The perfect winter warmer
The New Year finds me as usual in a flurry of new resolutions, new projects, new hobbies! It is a challenging but exciting time of the year and I always try to get everybody involved in resolution making and list writing: The family devised a new challenge for the first week after Christmas- to give me a rest from cooking, said my youngest!
They each chose a day, devised their menu, sourced the right recipes with my help and shopped and cooked a full meal from scratch. The rule was not to buy anything pre-made but to make it all from fresh, seasonal ingredients. Normally, A. does not partake in our cooking challenges but this year he did, to my utter surprise – my husband is only interested in the “tasting” aspect of food- and produced the most magnificent savoury pie ! It had to be a British classic, of course. But I had suggested a Spanish twist on the Steak and kidney filling and it worked well with the extra chorizo.
I absolutely adored the flavours and really thick, meaty sauce of this recipe ! And the fact I did not have to cook. I really could get used to that sort of treatment… Being a man, he misjudged the quantities big time and made two large pies for the 6 of us- not that we complained!
Ingredients list: You will need a pie dish and a pot that goes in the oven and stands the hob.
For the pastry:
- Plain flour 250g
- Goose fat 80g ( replaces suet, with health benefits!)
- Rapeseed oil 50g
- Cold water 80ml
- pinch of ground pepper and salt
- Beaten egg to glaze
For the filling:
- Good marbled steak 500g (diced)
- Lamb kidney 100g, cut in twos
- Corn or potato flour 2 Tbsp
- Onion, 1 large one
- Water 500ml
- Knorr or Maggi 1 cube
- Freshly ground pepper
- Mild chorizo 100g
- Sliced brown mushrooms 100g
- Sprig of Thyme
- Fresh or dry oregano 1 Tbsp
- Ground cloves 1 tsp
- All spice 1 Tbsp
- Dry shiitake and porcini mix 10g (pre-soaked)
Choose a nice streaky piece of beef, with flavour – so sirloin better than fillet or a cheaper cut and with enough fat to sustain the cooking without going as hard as a boot.
Pat the meat dry with a kitchen towel and shake it into a bowl with a dusting of corn or potato flour. Each chunk must be nicely coated.
Heat some oil into a deep oven friendly ceramic pot and fry the sliced onion until soft, then add the meat and brown all sides.
Pour in the stock and seasoning and bring to a slow boil. Throw in the pre-soaked mushrooms and chorizo.
Leave to simmer for 10/15 min. then put the dish into the oven (160) for two hours.
Don’t forget to add the sliced mushrooms half hour before the end.
Make the pastry by mixing all the dry ingredients into a bowl, then adding the cold water slowly. Stop adding when it starts making a ball, as you mix.
Pat it to gather all the crumbs and drop it into a plastic bag.
This will now rest in the fridge until you are ready to assemble the pie.
Check the meat is falling apart and the juices have reduced. Put on the stove on high heat for a few minutes if not.
Adjust the seasoning at this point because this dish needs to be full-flavoured…
Brush the pie dish with a beaten egg, all around the rim.
Pour the filling inside the pie dish.
Make a long coil with a chunk of pastry and stick it to the top of the rim.
Then roll out a cercle of pastry and position it on top of the pie. Prick it all around with the flat end of a fork so the top will be properly sealed and make a small hole in the middle for the vapour to come out.
Brush with the rest of the egg.
Put in the oven (220) for 15 min. then turn down to 160 for a further 20.
The pies arrived piping hot on the table, with a golden and moist crust like a nice tight tummy and a perfect belly button in the middle, oozing with sauce! The pastry was crusty and flaky, with just enough bite and melting on the tongue. The inside was dark and fragrant … and here I get lyrical again! Truly the food of love… And so we drank a Burgundy St Amour (Domaine des Pins).
PS:Don’t get turn off by the long ingredients list, it is worth it.
As for the rest of the contenders for this challenge:
C. produced homemade spaghetti with Carbonara sauce then a Far Breton with prunes
S. made burgers with home made tomato and parmesan buns and a fruit salad
Lovely with the St Amour!
E. baked Toads in a hole and an apple and quince crumble with coconut and oats topping