“If you’re a fan of pies, this is one to take very seriously. The crust is studded with the lovely earthiness of blue cheese, encasing a richly flavourful braised beef – it’s a marriage made in heaven and I promise it’s worth the effort! The pastry includes copha – you can use all butter, if preferred, but copha will create a lighter result. If you like, you can cut some leaf shapes with any remaining pastry to decorate the pie before baking.” Poh Ling Yeow, Poh & Co. 2
- olive oil, for cooking
- 120 g butter
- 1.75 kg beef blade or chuck steak or beef cheeks
- sea salt and ground black pepper
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3 large onions, 1 finely chopped, 2 thinly sliced
- 3 carrots, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 1 bouquet garni (2 bay leaves, 1 rosemary sprig, 10 thyme sprigs, 4 parsley stalks and 1 bay leaf, tied together with kitchen string)
- 750 ml (3 cups) Guinness, stout or dark ale beer
- 500 ml (2 cups) beef stock
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp Pedro Ximénez sherry
- 50 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 35 g (¼ cup) plain flour
Blue cheese pastry
- 400 g (2⅔ cups) plain flour
- 50 g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
- 40 g copha
- 170 g Stilton or other strong blue cheese, crumbled
- pinch of salt
- 125 ml (½ cup) iced water
- 1 egg, lightly whisked
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time 45 minutes
Chilling time 30 minutes
Heat olive oil and 30 g of the butter in a large enamelled cast-iron casserole or heavy-based saucepan over medium–high heat. Working in batches so as not to crowd the pan, cook the beef, turning, for 6–8 minutes or until well browned all over, then season with salt and pepper. Transfer the beef to a plate and leave to cool. When cool enough to handle, shred into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
Add another 50 g of the butter, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the garlic, chopped onion, carrot and celery to the pan and cook over low heat for 6–8 minutes or until translucent, then add half the remaining butter and a drizzle of olive oil and stir for another 1–2 minutes. Add the bouquet garni, Guinness and stock and bring to the boil. Return the beef to the pan, then cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 hours or until the beef is tender. Transfer the beef to a plate, then increase the heat to high, add the Worcestershire sauce and sherry and simmer for 20 minutes or until the sauce has reduced by half.
Heat the remaining butter and a drizzle of olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan over medium heat, then add the sliced onion and cook for 8–10 minutes or until dark brown with a little charring. Add the onion and shredded beef to the pan of braising liquid. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Place the unsalted butter and flour on a small plate, then, using a fork, press together to form a smooth paste. Gradually add enough of the flour mixture to the pan to thicken the filling mixture to your liking. Spread the beef filling on a baking tray, cover loosely with plastic wrap and set aside to cool, then place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill completely.
Meanwhile, to make the pastry, place the flour, butter, copha, Stilton and salt in a food processor and pulse until pea-sized crumbs form. With the motor running, gradually add enough of the iced water, pulsing, until the dough starts to come together to form a ball. Shape the dough into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
To assemble the pie, divide the dough into two pieces, one larger than the other, then form into two discs. Flour the benchtop well and roll out the larger disc to form a 4 mm-thick round, then use to line a 25 cm × 5 cm deep pie tin/dish; leave enough pastry at the edge so there is a 2 cm overhang, then trim off any excess. Add the trimmings to the remaining disc of pastry and roll out to 4 mm thick round. Cut a 1.5 cm hole in the centre to allow steam to escape. Fill the pie shell with the beef filling, then gently drape the pastry lid over the top. Trim the top layer of pastry to roughly match the bottom one, then crimp or pleat the edges to seal. Brush the top generously with the whisked egg.
Bake the pie for 40-60 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Leave to rest for 10–15 minutes before serving.
Photography, styling and food preparation by china squirrel.
Poh & Co. 2 Thursdays at 8.30pm on SBS.
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