This is one of my favourite pies, a great, no-nonsense recipe. I use chuck steak, which has lots of flavour, and two types of potato: a floury variety, which falls apart and thickens the gravy, and a waxier type that holds its shape to provide texture.
- 375 g self-raising flour
- 175 g shredded beef suet
- 250 ml cold water
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 700 g chuck steak (braising steak), cut into 4–5cm chunks
- 400 g waxy potatoes, such as Dutch cream, peeled and cut into 4cm chunks (see Note)
- 400 g floury potatoes, such as Coliban or King Edward, peeled and cut into 4cm chunks
- Salt and pepper
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.
Standing time: 5 minutes + 10 minutes
Filling cooling time: at least half an hour
First make the filling. Put the onions and steak in a large pan. Add enough water to just cover them and bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 1½ hours.
Add the potatoes to the pan, along with some salt and pepper, and cook for 30–35 minutes more or until the potatoes are soft and the meat tender. The gravy should be nicely thickened by the potatoes. Check the seasoning and adjust if desired.
Pour off 300–600ml of liquid from the pan – enough to leave the filling nicely moist but not swimming in liquid – and save this to use as gravy with the pie. Transfer the filling to a 1.2 litre pie dish and leave to cool completely.
Heat oven to 200°C/gas 6.
To make the pastry, combine the flour and suet in a large bowl with some salt and pepper. Gradually mix in enough cold water to form a soft, slightly sticky dough. Leave to stand for 5 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to 7–8 mm thick. Cut a 2 cm strip of pastry. Dampen the edges of the rim of the pie dish with water. Stick the pastry strip onto the rim and dampen this too. Lay the remaining pastry on top. Press down to seal the edges, crimp or flute the edges of the pastry then trim off the excess.
Bake the pie for 30–40 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Leave to stand for 10–15 minutes before serving.
• Desirees are an all-rounder that also hold their shape well.