Beef Pie with Cheddar Crust

dec-09_beef-pie-cheddar-crust_b_330x330Cold nights are the perfect excuse for warm, hearty foods, which is why this week, our recipe is for this gorgeous beef pie. This is no ordinary beef pie, though, as it is topped with a cheese infused, homemade pastry that just melts in the mouth. Ideal for serving up with roast vegetables, potatoes and a splash of gravy, this pie will please that whole family and keep your bellies toasty this winter.

Ingredients

For the cheese pastry:

  • 300g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 100g freshly-grated cheddar
  • 150g butter, frozen for 30 minutes before use
  • 100ml chilled water
  • 1 egg, beaten, as glaze

For the filling:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 rashers streaky bacon, roughly chopped
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 1 kg stewing beef, cut into 3cm cubes
  • 250g mushrooms cut into 1cm slices
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 500ml Guinness
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Method

  1. To make the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a large bowl, then stir through the grated cheese. Using the largest holes of a grater, grate the frozen butter into the flour. Gently mix with a knife or flat spatula, making sure that all pieces of cheese and butter are coated in flour – the butter should be left in chunky grated pieces, not worked into the dough.
  2. Add the chilled water and mix in with the knife. The pastry should come together in clumps, but you can add a little extra water if necessary. When the dough holds together, gently press it into a ball and flatten slightly to form a disc. Be sure not to handle it too much, though, so not to melt the butter. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.
  3. For the filling, preheat the oven to 160c/gas mark 2-3. Heat the oil in a heatproof casserole dish over a medium heat and cook the bacon for 2 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, carrot and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally for 6-7 minutes, or until the onion is tender. Add the beef to the casserole dish and sprinkle with flour. Mix well and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in the Guinness, thyme, and bay leaves into the casserole and bring to the boil over medium heat. Cover, transfer to the oven and cook for 3 hours. Stir the meat occasionally as it cooks.
  5. Remove from the oven and check the sauce. If it is a little watery, uncover and return to the oven to allow it to reduce. Stir in the parsley and season to taste. Allow to cool.
  6. To assemble the pie, spoon the mixture into a large pie dish and insert a pie funnel (if using). Roll out the pastry to a size large enough to cover the pie. Brush the edges of the dish with some of the beaten egg. Cover the pie with the pastry, pressing down on the edges to seal. Trim away any excess pastry around the rim, roll again, cut into shapes and decorate the top of the pie.
  7. Brush with the remaining beaten egg and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and has risen.

Then just dish it up with your chosen veg and enjoy! It would work beautifully with broccoli, extra carrots and new potatoes.

What’s great about this recipe is that the dough can be prepared the day before you plan to use it, and can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days if desired. The finished pie can also be made ahead of time and reheated when ready to serve.

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