Chris’ Beef and Ale Pie

Serves 4

Ingredients

Filling

500g diced shin of British beef (you can use chuck, cheek or feather blade if you prefer)
50g plain flour
25g butter
2 banana shallots, peeled and diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
250ml dark ale
1 star anise
1 bay leaf
750ml beef stock

Pastry

225g self-raising flour
1tsp salt
85g beef suet
60g butter
130ml water

Method

Filling

1. Place the beef in the flour to coat evenly, shake off any excess. Season.

2. Fry gently in a little oil until well browned, meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt the butter and cook until foaming and it turns a light brown nut colour. Add the remaining flour and cook until golden brown, stirring frequently.

3. When the meat is well sealed, place on a tray and leave to one side. Pour the ale into the frying pan and reduce, scraping the bottom to capture any bits of flavour left behind by the beef.

4. Slowly pour the beef stock into the butter and flour mixture, stirring continuously to ensure a smooth sauce. Add the reduced ale, sealed beef, star anise and bay leaf and cover with a greaseproof paper lid.

5. Cook slow and low for 3.5 hours, stirring occasionally.

6. In a spate pan, gently sweat the carrot in a little oil with a pinch of salt. When starting to soften but still vibrant orange, spread out on a plate or tray to cool down. Reuse the same pan to caramelise the shallots for about 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic and rosemary and remove from the heat, leaving to cool with the carrots.

7. When the beef is tender, remove from the heat and take out the star anise and bay leaf. Add the cooked vegetables and stir gently. Check the seasoning.

Pastry

1. Place the dry ingredients into a food processor. Blitz until it turns into fine breadcrumbs then steadily add most of the water until a smooth dough is formed (you might need a little more or a little less water to get the right consistency).

2. As soon as the pastry has come together, remove and wrap in cling film and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Assembling the pie

1. While the pastry is resting, grease your pie dish with a little butter and pre-heat the oven to 170’C.

2. Dust the work surface and rolling pin with flour. Take approximately 2/3 of the pastry and roll out, until it is around double the thickness of a pound coin. Gently lift the pastry into the pie dish and push carefully into the edges.

3. Spoon the pie mixture into the lined pie dish. Roll out the remaining 1/3 of pastry for the lid. Crimp or push together the sides and lid to form a seal. Trim any excess and glaze with a little egg wash. Make a small whole in the centre of the pie for steam to escape during cooking.

4. Cook at 170’C for approximately 55 minutes. Keep any eye during cooking and turn around half way through to ensure an even finish.

Chef’s top tip: Serve with shallot-infused mashed potato and glazed carrots – the perfect combo!

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