Saturday, 6 March 2010

Steak and Winter Vegetable Pie

This pie is not much of a stretch from a Cornish pasty, except it's a little quicker to make because you don't have any fiddly pleating to do and if you have a ROARING hangover (and I do!) it's quick to fix, as well as just about the perfect hang-over food.
Again, this is a very inexpensive but nourishing meal which features ingredients available abundantly at this time of the year.
Steak and Winter Veg Pie
Takes 1 hour, Serves 4

For the pastry:
300g (15 oz) COLD* plain (all purpose) flour
1 tsp baking powder
75g (3.5oz) cold butter, cut into 1cm cubes
75g (3.5oz) cold lard (or veg shortening if you must), cut into 1cm cubes
1/2tsp fine sea salt
1 egg
100ml cold* water
1 more egg, beaten

For the Filling:
200g rump steak, cut into 2cm cubes
1 floury potato, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
1 small turnip, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
1/2 small swede (rutabaga), peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into 1cm dice
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
1 large parsnip, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
1 clove, garlic, crushed
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp veg oil

First, make the pastry. *If you have time before, put the flour and water in the fridge, and you don't want to take the lard or butter out of the fridge until you need to use it. The point is to keep the fat from melting at all until you bake the pastry. This keeps it super super flaky and light instead of crunchy and hard. You can either do this in a bowl with a couple of cold butter knives or in a food processor. Either way, try to keep your hands out of the mix, as it will warm up the fat and melt it (which is bad!) I used the food processor this time.
In the food processor bowl, tip in all the flour, the salt baking powder, the butter and the lard.
Pulse several times for 15-20 seconds to cut the fat into the flour until you have mixture about the texture of fresh breadcrumbs. Tip this lot into a chilled bowl.
Beat your egg and water together, pour about half of it into the mix and stir with a knife. Add more of the water mixture as needed until you can just about bring the pastry together into a ball without it totally crumbling. DON'T over mix as it will toughen the flour, and use as little water as you can get away with. This again will give you a very light, flaky 'short' pastry.
Wrap your ball of pastry in cling film and pop it in the fridge for at least half an hour, or however long it takes you to make your filling.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Fry the meat for a few minutes without stirring too much, so that the outside gets a nice brown colour on it all over, then remove to a plate.
Lower the heat to medium add the onions and garlic to the pan and cook for a few minutes until golden, then add in the rest of the veggies, salt and herbs. Cook the veg for 7-10 minutes until they're all a little coloured and quite tender. Add the steak back to the pan, stir thoroughly
to combine, then turn off the heat.
Turn the oven to 19oC/375F
Divide the ball of dough into two 40/60 pieces and roll the larger one out between two layers of cling film or baking paper until a little larger than the pie plate you're going to use. Line the pie plate with the pastry, making sure it over-laps the edge a little. Pile the filling into the pie casing, making sure to push it well into the bottom corners, then roll out the smaller piece of dough between two layers of cling film to the size of the pie tin. Brush a little beaten egg around the top edge of the bottom pie case and carefully lay the top sheet of pastry over the top, pressing gently around the outside edge to seal.
Carefully trim the excess pastry form the edge and use a dinner fork to press all the way around, creating a pretty, firm edge. Poke a couple of small holes in the top centre and brush the whole pie with the remaining beaten egg. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the crust is golden brown and crisp.

This pie is nice by itself, but I like to serve it with steamed, buttered broccoli or cabbage.

Steak Pie

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