Friday was Pi Day. The humour in this is limited – if you write dates in the American format it was 3/14, and pi (the mathematical constant) approximates to 3.14 (if you’re dealing with 2 decimal places). The connection between all of this and pies is tenuous at best.
But we’ve also had a burst of relatively cool weather in Adelaide so for starters I’m more than happy to consider switching on things that generate substantial heat. And I’m also happy to consider eating pie. A hot, home made pie for dinner is definitely cold weather food.
I found this pie recipe on the MiNDFOOD website and tweaked it a little, not least of all because pies have pastry on both the bottom and the top!
Green peppercorns are a great ingredient to cook with: they add bursts of pepperiness along with a hint of sharpness. Just make sure you rinse them first (they will come in brine). You do need to factor in plenty of time for both cooking and cooling the pie filling. You can’t rush the beef being tender and, especially if you are doing a pie properly, you need the filling to be cool because if you hit the pastry with hot pie filling you’ll end up with the dreaded soggy bottom!
We used our piemaker for this and bought pastry (both shortcrust and puff – yes, sometimes dinner just has to happen!) so once the pie filling was complete the actual pie could be be assembled and on the table in about half an hour (20 minutes of that was cooking time). If I were serving this to others, I would bother to at least make my own shortcrust, use individual pie dishes and cook them in the oven. At least … that’s what I tell myself!
- ~ 800 g diced blade steak (or any other cut of beef which works for long slow cooks)
- 2 onions, very roughly chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 250 mL stout
- 375 mL beef stock
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme
- 125 mL cream
- 1 (generous) tbsp green peppercorns, drained and rinsed
- pastry (for a piemaker)
- 1 sheet of shortcrust pastry, defrosted
- 1 sheet of puff pastry, defrosted
- Preheat oven to 140°C (fan, or 160°C conv).
- Heat some olive oil in an ovenproof casserole dish and brown the beef in batches.
- Set the beef aside and turn down the heat. Add the onion and garlic and soften. Stir often.
- Return the beef to the pan and sprinkle over the flour, mixing well. Allow this to cook for a minute or two, before adding the stout, stock and thyme.
- Bring to the boil and then take off the heat and put, covered, in the preheated oven. Cook for about an hour and a half until the beef is meltingly tender.
- If the gravy is still a little thin, return to the stove and remove the lid - but keep a close eye on it and don't over thicken. It should be no more than the consistency of a thin cream.
- Allow to cool a little before adding the cream and pepper corns and set aside to cool fully. The cooling and the addition of the cream will thicken the gravy further.
- If using a pie maker, preheat and cut the base (shortcrust) pastry. Line the pie maker, fill (take care not to over fill!) and top with the puff pastry. Cook for the recommended time (in our case 20 minutes) and serve immediately.