This is a warming meal on a cold winter day, especially with crisp roast potatoes, roast parsnips and a green vegetable like Brussels sprouts. You can make it with any type of stewing or braising steak, or with stewing venison if you prefer.
(If you have three-quarters of a turkey to use up, you might prefer the recipe for leek and turkey pie)
Beef pie (serves 2)
4 oz (approx 100 g) plain flour
1 oz (approx 25 g) butter
1 oz (approx 25 g) lard
6 oz (approx 150 g) stewing or braising steak
2 oz (approx 50 g) smoked streaky bacon
Half an onion
1 dessertspoon (1 x 10 ml spoon) plain flour
0.25 pint (approx 150 ml) stock, red wine, or a mixture
1 teaspoon (1 x 5 ml spoon) dried rosemary
1 teaspoon (1 x 5 ml spoon) Worcester sauce (optional)*
Rub the butter and lard into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Gradually add cold water until the mixture forms a soft dough. If it’s flaky, add a little more water, if it’s sticky, add a little more flour.
Or you can use ready-made shortcrust pastry if you prefer.
Roll out to fit the top of the pie dish you are going to use, aiming for about 1/8” (approx 2-3 mm) thick. How much pastry you need depends on the size of your pie dish; if you have a lot left over, surplus pastry will keep wrapped in cling film in the fridge for a few days, or can be frozen.
Cut the steak into cubes about 0.5” (approx 1 cm) square. Cut the bacon into narrow strips.
Peel and chop the onion.
Heat about 1 Tablespoon (1 x 15 ml spoon) of cooking oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. When hot, put the steak and bacon pieces in and fry over a medium heat until browned.
Add the chopped onion and fry another minute or two until the onion starts to soften.
Stir in the flour, and mix well so that the flour coats the meat and onion. Pour in the stock or red wine, add the dried rosemary and season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Bring to the boil, then cover the pan with a lid and simmer over a low heat for an hour or so, topping up with water (or more stock or wine) if necessary to keep the liquid level about constant.
Pour the beef filling into a greased ovenproof pie dish.
Cover with the pastry to make a lid. Use the pastry offcuts to make decorations if so inclined.
Brush the pastry with milk.
Bake in a hot oven at about 200 C for about 30-40 minutes until the pastry is set and golden brown.
Serve with crisp roast potatoes and roast parsnips, which need to be roasted at the same temperature and so can share the oven with the pie, plus a green vegetable (or other vegetables of your choice).
*Don’t ask me what Worcester sauce is made of. Here’s a link to the history (or the legend) of its origin. I am told it bears some resemblance to the Roman garum, in which case all I can say is that I take off my hat to the Romans if they consumed it by the amphora-full.