Friday, 1 April 2011

FRIDAY SUPPER: STEAK & LEFFE PIE

For the uninitiated, Leffe is a wonderful Belgian beer, originally brewed at the Notre Dame de Leffe. The beer is creamy, sweet and flavourful. It is also very strong! Of course, you don't have to use Leffe for this recipe - any "ale" will do, though a real ale will offer greater depth of flavour. I didn't want to buy a 4-pack of Guinness because I knew I would want to drink it, so instead I bought a 75cl bottle of Leffe Brun, the dark variety which has full, sweet taste, and the same delicious creamy finish as the Blonde variety.

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
25g butter
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.

1 comment:

  1. Just what I was looking for a New Year's Day steak pie! Hardly any recipes using Leffe out there (and it's one of the best Belgian beers we can get over here) so thank you, will give this a go!

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