Oct 29

Simple Beef Pie


Beef Pie1



I usually make beef stews in my pressure cooker, but today I did not feel like washing too many pots because I have spent the entire weekend scrubbing and cleaning my stove, the kitchen and pretty much the rest of the house. We are in the middle of moving and it has been one hell of a week: first we got the floor guys come in to rip up all the ugly orange carpet up from the lounge room and replaced with lovely black floorboards. We are not responsible for the orange monstrosity ~ it came with the house when we bought it. We have always wanted to change it but never got round to it, but now that we are moving and putting the place up for sale the floorboards have finally made an appearance. I am in love with it so much now that I kinda wish we were not moving … the dog however is not thrilled with it coz he slips and slides all over. He was really showing his displeasure for three days straight until the new silver shag pile rug got put in yesterday. He has now made his spot on the very edge of the rug. He is much happier now.



Bernese Mountain Dog   IMG_7721 (427x640)



Less cleaning aside, the making of stews is also a great comfort when the outside temperature starts to drop. Two nights ago I revisited my curried pumpkin soup recipe and had it with lots of crusty bread. The following day, with leftover curried pumpkin soup, I added fresh prawns and green beans to make a curry ~ thumbs up to versatile dishes like that!   Todays stew is very simple and requires very little fuss … just a long cooking time in the oven. I really tried my level best to sneak some vegetables in there, but the best I could get away with were carrots and potatoes … not even peas nor mushrooms could make it into the dish on account of the non-veggie eating boyfriend. Sigh. Still, simple recipes come out really well if you take the time to cook it nice and slow over a loooong period of time.



Simple Beef Pie.

800 g chuck steak or stewing beef

1 large onion, roughly chopped

4 cloves garlic

2 cups carrots, chunky

2 cups potatoes, large dice

¼ cup balsamic vinegar or Worchesterchire sauce

1 heaped tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp dried thyme

2 tbsp flour

500 mls beef stock

1 tbsp cornstarch + water

*you can add any number of veggies you wish for extra flavour and texture ~ parsnips, swede, leeks, mushrooms, turnips.



Usually I brown off the meat after dusting them with flour and salt but today I really could not care less. Browning off the meat really does improve the flavour but today … meh. Dust beef chunks in salt and flour and place in a casserole dish.   Saute off the onions and garlic in a pan along with thyme. When the onions are soft add the balsamic vinegar or Worchestershire sauce and reduce it down to almost a glaze.   Add the tomato paste and then add the beef stock. Bring to the boil and pour this liquid over the meat in the casserole. Top off with the diced veggies, cover with foil (punctures with holes) or a tight fitting lid and bake for 4-hours in a 180°C oven.   At 3½ hours, remove the casserole and cover the entire top with puff pastry. Cut some holes in the pastry to allow steam to escape ~ this will prevent the pastry from getting soggy underneath. Brush with eggwash and bake for the rest of the cooking time.   Allow pie to sit for 20 mins before cutting into it.



Beef Pie3



I still prefer pressure cooking my beef stew / pie filling coz it takes up much less time and energy, but I only have a small one that looks much like a standard saucepan. Works beautifully with curries and lentil soups too … all the flavour and nutrients in a quarter the time. Mum has a big one which she has never used, claiming she is far too scared it will blow up in her face like a ticking time bomb. I used to be terrified of pressure cookers myself, so I supposed all you need is some practice and a little bit of faith in your kitchen appliance. Buy a good one with a good safety mechanism and all shall be well.



Beef Pie2




Well, pressure cooked or not, this pie turned out to be just what I needed on a very cold and misty evening, sitting on my couch playing Lord of the Rings Online. Yes, I play that game, lol, but mainly to collect the various festival horses. Leftover pie can be kept for a couple of days in the fridge and reheated when needed. The crust will not be crisp anymore but you can always make buttery mash to go with it … mmm!



~ Enjoy! ~


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