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    Beef and mushroom pies

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    Beef and mushroom pies

    Slow-cooked beef, so tender it falls off the bone, makes an indulgent pie filling with earthy porcini and chestnut mushrooms. Individual portions are great for batch cooking and freezing, or cook our cover recipe for a family feast. 

    • Preparation time: 25 minutes, plus chilling and cooling
    • Cooking time: 4 hours 10 minutes
    • Total time: 4 hours 35 minutes, plus chilling and cooling

    Makes: 4


    2 tbsp olive oil
    about 1kg beef short ribs
    12 shallots, sliced
    6 garlic cloves, sliced
    30g dried porcini mushrooms
    800g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
    1 fresh bay leaf
    ½ x 20g pack fresh thyme
    2 tbsp dark muscovado sugar
    1 litre fresh beef stock
    1 tbsp cornflour

    120g unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
    225g plain flour, plus extra to dust
    ¼ x 20g pack fresh thyme, leaves picked
    1 egg yolk
    1 egg, beaten, to glaze


    1. Heat the oil in an ovenproof heavy-based pan or casserole dish. Season the short ribs then fry for 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until browned all over. Transfer to a plate. Add the shallots and garlic to the pan with a pinch of salt; cook over a low heat for 12-15 minutes, until soft.

    2. Meanwhile, put the porcini mushrooms in a small bowl, cover with just-boiled water and soak for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180˚C, gas mark 4. Stir the porcini, soaking liquid and chestnut mushrooms into the shallots; turn up the heat and cook for 5 minutes, until soft. Tie the bay leaf and thyme into a bunch with string and add to the pan along with the browned beef, sugar and stock. Bring to the boil, then cover the surface with baking parchment and put in the oven. Cook for 2 hours, then remove the parchment, turn the beef over and cook for 1 hour more.

    3. In the final hour of cooking, make the pastry. In a large bowl, using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour with a pinch of salt until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the thyme leaves. Add the egg yolk and 1 tbsp cold water and, using a palette or blunt-edged knife, draw the mixture together. When it starts to clump, bring it together with your hands, sprinkling water on any dry patches. Knead lightly into a smooth disc. Wrap in foil or reusable food wrap then chill for at least 20 minutes.

    4. Carefully transfer the beef pan to the hob. Turn the oven up to 220˚C, gas mark 7. Use tongs to lift the short ribs onto a board. Over a medium-high heat, bring the mushroom mixture to the boil. Put the cornflour in a small bowl and add 6 tbsp of the mushroom gravy, stir until smooth then tip back into the pan. Bubble for 5-10 minutes, until reduced by 2 /3. Shred the meat, discarding the bones and large pieces of fat, then stir into the thickened mushrooms. Divide between 4 x 16cm x 11cm oval (or 4 x 12.5cm round) pie dishes and put on a baking tray. Cool for at least 30 minutes.

    5. Lightly flour the work surface. Cut the pastry into quarters then roll out, one at a time, until big enough to top the pie dishes. Carefully lift onto the pie dishes, trim the edges then crimp and seal the pastry. Brush with a little beaten egg. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until browned on top. Serve with Tenderstem broccoli if liked. 

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    This recipe first appeared in Waitrose & Partners Food, October 2019 issue. Download the Waitrose & Partners Food app for the full issue


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