Steak Pie with Flaky Puff Pastry

Inside the steak and mushroom pieSteak pie is a dish that is strongly associated with childhood memories for me. Just last week my sister and I were reminiscing about those rare evenings when we’d get home after school and spot a Marks and Spencer steak pie in the fridge – what a treat! We absolutely loved the rich, meaty filling and the crispy top on the puff pastry, but sometimes the best part was that bottom bit of the puff pastry right next to the beef which would go a little bit soggy. A serious pleasure. I still think you’re hard-pressed to find a better ready-made steak pie than those at M&S (apart from at a butchers I suppose), but a homemade one has all the same qualities – the melt-in-the-mouth beef, the rich gravy and the flaky pastry – with the added satisfaction that you get when you make a pie.

My method for steak pie is basically to make a delicious beef stew, allow it to cool and then pile it into a pie dish and top with pastry. I usually pack as much flavour into my stew as possible with extras like mustard, redcurrant jelly and herbs. A little glass of red wine or a dark beer will also add flavour to the stew, and I almost always add mushrooms, partly because I like the texture but also to bulk up the stew without spending lots of money on beef. You can cook the stew on the hob, but I find that a couple of hours in a low oven is the best way to achieve melting chunks of beef. You can also use short crust pastry – puff pastry is just my personal preference when it comes to steak pie, probably from those M&S ones – and shop-bought pastry is perfectly acceptable if you’re short on time. Or patience. This puff pastry follows the exact same method as I showed you before, and the ingredients are nearly identical. The one difference is that I substituted a small amount of the butter for white cooking fat for added flakiness. Never a bad thing.
Ingredients for homemade steak and mushroom pie with puff pastry
Ingredients (serves 4)
450g casserole or stewing steak, cut into large chunks
2 heaped tbsp seasoned flour
1 white onion, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed or finely chopped
2 carrots, diced
250g mushrooms, cut into quarters if large
1 tsp dried rosemary
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Few drops of Worcester sauce
Small glass of red wine or ale (optional)
500ml beef stock
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp red currant jelly
1 bay leaf
Vegetable oil

190g plain flour
100g butter
25g white cooking fat
20 tbsp iced water
1 egg, beaten

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan/ Gas Mark 3. Toss the cut beef in the seasoned flour. You can do this in a bowl, but I find it easiest to pop everything into a freezer bag, tie the top and give it a good shake.
Casserole steak covered in seasoned flour
2. Heat a few tablespoons of vegetable oil in a casserole pan (the casserole pan needs to have a lid and be able to go in the oven). Fry the beef until golden brown and remove onto a plate with some kitchen roll to soak up the excess oil.
Frying the seasoned and floured steak
It’s best to do this in batches, so that the beef is just in one layer at the bottom of the pan. Don’t worry if the meat sticks to the pan, and leaves behind crispy bits – this is all added flavour in the end.
Frying the casserole steak in batches
3. Throw the onion, garlic and carrot into the hot oil and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any residue from the beef that has stuck to the bottom of the pan. Cook for 5 minutes until the vegetables are soft and turning golden brown.
Frying the onion, garlic and carrots
4. Tip in the mushrooms and continue cooking for a few more minutes, then add the beef back in, along with the dried herbs, and give everything a good mix.
Adding the mushrooms
5. Pour in the balsamic vinegar and let it bubble for a few seconds. If you’re using wine or ale then add this now and bubble for a few minutes until the liquid is reduced a little. Otherwise go ahead and add the stock, mustard and red currant jelly. Bring to the boil, tuck the bay leaf into the stew, top the pan with the lid and pop it into the oven.
Adding the seasonings and liquid
6. Cook for about 2 hours or until the beef is tender and the liquid has thickened to a gravy consistency. Check the stew after about an hour – give it a stir and add a little extra stock if necessary. Once ready, remove from the oven and leave to cool.
Homemade beef stew for a steak pie
7. While the stew cools you can make the puff pastry. This follows exactly the same steps as the puff pastry I showed you here (with more pictures): mix the fats into the flour; add the iced water and bring roughly together with a knife; tip onto a floured surface and shape into a rectangle; fold the top third down, the bottom third up, roll, turn and repeat. Once you have a smooth pastry, cover in cling film and pop into the freezer for 10-15 minutes to rest.
Ingredients for rough puff pastry
Combining the ingredients for rough puff pastry
Rough puff pastry ready to be rested
8. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas Mark 6. Spoon the beef stew into your pie dish and spread out evenly.
Chilled beef stew for steak pie
9. Roll out the puff pastry until it’s about 1cm thick and bigger than the pie dish. Lift the pastry onto the pie and press down firmly round the edges – a little egg wash round the lip of the pastry dish will help to stick it down. Cut round the pie with a sharp knife to remove the excess pastry.
Ready to assemble the steak pie
Rolling out the rough puff pastry
Topping the steak pie
10. Use the pastry trimmings to decorate your pie if you like. Brush with egg and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. If you’re not ready to bake the pie right away, you can leave it in the fridge until you are.
Steak and mushroom pie ready to be baked
Steak and mushrom pie with puff pastry
This pie will easily feed 4 people, served with a pile of lightly steamed and buttered green vegetables. However, you could definitely make it stretch to 6 people if you also make a generous helping of mashed potatoes.
Steak and mushroom pie served with green vegetables and red wine
Steak pie for Sunday dinner
A glass of red wine is not essential, but advised.

One thought on “Steak Pie with Flaky Puff Pastry

  1. Pingback: Mushroom stroganoff | The Proof of the Pudding

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