These beef pies take a while to make, but are worth the effort. Gizzi says: ‘This is a low-fat pastry with 100g less fat than normal pastry. I’m using low-fat beef too and ditching the mash.’
- For the pastry:
- 225g plain flour
- 85g vegetable suet
- 1tbsp olive oil
- 100ml water
- ½tsp salt
- For the filling:
- 400g beef shin, cut into bite sized cubes
- Freshly ground salt and pepper
- 1tbsp olive oil
- 3tbsp plain flour
- 1tbsp tomato purée
- 200ml good ale, (light or dark are both fine)
- 300ml red wine
- 400ml beef stock
- 10 shallots, peeled
- A few sprigs of rosemary
- 1 cinnamon sticks
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- A few sprigs of thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 - 2 star anise
- 2 cloves
- 1 free-range egg yolk, to glaze
To make the pastry: mix together the flour and suet, then separately mix together the water and oil. With a fork mix the wet ingredients into the dried until it forms a ball of pastry. Wrap it in cling film then leave it to rest in the fridge for 15 mins.
Season the beef with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the beef until browned. It’s important to get a good rich colour on the meat as this will be where the stew gets it’s colour and flavour. You will need to do this in batches to get the best colour. With a slotted spoon remove the meat and set aside while you get on with the rest.
Throw the shallots and garlic cloves into the pan and fry them for a couple of mins, scrapping all the meaty residue from the bottom of the pan, until they start to colour. Add the flour and tomato purée and cook for 1 min, stirring well. Then pour the ale and wine in slowly. Put the meat back into the sauce, along with the herbs and spices then, season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 1½ hrs or until it has thickened. You really need to leave the filling to cool now and remove the bay leaves and cinnamon sticks before filling the pie.
Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
Pour the beef filling into individual pie dishes then roll out the pastry. Cut out discs of pastry that are about 1cm in diameter bigger than the pie dishes.
Wipe the edge of the pies with beaten egg then cover the pie, pressing down firmly. Brush the top with the egg. You can use the excess pastry to make some pretty shapes for the top. Pierce the of each pie top twice.
Transfer to a baking tray and place in the oven. Bake for 30 mins and serve immediately. With steamed veg.
To save time you can use ready-made shortcrust pastry, but it won't be as low fat as making your own.