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Saturday, 7 March 2015


Beef and mushroom pie
National Pie Week was celebrated with a home made beef and mushroom pie. The recipe is easy enough if a little time consuming. You can make this in two stages by cooking the beef first and eventually making it into a pie.
We used a cheap cut of beef and slow cooked this first in the slow cooker. You can use any of the cheap cuts such as brisket, stewing beef or braising steak. If you can find it, you can also use LMC - which stands for leg of mutton, a cut from over the blade, and often used for a pot roast. We wanted to test this cut of meat which we hadn't used before, and we were very impressed with the results and flavour.
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Here's our recipe:

500g slow cook beef
stock vegetables - celery, carrot, onion, garlic
150g button mushrooms
Beer or light ale, stock or water
Worcestershire sauce - optional
Henderson's relish - optional
Mushroom ketchup - optional 
120g plain flour
30g lard
30g butter
beaten egg
Making the pie base we used a slow cooker, but you can use whatever method you like such as pot roasting or oven roasting. The beauty of the slow cooker is that you can leave it to its own devices and get on with your life. Add stock vegetables to the pot: chopped celery, carrots, onions, garlic etc. Place the cubed beef (500g) on top of the vegetables and cover with beer (we used a light ale), stock or water. Cook until the meat is tender. If you want a more intense flavour you can add mushroom ketchup and Worcestershire sauce or Henderson's relish. Add some button mushrooms for the last 15 minutes. Remove meat and button mushrooms then blend the stock and vegetables together (which makes a nice thick gravy). Season the gravy with salt and pepper to taste - add it a little at a time and taste as you go. Tip the meat, mushrooms and gravy into an oven proof dish and top with a layer of pastry. We stuck a strip of pastry around the rim of the dish then laid the pastry lid on top and brushed with beaten egg.
Making the pastry was very easy, especially if you have one of those stick blenders with a mini mixing bowl attachment. For our pastry topping we used 120g plain flour and 60g of fat (half butter, half lard) and a pinch of salt. The lard gives the pastry its crisp, flakiness and using the blender reduces the 'handling' time (it blends in just 30 seconds) which helps make it very light. Once blended, tip the mixture into a bowl and add enough water to bring it together into a dough. Roll into a ball and put into the fridge for at least half an hour before rolling out.
Cooking the pie - at 200ºC (180ºC fan) for around 40 minutes or until nice and browned.

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