Aaron McLean http://www.aaronmclean.com
Ha! This is really just a fancy-pants casserole with a pastry lid on!
1.25kg (about 2½ pounds) thickly cut boneless chuck steak 4 Tbsp standard flour 1¾ tsp salt ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper ¼ tsp celery salt, optional 1 tsp dried oregano 250ml (about 9 fluid ounces) full bodied red wine ½ cup unsalted beef stock 1 Tbsp tomato concentrate 2 tsp creamy Dijonnaise mustard 1 Tbsp thyme leaves 2 Tbsp coarsely chopped parsley 1 large onion, peeled and cut into wedges 2 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced 2 parsnips, peeled and thickly sliced 2 stalks celery, scrubbed and thickly sliced 6 brown button mushrooms, wiped clean and halved 500g (about 1 pound) good-quality ready-made puff pastry 1 small (size 5) free-range egg yolk beaten with a pinch of salt and 1 Tbsp water
Preheat oven to 170°C (325°F).
1 Trim beef of excess fat and scrappy bits and cut into large cubes about 2–2.5cm (about 1”). Mix flour, salt, black pepper, celery salt, if using, and oregano in a clean plastic bag and shake to mix. Add beef and toss thoroughly until evenly coated. Transfer meat to a large casserole dish (one that can go on the stovetop), adding any loose flour.
2 Put wine in a jug (pitcher) and mix in stock, tomato concentrate and mustard. Pour over meat, sprinkle with thyme and parsley and mix in onion, carrots, parsnips, celery and mushrooms. Bring to a gentle boil, cover with a lid and transfer to oven. Cook for 2-3 hours, or until meat and vegetables are tender, stirring 2–3 times during cooking; add extra stock or water during cooking if it looks short of liquid (the meat should always be covered in liquid but not swimming in it).
3 Remove casserole from oven. If there is insufficient gravy, add a little more stock or water. Check seasoning, adding more salt if necessary. Cool. If more convenient, the meat can be cooked a day ahead – cool, cover and refrigerate but bring to room temperature before carrying on with recipe.
4 Increase oven temperature to 190°C (375°F). Transfer meat to pie dishes (see Recipe Notes below).
5 Roll out pastry and cut rounds, ovals or rectangles somewhat larger than the chosen pie dishes. Roll pastry pieces one at a time around a rolling pin and drape over meat. Gently press pastry onto dish, letting it hang over the edge. Make a steam hole in the centre with a thick skewer. If liked, cut out decorative leaves or shapes and stick on top of pies with a little egg wash (beaten egg yolk and salt). Brush all over pastry with egg wash. Put pie dishes on a baking sheet (tray; to catch spillages) and transfer to oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until pastry is a good golden brown. Serve hot.
Celery salt is a savoury salt flavoured with ground celery seeds. Many brands contain an anticaking agent. MasterFoods celery salt does not. It lists ingredients as salt, celery seed, rice flour, capsicum, paprika, vegetable oil, parsley. While it is not essential in this recipe, it does add a little more vegetable flavour.
I usually make two pies with these ingredients. I make the main pie in a 22cm x 6cm deep (around 9” x 2½”) Pyrex dish, then another smaller one in a medium-sized rectangular enamel pie plate (and I quite often patch the pastry for this one!). Otherwise use 2 x 4-cup deep pie dishes.
You’ll be hard-pushed to get the meat cooked to tender perfection and make the pie all in time for dinner unless you start cooking earlier in the day, BUT, this is the sort of thing that can be prepared ahead, and is the better for it, I reckon. The meat can definitely be cooked in a slow-cooker, overnight, or during the day while you are at work, then it is entirely possible to finish off the pie and cook it in time for an evening meal. Remember, though, that you want the meat to cool down and not be steamy when you put the pastry on top.
Photography by Aaron Mclean http://www.aaronmclean.com
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