Makes 6 depending on the size
I’m bragging now but this recipe was the winner in a cook off on live TV the NBC Todays Show. The potato pastry was what helped clinch the prize! It’s a wonderful Irish heritage recipe that was passed to me.
For the filling
100g smoked bacon, sliced into lardons
1kg round steak stewing beef, diced
Plain flour, seasoned with salt & pepper
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, diced
400g tinned diced tomatoes
1½ tbsp tomato puree
2 tsp sugar
¾ tsp English Mustard powder
A bouquet garni (4 to 5 parsley sprigs, 1 fresh thyme sprig and 1 bay leaf, tied together)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
200g chestnut mushrooms or any of your favourite, cleaned and sliced
1 tbsp butter
For the pastry
170g plain flour
½ tsp salt
115g chilled butter, diced
150g steamed potatoes, pressed through a ricer
¾ tsp baking powder
Cold water (about 3 tbsp), to bind
Flour, for dusting
Heat a casserole dish with oil over a medium heat and sauté the bacon until crispy, transfer to a clean plate and set aside. Toss the diced beef into the seasoned flour and dust the excess flour off. Add a little more oil to the casserole and fry the beef in batches until browned on all sides. Place the seared beef pieces on the clean plate with the bacon and set aside.
Add a little more oil to the casserole and gently sauté the onion until just softened but not brown. Deglaze the pan with some stout. Return the beef and the bacon and its juices to the casserole and stir in the red pepper, tomatoes, tomato puree, sugar, mustard and bouquet garni to the saucepan and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Add the rest of the stout and bring to the boil, cover, reduce the heat and simmer over a low heat for about 1½ hours or until the meat is tender and the sauce thick. Stir from time to time.
During the last 10 minutes of the cooking time, heat a medium frying pan with a little butter and add the mushrooms with some salt and pepper and sauté for about 4 to 5 minutes. When the casserole is cooked, add the mushrooms and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Check the seasoning, adding salt & pepper if required.
During the cooking time, prepare the pastry. Firstly sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl. Add the diced butter and rub with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the baking powder and mix well. Stir in the mashed potatoes and pour in just enough cold water to form soft pastry dough. Turn the dough out on a floured surface and knead very lightly.
When you are ready to make the pies, remove the bouquet garni from the beef.
Choose 6 ramekins. Preheat the oven to 210°C/fan 190°C/gas 7. Carefully roll out on a floured surface, the pastry shouldn’t be too thin and roll out the pastry. Using a large cutter, cut out 6 or more discs that are 2cm larger than the ramekins. Spoon the beef into the bowls, brush the edges with egg wash and place the pastry discs on top. Crimp the edges. Make a small hole in the top for the steam to escape.
Leave in the fridge to “rest” for about 20 minutes.
Brush with egg wash and transfer in the oven for about 18 to 20 minutes or until golden and baked.
Leave to “rest” for about 5 minutes before serving with a fresh garden green salad.