Monday, July 23, 2012

Steak & Mushroom Pie

A couple of weeks ago the Volvo Ocean Race arrived in Galway for the grand finale and to celebrate we had a race-village set up at the docks, full of stands selling all sort of yummy food. You wanna know the one that I got the most excited about? The pie stand! It was from Pie-Minister, a UK pie shop, and the pies were amazing! I had a steak pie that was so good that I was craving meat pie for the rest of the week. I couldn't just go back and buy one though, they were way too expensive! 5 euro for a pie - that's like 8 NZ dollars, for just one pie! It was worth it, but only the once. Instead, it is time to formulate a recipe for an amazing steak and gravy pie that will leave people drooling for more. Over the weekend I stayed out of the rain and in the kitchen making a thick beef and mushroom stew and shortcrust pastry.

The filling was amazing, the pies were good, but I feel let down by the pastry. I think it is time to give up on shortcrust pastry and try my hand at a flaky pastry because what I really want is something lighter. For now, however, I will leave you with a recipe for basic shortcrust pastry (enough for one really big pie or 6 giant muffin tin pies) and recommend that if, like me, you don't like stodgy, buttery pastry, you should just buy the pre-made, frozen stuff. Even better, get the one that is sold as ready-rolled sheets and then the whole pie-making process is a breeze! Most people use shortcrust pastry for the base and flaky or puff pastry for the top, but you could use flaky pastry for the whole thing if you like. Or if you can't be bothered with pastry at all you can make it like a cottage pie and simply pile it in a dish, top with mashed potato and bake until the top is crispy.

Steak and Mushroom Pie Filling
You should do this part early in the day or the night before, as the filling has to be completely cold before you put it in the pastry base.

800 grams stewing steak, diced into small pieces
1 onion, diced
250 grams mushrooms, diced
3 cups cold water
4 cubes oxo beef stock (or other stock, or liquid stock instead of water)
3 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon marmite or vegemite (you don't need to add this but it does add a bit more depth to the flavour)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons bisto/gravy powder

In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan heat some oil, then add the onions and cook until soft. Add some of the meat and cook, stirring, until brown on all sides. Place the browned meat in a separate bowl and brown the rest of the meat in batches until it has all been browned.

Place the meat back into the saucepan (or a casserole dish) along with the remaining ingredients. The reason that you want the water (or stock) to be cold when you add it is so that the bisto (gravy powder) does not turn into a clumped, gluey mess. It's easiest this way - if the liquid is already hot you have to add some of the liquid to the bisto, stir it to a paste, add more liquid, stir it to a thinner paste, and then very slowly stir it into the stew. But it will probably still form gluey clumps. So begin with cold stock.

When you have all of your ingredients in your large saucepan or casserole dish, bring them to boil and then simmer until the gravy is really thick. Season it to taste with more salt and pepper (and garlic powder or worcestershire sauce or anything you like). When it is done, remove it from the heat and let it cool until it is cold.

Shortcrust Pastry
adapted from BBC good food

400 grams plain flour
180 grams cold butter, cubed
1 egg
3 tablespoons cold water

For the pastry, sift the flour into a large bowl and add the butter. Rub the butter into the flour using either your finger tips or one of those fancy wire pastry thingies. When you are finished it should look like bread crumbs.

Add the egg and the water and mix it in with your hands, until all of the flour has been incorporated. If it has been done right the bowl should be pretty much clean afterward and you will have a smooth ball of dough. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill it for at least half and hour.

When the dough has been chilled and the filling is cold you can assemble the pies. Roll the dough out as thing as you can, then line your pie dish (or several small dishes). Press the pastry gently into the dish, so that it reaches into all of the corners. Spoon in the filling until it reaches the top, then lay more pastry over the filling, squeezing the edges together to seal them.

Cut some holes in the top of the pastry, brush with a whisked egg if you like, and bake for about 20 minutes or so, until the pastry is golden and the filling bubbling out of the holes in the top.


  1. I share you love for meat pies. When summer is over, I will be making this to help get through the winter.


  2. Hi--visiting from Tuesdays at the Table. Looks delicious! I love mushrooms, so I had to see what this pie was all about.

  3. Hi there. This week's Food on Friday is all about mushrooms! So it would be great if you linked this in. This is the link . Have a good week.

    PS I am a follower of your blog. I know you have linked in before, too – which is great. Would you consider following Carole's Chatter back – or are you already?

  4. Thanks for linking this in to Food on Friday. Cheers

  5. yummy. Top marks for this, tastes delicious. Thanks for sharing.



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