I have adapted a French technique of hot marinating the meat. The flavour in this is just amazing and well worth the effort. Once made, it tastes even better the next day. I prefer the flavour of commercial butter puff pastry to shortcrust pastry and have developed a great technique to use it for the base of the pie as well as the top.
Makes 8 pies
Prep 15 mins plus marinating 1 hour +
Cooking 2 hours
Bouquet garni – 6 sprigs thyme, parsley stalks, 3 bay leaves, 3 star anise, 2 strips orange rind
1 bottle (750mls) red wine
1 cup (250mls) Muscat, Oloroso sherry or Malmsey (Madeira)
1.5 kilo thickly cut blade steak, untrimmed, cut into 3cm cubes
2 tablespoons (40g) soft butter
2 tablespoons (40mls) extra virgin olive oil
4 eschallots, diced
1/3 cup (50g) plain flour
salt flakes to season
1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 large (360g) carrots, diced
2 sticks celery, diced
200g (approx. 18) Swiss brown button mushrooms, sliced thickly
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
3/4 cup (180ml) beef stock
For the pastry bases and tops
3 sheets butter puff pastry
1 egg yolk, beaten lightly
- For the meat filling: tie bouquet garni ingredients in muslin and place in a medium saucepan with wine and muscat. Bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer for around 10 mins or until reduced to 400mls. Pour the hot liquid over the meat and leave to marinate for one hour. (To do 24 hours prior, cover and place in the fridge as soon as it is cool.) Drain well and reserve the marinade.
- Pre-heat oven to 150’C.
- Melt 1/2 tablespoon each of butter and oil in a large flameproof casserole pot, add eschallots and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until soft and just golden brown. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and reserve in a large bowl.
- Combine the flour, salt flaked and pepper. Dust beef with seasoned flour (or shake in a plastic bag). Add a little more butter and oil to the pot and brown the meat in three or four batches. Remove each batch from the pot and add to the eschallots.
- Add remaining butter and oil to the pot, add carrot and celery and cook for a couple of minutes, then add mushrooms and cook stirring frequently until vegetables are just tender. Add garlic for last minute or two. Remove and add to the onions and beef.
- Add reserved marinade to the vegetables and bring to the boil for one minute. Add tomato paste and stock. Return meat and eschallots to the pot, mix well. Cover pot with its lid and cook in the oven for around 1 ¼ hours or until meat is very tender. Remove pot from oven and cool.
- For the pie bases: Preheat oven to 200°C. Butter pie tins generously. Use 12cm round cutters or cut around a large saucer in a size big enough to comfortably cover the base and side of 12cm round individual pie tins and trim any excess. (Use a paring knife or run the rolling pin over the edges of the tins to cut off any excess pastry). Prick all over with a fork and place in the fridge for 15 minutes to rest.
- Cover the pastry bases with baking paper and either weight down with another tin the same size or fill with pastry weights, rice or dried beans, making sure they go right up to the corner. Place on a baking tray and bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.Remove the paper and pastry weights, rice or beans, and bake for a further 10 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven.
- To assemble the pies: spoon the beef filling generously into the pastry-lined pie tins, mounding it up.
- Cut eight more 13-14cm puff pastry rounds (big enough to cover the pie generously) Place a pastry round over each pie, easing the pastry down the side to enclose the filling. Cut a small cross in the middle to allow steam to escape.
- Whisk the egg yolk, salt, sugar and a little water together. Brush pastry top with egg yolk mixture and place pies on an oven tray. Bake at 200’C for about 20 – 25 minutes or until browned and hot.
Lyndey’s Tip: for a really shinning, brown pastry top, mix a little sugar and salt with the egg yolk wash.