Friday, 9 December 2011
I have a confession . . . we are pie nuts in this house. Sweet pies, savoury pies, creamy pies, meat pies, vegetable pies . . . if it's pie we are all over it. It has ever been so. (You probably already knew that, I know . . . we eat pie a lot!) The UK is famous for it's pies, especially steak pies . . . but then there are also chicken and mushroom, chicken and ham, pork, steak and mushroom, etc. All very tasty indeed.
Last week when I was in the shops I spied some tasty looking steak pies which looked to be topped with a vegetable mash. Oh my but they did look good . . . but with a price tag of £2.99 a piece (for a single serving pie!) I thought to myself . . . no way. I can make those at home for a lot less than that. And they'll probably taste better too!
I mean . . . how hard is it to stew some steak and make some pastry?? Not hard at all. Especially if you do your pastry in the food processor, or you could even cheat and purchase it ready made if you wanted to. (DO get the all butter one if you do though. It's much, much better.)
I thought that a parsnip mash would make a very tasty topping for these pies and I had a bag of parsnips that needed using up. Parsnips are a fabulous root vegetable with a slight sweetness, which goes very well with beef indeed.
I spiced the mash with a bit of grainy mustard and left it a bit rough, both for texture and for looks. Just look at all those craggy browned bits. I just love taking the traditional and jazzing it up with a special twist, don't you? Horseradish would also be very nice, but just a touch mind you . . . instead of the mustard.
Oh my but these were some good, with a simple vegetable on the side and lashings of beef gravy for pouring over.
I did good I think. Nom! Nom!
*Steak and Mushroom Pies*
with a Parsnip Mash topping
Deliciously tender steak pies in a crisp crust base, topped with a lovely parsnip mash. Fabulous! (I like to make the beef filling the day before.)
One quantity of short crust pastry
(Enough to line 6 individual pie dishes, or large muffin cups)
For the filling:
a small handful of dried porcini mushrooms
2 TBS vegetable oil
2 1/2 pounds of good quality braising steak, cut into large chunks
2 large onions, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tsp of golden caster sugar
4 TBS plain flour
300ml of dark ale (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 beef stock cubes, diluted in 400ml (1 1/2 cup) of boiling water
small bunch each of fresh thyme, bay leafe and parsley, tied together
200g of chestnut mushrooms, halved
salt and black pepper to taste
2 1/2 pounds of parsnips, peeled and any woody centres discarded
2 TBS butter
3 TBS milk
1 TBS grainy mustard
salt and pepper to taste
Cover the dried mushrooms in boiling water for 20 minutes, then squeeze out, reserving the soaking water.
Preheat the oven to 160*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.
Heat half of the oil in a large oven/stove top proof casserole. Add the beet and brown it really well, working in batches so that it browns instead of stewing. Add the onions to the pan and cook, stirring until they begin to soften. Add the remainder of the oil and add the fresh mushrooms. Cook and stir until browned. Add the soaked mushrooms, sizzle for about a minute longer. Sprinkle with the sugar and flour, stirring until the flour browns. Tip the meat and any accumulated juices back into the casserole. Pour over the ale, stock and porcini soaking liquid. Season to taste with some salt and pepper, tuck in the herbs and cover. Place in the oven and bake for about 2 hours until the meat is very tender. (At this point I remove it from the oven. Remove the herb stems, cool to room temperature and then place it in a plastic container and refrigerate overnight. This really helps to develop the flavours.)
The next day when you are ready to proceed, peel your parsnips and cut into chunks, discarding any woody centres. Place into a saucepan of lightly salted boiling water. Cook, until tender, about ten minutes, then drain really well. Return the parsnips to the pot, add the butter, milk, mustard and salt and pepper to taste. Roughly mash. (you want some chunks for texture) Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 220*C/425*F/ gas mark 7. Place a large flat baking tray in the oven to heat. Roll out your pastry and cut into circles large enough to line your pie dishes, or muffin cups, pleating it to make it fit. Divide your meat filling amongst the 6 pastry lined dishes. Top each with an equal quantity of mashed parsnips. Place onto the heated baking sheet in the oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes until golden brown on top, the filling is bubbling and the pastry is crisped.
I like to serve this with a few vegetables and some gravy for pouring.
Note: for an added depth of flavour you can sprinkle each pie with just a bit of stilton cheese before topping with the parsnip mash. Delicious!
Over in The Cottage today, you will find a delicious Butterscotch Pudding!