Wintery Steak Pie
When the weather outside is frightful, my tastes often run to the familiar and warming – in other words, straight back to good old-fashioned comfort food. In this dish, the lovely the umami savouriness of slow-cooked beef is complemented with the equally rich flavour of earthy mushrooms.
- 1kg of braising steak, trimmed and diced into large cubes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons of plain flour
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 30g butter
- 2 leeks, trimmed and sliced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 300g field mushrooms, roughly sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 440ml can of Guinness
- 1 sheet of good quality pre-rolled puff pastry
- 1 egg
Preheat the oven to 190˚C.
In a casserole or ovenproof pan, heat the olive oil over a high heat. Season the flour with salt and pepper, then coat the cubes of beef lightly in the seasoned flour. Fry in batches, until all the meat is sealed and brown, then set aside. Next, turn the heat down to low, and add the butter and leeks to the pan. Fry these gently for 10 minutes or so before adding the carrot, mushrooms and garlic, and cooking for a further 3 minutes. Now return the beef to the pan, stir in the chopped tomatoes, and slosh in the can of Guinness. Don’t be surprised here if your pot momentarily resembles a high school chemistry experiment, the Guinness bubbles should settle down after a second or two!
Bring to the boil, then pop the lid on the pot and place in the oven for about three hours. This slow cooking is designed to ensure that the pie filling is rich, thick and meltingly tender. Remove from the oven when the dish has a stew-like consistency and is no longer too liquidy. Give the seasoning a quick check at this point and adjust as required.
Butter a pie dish, spoon in the meaty filling, and grab the pre-rolled puff pastry from the fridge, (a cheat, yes, but not even I have the time to be making layers of buttery pastry by hand!). Drape the pastry over the dish, rippling any excess into the inner sides of the dish to give a rustic look, or alternatively, cut the excess off and use it to decorate the top of the pie – pastry roses are a particular retro favourite of mine!
Now brush the pastry all over with some beaten egg, then place in the oven to cook for 40 minutes, or until it is puffed-up and brown. Serve with peas, chips, mash, or whatever accompaniment happens to be your favourite.