A lovely hearty dish to prepare ahead and then pop in the oven to cook whilst you go for a nice long walk. I first saw this on Saturday Kitchen, being cooked by the lovely James Martin. As usual, a couple of adaptations added to make life simpler and a bit more tastier by me!
75g/3oz plain flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper
750g/1½lb braising steak, cut into 5cm/2in cubes
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 shallots, chopped
125g/4½oz baby onions (or small onions), peeled
400g/14oz carrots, cut into large pieces
4 sprigs fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
4 tbsp tomato purée
300ml/10fl oz ale
300ml/10fl oz hot beef stock
500g/1lb 2oz ready-made puff pastry, rolled to 0.5cm/½in thickness
1 free-range egg, beaten
Plenty of peas to serve!
1. Preheat the oven to Gasmark 3
2. Sprinkle the flour onto a plate and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover the steak pieces in the flour.
3. Heat an ovenproof casserole dish over a high heat, and fry the steak pieces for 3-4 minutes, or until nice and browned .
4. Remove the steak from the pan, and add to the pan the shallots, onions and carrots to the emptied casserole pan – fry until soft.
5. Add the thyme, bay leaves and tomato purée and stir well to combine.
6. Add the ale and stir well.
7. Return the steak pieces to the pot, add the stock, stir well and bring the mixture to the boil.
8. Pop the pan into the oven and cook for 1½ hours, or until the beef is tender and the gravy has thickened.
9. Turn the oven up to gasmark 7.
10. Divide the beef and gravy mixture among four small ovenproof dishes.
11. Cut the pastry into four equal pieces, each one big enough to cover the small pie dishes.
12. Brush some water around the rim of each small pie dish, then place one piece of pastry over each pie and press the edges to seal the pastry to the dish.
13. Brush each pie with the beaten egg, then place the pies in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry is pale golden-brown.
14. To serve, place the small pie dishes onto serving plates and add a nice serving of peas.