On rare occasions something comes over me, and I find myself in a giving, caring, generous kind of mood, and today was one of those days.
Undecided about the menu for this evening’s gourmet dinner, I looked in the fridge (don’t I always?), saw a pound of nice-looking minced beef, and recalled a recent conversation that had himself reminiscing in a misty-eyed fashion about the glories of his Mother’s minced beef pies. I’m amazed that I actually remembered this conversation, as I’m hardly ever listening – you know how it is… 😉
Anyway, in this new (and hopefully short-lived) spirit of generosity, I decided to make him a pie. As it turned out I also had a roll of reduced-fat pastry, so it was all coming together like a dream.
Here’s how I made his day!
- A small cake tin, or 8inch sponge tin, sitting on a shallow baking tray.
- A medium-sized saucepan
- Medium-sized jug
- A pastry brush
- 500g minced beef
- 1 packet of ready-rolled puff pastry (or make a simple one yourself)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- A handful of whatever veggies you’ve got, finely chopped – today mine were mushrooms and spinach. The spinach melts away to nothing so doesn’t need chopped.
- A teaspoon of dried or fresh herbs
- Splash of red wine; or not, if you’d rather drink it.
- 250mls Beef stock
- A teaspoon of plain flour
- A dessert spoon of sun-dried tomato paste.
- Egg Wash: an egg, with a dash of milk combined with it, in a cup.
( I did this in a medium sized saucepan, as I was using the big one for the potatoes)
- Sauté the onions gently until soft.
- Add the veggies and dried herbs and allow to melt down a little. If you’re using spinach, just add it at the very end.
- Add the beef and stir it around until it browns.
- Add the wine and allow to reduce.
- Sprinkle over the flour and stir in.
- Add the hot beef stock until the sauce thickens.
- Add the sun-dried tomato paste.
MAKING THE PIE:
- Allow the filling to sit, bubbling gently away for as long as you can.When you decide to get the tin ready, remove the beef from the heat to let it cool a little before you introduce it to the pastry.
- Those ready-rolled packets of pastry are rather stingy, so I used a small 6 inch cake tin. This would feed about 4 people. Don’t forget also though, that you can roll out the pastry a little if you need to.
- To make this really simple, you could just pour the beef mixture into any handy, fairly shallow dish ( a 12 inch square lasagne dish would be perfect). Then just tuck the pastry over the top before putting it into the oven, and that would be my preference. But naturally (and you knew there’d be a ‘but’ didn’t you?) that’s not how it was done down on the farm, so I’m reduced to lining the tin, and cutting the pastry to fit etc.
- Whatever way you want to do it, get the pastry onto the filling,(put some egg-wash on it to make it even more beautiful)
- Stab it a couple of times to let the hot air out and to prevent it from bursting at the seams..
- Put the tin onto a baking tray (there are going to be spills) and pop it in the oven at about 160 for 25 mins or so.
- Today I served this with potatoes in their jackets, and some very cute petit pois.
- I use a pastry brush to put on the egg wash, but if you don’t have one, just use a piece of scrunched-up kitchen paper and paint it on.
- If you really don’t fancy all the messing about with pastry, use my really simple Suet pastry – http://eatingforireland.com/recipe/steak-and-kidney-pie/ – it’s in the recipe for Steak and Kidney Pie. This is the easiest pastry you’ll ever make.
- The good news is that any left-over beef mixture can be turned into lots of other interesting things with the addition of say, a chilli, a tin of tomatoes, stuff like that..
- It turns out that all the faffing about with the pastry was worth it when I saw Mr Sat. Night’s delight when he spied the favourite dinner of his childhood #oldsoftie