It is a truth universally acknowledged that as the autumn rain and chilly winds make their appearance, one starts yearning for hearty, warming, comforting dishes.
This pie is one such dish, and it is very easy to prepare. You can make it in a large pie dish, or 6 individual ones. Unless we have guests, I usually make it in individual dishes and freeze four (unglazed) portions for another day (make sure you wrap them well before freezing, then defrost in the fridge for 24h before glazing and baking as below).
You will need (for 1 large pie, or 6 individual ones):
For the pastry:
200 g plain flour
100 g butter
1 egg, lightly beaten, for glazing
For the filling:
Handful dried mushrooms (about 30 g dry weight)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
450 g stewing steak, cubed
3 tbsp flour
250 ml hot beef stock
200 g fresh mushrooms, quartered
2 tbsp dried thyme, or 2 sprigs fresh
2 tsp cornflour
Rehydrate the dried mushrooms in hot, freshly boiled water. Reserve.
Put the flour in a bowl, season generously. Toss the meat in the flour until well covered.
In a large pan, heat up the olive oil. Shake any excess flour off the meat, and add to the pan. Cook for a few minutes until brown on all sides.
Add the onion, then the fresh mushrooms. Drain the rehydrated mushrooms and add to the pan.
Add the stock, thyme and some seasoning. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer, covered, for about 1h30.
Meanwhile, make the pastry. In a large bowl, add the salt and butter to the flour. Work the flour into the butter between your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add enough cold water to bind, knead briefly then form into a ball (you can use a food processor instead if you prefer). Wrap in cling film then chill.
When the filling is ready, preheat the oven to 200 C/ fan 190 C/ gas 6.
Mix the cornflour with a few spoonfuls of cold water, and add to the filling. Stir, then leave to thicken for about a minute. Take off the heat.
Roll out the pastry to about 5 mm thickness (roughly the thickness of a beer mat). Invert your pie dish, or individual dishes, over the pastry and cut pastry lids to shape with a sharp knife. Roll any trimmings into a ball, and freeze for another time.
Transfer the filling to the dish. With a brush, wet the rim of your pie dish(es), and carefully place the prepared pastry on top. Press down all around the edge with a fork to seal.
Bake for about 10 to 15 min for individual pies, 15 to 20 min for a large one, or until nice and golden.