Beef, mushroom and ale pie
— 500g diced beef
— 1 small carrot, cut into small dice
— 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
— 1 small onion, finely diced
— Fresh or dried thyme – to taste
— 100g smoked pancetta slices, chopped
— 200g Chestnut mushrooms, cut into even-sized pieces
— 330ml Newcastle brown ale
— 50g tomato purée
— Plain flour to dust the beef + olive oil
— Oyster sauce – to taste
— Salt and pepper
— 1 Beef stock cube
— Puff pastry
— 1 egg beaten, – to glaze and stick the pastry
— Sea salt, poppy seeds and sesame seeds to garnish/flavour the pastry – optional
— To make the sauce: Fry the pancetta until crispy in a dry, heavy-bottomed saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid. The pancetta contains quite a lot of flavourful fat; we will use this to next sauté the onion, garlic, carrot and thyme until tender. Add 220ml of the beer, the tomato purée and the stock cube, bring to the boil. Season with the oyster sauce, salt and pepper.
— To prepare the beef: Toss the beef in a little flour then olive oil. Heat a frying pan until nearly smoking and sear the beef, if necessary do it in batches – do not overload the pan. Place the browned beef into the sauce. Sauté the mushrooms in the same frying pan as the beef, fry until they start to release their juices then add the rest of the beer, reduce the beer by half. Add the mushroom and beer mixture to the sauce. Bring to a simmer then place the lid on the pan and cook in a medium oven 150 C until the beef is tender, around 1 ½ to 2 hours; check periodically to ensure the beef does not overcook.
— When the beef has finished cooking, remove from the pan into a baking dish and cool down. The beef needs to be cold before putting the pastry on top.
— To add the pastry topping: Use a pastry brush to egg-wash the edges of the baking dish, above the pie filling. Roll out the pastry to the size of the dish but allowing for the difference between the pie filling and the top of the dish. Crimp the edges of the pastry against the baking dish. Egg-wash the top of the pastry and sprinkle with the sea salt, poppy and sesame seeds. Rest in the fridge for at least an hour before cooking – this is necessary to stop the pastry from shrinking when you cook the pie.
— Pre-heat your oven to 180 C and cook the pie for 35 to 40 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is above 75 C.