pies

Individual Steak and Ale Pies

There are few things more heart warming and quinessentially English than a steak and ale pie. Big chunks of succulent beef rich peppery gravy and a light and crispy pastry lid.

Ingredients

1kg of good quality Aberdeen Angus stewing steak
4 mid tail pieces of Oxtail
4-5 Banana Shallots
200g Baby Mushrooms
2 Cloves of Garlic
300ml beef stock (no cubes full of salt) Tesco finest is a decent one
300ml Real Ale (I like Old Speckled Hen or Guinness if you like)
Sea Salt and Pepper
Roll of Puff Pastry
Plain Flour
1 Egg

Method

Pre heat the oven to 150 degrees. Trim off excess fat from the beef and cut into inch square pieces. Place in a bowl and dust lightly with plain flour and season with salt and pepper. Season and brown the Oxtail in a frying pan with a little oil. Remove to a separate bowl then seal the steak in the same pan. Fry it in small batches as if you overload the pan it will lose heat and steam the meat. Make sure have some good colour on the beef as it adds much deeper flavour.

Cut the top and tail off the onions peel and half longways then cut into long thin lengths. Fry in the pan until they soften and start to brown at that stage add the mushrooms and then the garlic. Once the mushrooms have taken on some colour deglaze the pan with the beer making sure you scrape all those bits of flavour from the bottom of the pan.

Pour all the contents of the pan together with the beef and oxtail into an ovenproof lidded pan then add the beef stock stir and season well with white pepper and salt (white pepper gives a warmer finish to the gravy)

Place in the oven and set a timer for 2 and a half hours. Once the time is up the meat should be nice and tender but check just in case and if its still a bit chewy give it a stir and another 30 mins. Now this is the moment youll notice the oxtail has done its work, the gravy will be rich and dark with a slightly glossy finish. Basically how this happens is the fat melts and a little of the gelatine gives an unxious mouthfeel to the gravy.

Take out the oxtail and pick off the meat and return to the dish.

(Making a Roux)

To thicken your gravy melt 25g of butter in a pan and add 2tbs of plain flour. Stir constantly until the mixture is fully incorporated and it comes away from the side of the pan and the flour loses its rawness this should take about a couple of minutes maximum. It should be a pale yellow and about the consistency of a thick paste.

Stir in the roux a spoon at a time to the gravy and meat until you get the desired thickness.

Pour the pie filling into the individual pie dishes and allow to cool. Once the mixture has cooled its time to put your lids on. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and cut circles approximately 2cm wider than the top of the pie dishes. Place the pastry lid on the dish and pinch with your thumb and finger to crimp the edges. If you like as ive done in the picture cut out some leaf shapes and score with the knife to make the leaf pattern. Place on top of the pie crust and brush with the beaten egg. I like to double glaze the crusts so I do the first wash place the pies in the fridge for 20 minutes and do it again before placing in the oven on 190 degrees until the pastry is golden brown 20 minutes should do.

I bloody love this. As always I urge you to mess around with recipe and make it the way you like it.

Enjoy!

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