Not much beats a proper homemade pie and this steak and mushroom pie is ‘the King of pies’! Thick chunks of beef in a rich gravy with mushrooms and a crisp pastry lid, it’s quite easy to make and completely delicious. The trick is to make the filling at least a day ahead of when you want to serve it and to add chopped pig’s kidney in with the steak. It really transforms the flavour of the gravy but I know not everyone likes it so I cut it into very small pieces so it’s barely detectable. I make this in a deep 2-litre oval ceramic pie dish and use a pie funnel to support the pastry lid. It’s a big pie and will serve 4 to 6 people easily. It needs some creamy mash with it to mop up the gravy and green vegetables on the side.
- 1kg chuck steak cut into 3cm cubes
- 200g pigs’ kidneys – remove the white connective tissue with a sharp knife and chop into small or medium-sized pieces to your preference
- 25g butter
- 2 large onions, sliced
- 25g plain flour seasoned with a little salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme
- 300ml red wine
- 300ml beef stock
- 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
- 200g pack of button mushrooms
- 400g of pastry made with your favourite recipe – flaky, shortcrust – or a shop-bought 375g pack of ready-rolled all-butter flaky pastry (if I’m in a hurry, I use Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference pastry) and a beaten egg to glaze.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Place the seasoned flour in a large mixing bowl and then add the chuck steak and chopped kidney. Thoroughly coat every piece in the flour.
- Heat the butter and a dash of vegetable oil (to stop the butter burning) in a large heavy-based casserole (I use my big cast iron Le Creuset) and cook the onions though until soft and translucent but not browned.
- Add the meat and brown quickly and then add the stock, wine, Worcestershire sauce and chopped thyme.
- Bring to a simmer, add the casserole lid and then cook in the oven for an hour and a half. Remove from the oven, add in the mushrooms and return to the oven for another 15 minutes or so. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
- Transfer the meat into a 2-litre pie dish and allow to cool.
- Set aside in the fridge until the following day to allow the flavours to develop but take it out of the fridge a good hour before you want to put in the oven so that the dish and the filling can come back up to room temperature. Don’t be tempted to put the pastry over a hot filling or it will go soggy.
- When you want to cook the pie, preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Either make your own pastry topping or use a ready-rolled all-butter puff pastry. Brush the rim of the pie dish with a little water. You’ll now need to place a strip of the pastry onto the pie dish rim to anchor the crust. So, cut a thin strip of the pastry and press it firmly onto the rim. Make sure you centre the pie funnel in the pie filling and then carefully drape the remaining pastry over the top. Use the tines of a fork or your fingers to crimp the edge of the pie and trim the remainder with a knife. Brush the lid generously with beaten egg.
- Place the pie dish onto a baking sheet and cook in the centre of the oven for approximately 35 to 40 minutes. It will be cooked when the pastry is crisp, golden and cooked right through from the edge to the centre.
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