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Dinner

Jim’s Steak & Cheese Pie

A few years ago I was at a friend’s BBQ and I was introduced to a lad from New Zealand. As usual my first topic of conversation was food and it was during that conversation where something was mentioned that seemed so obvious and delicious I was almost incensed that nobody had ever put one in front of me – the steak and cheese pie.

Despite all my senses being awoken they were soon dulled by the onslaught of meat and alcohol that followed and I forgot all about it, until earlier this week. I was doing the shopping list and noticed we had some shortcrust in the freezer, immediately I thought of pie and then like a snail this memory came oozing back into my mind and it was decided – Thursday will be steak and cheese pie day!!!

I spent the next hour trying to find a recipe that I liked the look of, but to no avail, so I’ve decided to make my own recipe up. I know how to make a pie, how hard can this be? I’ve actually decided, today, to make 2 small individual pies but the recipe I wrote for myself last week is for a 2 person pie and that’s the one I’m going to put here.

Ingredients:

Minimal Cost

  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Steak cut into bite size chunks
  • 1 medium onion / small handful of shallots – diced
  • 600ml beef stock
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 25g butter
  • 4 English mushrooms – sliced
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 bay Leaves
  • Grated Cheddar cheese
  • Shortcrust pastry
  • Beaten egg to glaze

Method of Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C / 300°F
  2. Put your 4 tbsp of plain flour in a freezer bag and season well with salt and pepper. Then drop your beef in, close the top and give it a good shake so that all the pieces are covered. When you’re happy remove the beef and shake off the excess flour.
  3. Put 1 tbsp of oil in a pan and heat to a medium temperature then start to fry off your onion / shallots until translucent and drop them into your casserole dish.
  4. In the same pan put in the other tbsp of oil and brown off the meat (in batches if necessary). When you’re happy just place it directly into the casserole dish with your onions.
  5. Still in the same pan, add your stock and wine – making sure you deglaze all that flavour from the bottom of the pan. Take it off the heat just before it reaches a boil and pour the mixture over the meat in the casserole dish.
  6. Take your butter and slowly melt it in a frying pan then add the mushrooms. Fry gently and then add them to the casserole dish too with the dried thyme and bay leaves.
  7. Give the mixture a good stir, cover the casserole dish and place it in your oven at 150°C / 300°F for 2 hours.
  8. Remove it from the oven after the 2 hours and set it to one side so it can cool. If you want a thicker gravy at this stage you can gradually add some cornflour whilst stirring.
  9. When it is nice and cool transfer it to your pie dish. You don’t want the dish to be full as you next need to top it with the grated Cheddar cheese.
  10. Set the oven to 220°C / 425°F
  11. Roll out your pastry to about 3mm in thickness making sure there is ample to cover the top of your pie. Cut away some thin strips (about 10mm thickness) from your rolled out pastry and stick them to the top edge of your pie dish all the way around. This will stop the crust from slipping but you may need to wet the rim of the pie dish to get the pastry strips to stick properly.
  12. Arrange the pastry lid over the top and press down onto the pastry strips on the rim of your pie dish. Give it a good brush with the egg mixture, cut some vents in the top for the steam and get it in the oven at 220°C / 425°F for 15 minutes.
  13. Reduce the temperature to 170°C / 325°F and continue to bake for another 45 minutes or until the crust looks golden brown and too delicious to leave in the oven.

Maximum Flavour

Well I had to change a couple of things along the way, for example I initially underestimated how much flour it would take to cover the chopped beef and the fact that you may want to thicken the mixture at step 8.

The beef I used was a 400g Tesco Beef Medallion Steak. It didn’t say which cut they’d taken them from but there really wasn’t a lot of fat in there so it could probably have done with a bit longer cooking but it was still relatively tender and imparted quite a bit of flavour along with the stock. My cheese choice was an extra mature Cheddar which added a fair amount of salt to the finished dish. Therefore, if seasoning (as I did) up to stage 9 just bear this in mind and to be honest, I’d leave out extra salt all together unless you feel it is severely lacking.

Well that’s it, Jim’s Steak & Cheese Pie. Born out of desire and a requirement to use up various bits and bobs in the house. I made two individual pies but if baking one bigger pie you could stretch it to a light meal for 4 and would go well with some sweet veg such as peas and carrots.

My last point is this; if you’re cooking with a wine worth drinking it’s worth drinking with what you’ve cooked.

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