Beef, mushroom and beer pie with baby parsnips, purple sprouting broccoli and hassleback potatoes

Having two big hungry boys (as well as myself) to feed one evening I decided that only a nice hearty, but fairly healthy, pie would do. I devised a recipe involving some beef, beer and mushrooms.  This I decided to top with some thyme short crust pastry and accompany with some lovely baked baby parsnips, steamed purple sprouting broccoli and hassleback potatoes.

I started by making the pie filling, slowly frying some onions in a little oil until soft before adding the mushrooms, cooking a little more and then setting the lot aside.  Next I rolled my beef in seasoned flour before browning in the pan.  When the meat was sufficiently coloured I chucked the onions and mushrooms back in before adding the beer, an oxo cube and enough water to make sure the meat was suitably covered.  This mixture was then left on a gentle heat for about thirty minutes to reduce and become thick, before leaving it to cool a bit ready for the lid.

Next up, the pastry.  Although I tend to think puff is a step too far for producing at home, I love making my own shortcrust pastry. I have bad circulation and therefore cold hands so I’m naturally not  bad at it.  I think shortcrust is a fairly straight forward thing to make and I love that it’s so easy to add extra flavours making a dish a little more special.  This time, after a good root around in my spice and herb cupboard, I decided to add some dried thyme to the mix.

Once the pastry was resting in the fridge I set about making the potatoes.  I love hassleback potatoes.  They are pretty simple to prepare but they always look impressive on a plate!  I make mine by cutting slices most of the way through my potatoes, brushing with some oil (and garlic depending on the meal) and sprinkling with salt before baking in the oven at 180/200°C for 30-40 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes – dead easy!  With my potatoes in the oven I assembled the pie and then that to went in the oven till the crust was crisp and brown (about 25 minutes).

Overall I was pretty pleased with how it all turned out.  The pie was really tasty and the only thing I would change would be to cook the filling for even longer before making the pie as the meat was still quite chewy.  The boys seemed to enjoy it and finished the lot so I’ll say it was a job well done.

Beef, Mushroom and Beer Pie with Thyme Pastry (serves 3 or 4, depends if they are hungry boys!)

For the filling:

8 ozs of lean chopped beef or steak (about ¾ inch cubes)

An onion

200g of closed cup mushrooms, quartered

Some seasoned flour

8 fl oz beer/ale

A little water

For the pastry:

2 oz plain flour

1 oz butter

Salt and pepper

½ tsp dried thyme

Water to bind

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