Put the lid on the pan and place in a 150°C oven for 1 hour. After an hour, stir in the mushrooms and return to the oven for another 1–1 ½ hours. When cooked, take the stew out of the oven and check for seasoning before allowing to cool completely.
To turn in to a delicious pie heat the oven to 200°C. Roll out rough puff pastry and with it, line a pie dish. Put the cold beef and mushroom mix into the lined pie dish before topping with pastry. Crimp and seal the edges, prick the pastry top and then glaze with a beaten egg. I topped mine with a few fennel seeds. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until the pie is golden and brown.
TIP: To avoid the dreaded soggy bottomed pie avoid using a glass pie dish. Metal pie dishes work best. I also cheat a little by putting my pizza stone in the oven when it is heating up and place the pie dish on the hot pizza stone, helping the bottom of the pie to cook.
Rough Puff Pastry
2 cups flour
250g butter (frozen)
⅔ cup cold water
Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl.
Grate the butter into the bowl with the flour.
TIP: Freezing the butter helps keep it cold as you work it into the flour and results in a flakier pastry.
Using your fingertips rub the butter in to the flour. You need to see bits of butter.
Make a well in the bowl and pour in about two-thirds of the cold water, mixing until you have a firm rough dough adding extra water if needed.
Cover with cling film and leave to rest for 20 minutes in the fridge.
Turn out onto a lightly floured bench, knead gently and form into a smooth rectangle. Roll the dough in one direction until three times the width, about 20 x 50cm. Keep edges straight and even. Don’t overwork the butter streaks; you want it to have a marbled effect.
Fold the top third down to the centre, then the bottom third up and over that.
TIP: Chill the pastry between this step and the next for best results
Give the dough a quarter turn and roll out again to three times the length.
Fold as before, cover with cling film and chill for at least 20 minutes before rolling to use.
If you want you can repeat this step one more time to get even more layers in your pastry. The pastry can be frozen at this point.
Recipe and Images Vicki Ravlich-Horan