FRIDAY SUPPER: STEAK & LEFFE PIE
With the light evenings, sunny days and milder weather, I suppose I should really be cooking spring lamb, or something light, but Nick, my regular Friday night dinner companion, likes robust, wholesome food - and so do I, if truth be told. I also wanted something I could make in advance. The filling is adapted from Nigella's steak & kidney pudding recipe, and the pie crust is simply bought puff pastry. I could have, should have, made my own pastry - but, hey, life's complicated enough, ain't it?
I'm serving this homely pie with braised red cabbage and maple roasted parsnips. There's a nice bottle of rose wine a-chillin' in the fridge - Nick will bring the red to drink with the meal. For pudding, it's flourless chocolate brownies AND Forgotten Cookies. A veritable embarrassment of culinary riches!
Steak & Ale Pie
Serves 4, generously
2 tbsps plain flour mixed with 1/2 tsp mustard powder
1 kg stewing steak, cut into 2 cm pieces
2 tbsps olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
150g flat mushrooms, peeled & roughly chunked
150ml beef stock
150ml real ale, Leffe Brun, or stout
Good dash of Worcestershire Sauce
500g ready-made puff pastry
Oven: 150C. You will need a medium-sized pie dish
Warm the butter and oil in a casserole. Dust the meat with flour and fry in batches until browned. Remove and set aside. Fry the onion, then add the mushrooms and fry them briefly, adding more oil if needed. Return the meat to the casserole and add the stock, beer and Worcestershire Sauce. Bring to the boil, scraping the floury bits off the bottom (this will help thicken the sauce). Cover with a lid and cook in a preheated oven for 1.5 hours (checked occasionally to make sure it does not dry out). At this point, you can leave the meat overnight and assemble the pie the next day.
Put the meat in the pie dish. Roll out the pastry so that it is slightly bigger than the dish (remember puff pastry shrinks in cooking). Top off the pie with pastry and brush with milk or egg to create a glaze. Cook in a hot oven until golden brown and puffed up. Eat.