Comforting and substantial main-course pies are always welcome. Winter chills are warded of with classic Beef and Vegetables Pie. At Christmas either Chicken and Red Currant Pie or Beef and Guinness Pie with Chanterelle Mushrooms would make a stunning centerpiece. Beneath a crust of crisp pastry, a tasty, rich stew of tender beef and soft vegetables is ideal antidote to winter colds.
This short, crumbly pastry is probably the best known and most frequently used type. This recipe makes enough for 10 inches flan tin.
For a Shortcrust Pastry:
- 2 cups (8 oz) plain, all-purpose flour
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup (4 oz) chilled butter, diced
- 3-4 Tbsp. chilled water
For a beef and vegetable stew:
- 1 lb. stewing beef
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1-2 carrots, peeled and cut into cubs
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 medium white potatoes, peeled and cut into cubs
- 1 cup green peas, fresh or frozen
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 cup dark ale
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
To make a pastry: Shift the flour and salt together into a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into the flour using a pastry blender or use your fingertips to rub it in. Shake the bowl occasionally to bring any large pieces of butter to the top. Blend until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Sprinkle the chilled water evenly over the mixture and mix lightly with a round-bladed knife or fork until the dough comes together. Add a little more water if the mixture is still too dry; it should just begin to hold together.
Using one hand, gather the dough together to form a ball. Knead on a lightly floured surface for just a few seconds until smooth. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and chill for about 30 minutes, or until firm but not too stiff to roll.
To cook the beef and vegetable: In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm one tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the celery, carrots, onions, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
Season the beef with salt and pepper. Dredge the beef in the flour, shaking off the excess. In the Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the beef and brown on all sides, about 7 minutes total. Transfer to a separate bowl. Add half of cup water to the pot, stirring to scrape up the browned bits. Pour the liquid into a separate bowl.
Return the pot to medium-high heat. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Add the beef, broth, dark ale and reserved liquid, stirring to scrape up the browned bits. Add the cooked vegetables, peas, potatoes and thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beef and vegetables are tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat an oven to 350°F.
Cut the pastry in half and roll out one half on a lightly floured surface about 1/8 inch thick. Keep the other half wrapped in plastic wrap. Lift the rolled out pastry into the pie dish, (you may use a rolling pin). Spoon the beef and vegetable stew into the pastry. Roll out the remaining pastry to round larger than the top of the pie. Press the edges together. Cut off the excess pastry with a knife. Finish the edge as you wish, then make stem holes. Bake in a hot oven for about 30 minutes until the crust is well browned.