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Best of Beef

Steak and beer pie with home-made pastry

A bouquet garni is a French term for a bundle of herbs – simply tie a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme, rosemary and a bay leaf securely together with butchers string. This allows the flavour of the herbs to enhance the dish but then it can be easily removed before the casserole is put into the pie dish. 

  • Serves 4

Ingredients

For the pie
  • 700g Hereford chuck steak, trimmed and cut into large chunks
  • 3 heaped tbsp beef dripping
  • 20g plain flour
  • 200g smoked bacon lardons
  • 2 onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 300ml artisan beer
  • 400ml beef stock
  • 1 bouquet garni (thyme, rosemary and bay leaf)
  • 2 tbsp brown sauce
  • Sea flakes and freshly ground black pepper
For the pastry
  • 500g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 100g unsalted butter, chilled and grated
  • 100g bone marrow, chilled and grated
  • About 150ml ice-cold milk, plus extra for glazing

Method

  1. Preheat the oven 140°C (275°F/Gas Mark 1).

  2. Heat the beef dripping in a large frying pan over a high heat. . Put the flour on a plate and season with salt and pepper. Toss the chuck steak in the seasoned flour to coat and sear it in batches, taking care not to overcrowd the pan, until properly browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the browned steak into a casserole dish.

  3. Reduce the heat slightly, add the bacon lardons, onions and carrots to the frying pan and cook until the bacon fat begins to melt and the onions are golden brown on all sides. Then tip into the casserole with the beef.

  4. Pour a little of the beer into the frying pan and bring to a simmer, scrapping the base of the pan with a wooden spoon to remove all the sediment. Then pour the whole lot into the casserole with the meat and vegetables. Add the rest of the beer with the beef stock, bouquet garni and brown sauce, then season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid and put into the oven for 2 hours.

  5. Remove the lid from the casserole, give it a good stir and return to the oven for another hour until the meat is tender, stirring occasionally.

  6. Meanwhile, make the pastry. Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the grated butter and bone marrow, then using a palette knife, mix in enough of the milk to bring the mixture together into a dough. Flatten into a disc, then wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

  7. Preheat the over again to 180°C (350°F/Gas Mark 4). Lightly dust a work surface with flour and roll out the pastry to about 1cm thickness. Place the pastry over the pie, pushing down around the edge to seal, and cutting a hole in the middle to allow the steam to escape. Crimp the pastry edges between thumb and index finger. Brush with milk, then place on a baking tray and bake for about 45 minutes until the pastry is cooked through and golden brown. Sprinkle with salt before serving straight to the table.