Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Beef and Mushroom Pie

It's May. It's sunny. It looks as if it would be warm outside. It's not. It's a cold, windy English day. Eh, at least we will eat well.

2 pounds lean, stewing (casserole) beef
500 grams (2 cups) beef stock
1/2 bottle dry, red wine
1 bay leaf
Fat pinch of dry thyme
1 small onion, peeled and quartered
2 cloves garlic, peeled, left whole
1 tablespoon tomato paste (puree in the UK)

1 leek, (white and tender green part only), chopped
150 grams (4 ounces) button mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
1 large potato (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into cubes
1/2 teaspoon Marmite (if you've got it)

1/2 cup (250 mls) cold water
2 tablespoons plain flour

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 sheet puff pastry

1) Load the beef, beef stock, wine, bay leaf, thyme, onion, garlic and tomato paste (puree) into a large, heavy pot, cover and bring to a simmer. Cook gently simmering, covered for 1 hour. After an hour, remove everything but the beef chunks from the broth (discard) and add in the leek, mushrooms, potato cubes and marmite into the stock with the beef. Bring back to a simmer and cook gently, covered for 30 minutes more.

2) Place a colander over a pot and drain the beef and vegetables into the colander catching all of the stock in the pot below. Place the pot over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Shake the water and flour together in a jar and pour into the beef stock. Whisk until it comes to a strong simmer, then allow it to bubble away for a few minutes. Taste, add in salt and/or pepper and remove from the heat. Stir in the beef and vegetables and the frozen peas (still frozen-- this will help cool down the stew). Stir and allow to cool almost to room temperature before placing into the refrigerator to cool off completely. This is important! If you try and place the puff pastry over hot stew it will melt  
: {o}  sacre bleu!

3) Pre-heat the oven to 185C (375F). Pour the cooled stew into a large casserole dish and cover the top with the puff pastry sheet. Slice a pretty vent in the top and fix the extra bits of dough all around for decoration. You can brush with a beaten egg to make it shiny if you like. Bake until golden.

Can be made several hours ahead, stashed in the refrigerator and baked just before serving. 
Serves 6

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