Cook this: from scratch beef & bacon pie

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Flaky, golden pastry. Tender, soft chunks of beef. Crispy bits of bacon. Gooey, melted cheese. And that punch of red wine and thyme that you can smell from the next room. As if you need any more convincing! Home made pies; yeah, they’re a little time consuming, but if you’ve got a few hours to kill over the weekend, I promise you that the end product will be MORE than worth your time and efforts! Husband and I were both craving some good, old fashioned meat pies, so I needed a good, no, a great recipe to satisfy; I needed help from Donna Hay for this one. Well, for the filling anyway; I’d like to think I’ve already got pretty solid pastry skills.

So, first things first – get that pastry going. It needs to rest in the fridge before you even think about turning the oven on, for at least 30 minutes, up to 2 or 3 hours. You can use my recipe for pastry right here, making it from scratch, or if you’re a little short on time or patience, feel free to buy some from the supermarket! If you’re going the whole hog from scratch, I doubled this recipe to make 4 pies that were made in Texas muffin tins (read: giant cupcake sized).

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While the pastry is chilling in the fridge, get the filling going. I used a recipe from an old Donna Hay cookbook as a base for my pies; here’s the recipe with my changes!

Ingredients:
– 800g chuck steak, cut into bite-sized chunks
– plain flour, for dusting
– olive oil
– 4 rashers bacon, diced
– 1 small brown onion, diced
– 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
– 1 cup red wine
– 1½ cups beef stock
– 2 tsp thyme leaves
– sea salt and cracked pepper
– 1½ tbsp plain flour
– 3 tbsp water
– 4 tbsp grated manchego cheese

Method:
1. Once you’ve made the pastry and popped it in the fridge to chill, place the steak in a large bowl and dust with plain flour. Make sure all pieces are well coated. And, preheat the oven to 180°C while you’re at it!

2. Heat a large pot over high heat and add a generous amount of olive oil. Add the meat, in batches if need be, and cook for 3 – 4 minutes until well browned.

3. Remove the meat from the pot, add a little more olive oil, as well as the onion and bacon. Cook, stirring constantly for a few minutes, until the bacon starts to brown. Then add the garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute.

4. Return the meat to the pot, along with the red wine, beef stock, thyme, and as much salt and pepper as you like. Bring to the boil, then simmer, covered, for half an hour.

5. While the filling is simmering away, take the pastry out of the fridge and roll it out. Personally, I like my pastry a little thicker, but each to their own! Cut out larger circles of pastry for the pie shells, and smaller circles for the tops. Spray your pie (or Texas muffin) tins with cooking oil, and fit the pastry in, pressing firmly around all edges. Prick a few holes on the bottom of each pastry shell, line with baking paper, and fill with pie weights or rice. Put the tray in the fridge until the 30min of covered simmering time is up.

6. When that 30 minutes is up, take the tin out of the fridge and put it into the oven. At the same time, remove the lid from the pot and simmer for another 15-20 minutes. When that time is up, take the pastry out of the oven – it should be a light, golden colour.

7. Mix the flour and water together in a small bowl, and add it to the pie filling. Bring the mixture to the boil again, and stir until it thickens up to a consistency you’re happy with.

8. Fill your pie shells with mixture, add a little grated cheese on top, then place the pastry rounds on top, carefully pressing on the edges. If you need a bit more stickyness to help you, brush a little water around the edges of the rounds. Make one or two small slits in the tops, and pop them back in the oven for another 20 minutes, or until golden (For added golden-ness, I like to brush a little melted butter on top first).

What’s gonna come out of the oven and onto your plate (let them cool for a few minutes first, or you can kiss your tongue goodbye!) is probably not going to be the most beautiful pie in the world. Mince certainly weren’t. But you’re going to have a crispy little golden shell filled with soft, tender beef, and the subtle melty cheese which adds the perfect touch to balance out the rich, strong flavours of the filling.

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I was so stoked with how these pies turned out, with the fabulous Ms Donna Hay once again coming to my rescue! Who else has a stock pile of her cook books that never let you down?!

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