• 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1kg braising steak
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g smoked bacon
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 500mls Burgundy
  • 250mls beef stock
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 200g shallots
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms
  • 1 medium egg
  • 500g all butter puff pastry

Now I know this sounds like a lot of ingredients and possibly therefore hard work, but I promise you it’s not. It’s the dish that really gives back. It’s pretty quick to prepare, you make the filling the day before you want it and then on the night just assemble and bake. Everyone loves it and it’s grown up enough for having friends over for dinner and yet homely enough for a regular Tuesday night supper. I serve with green beans usually plus a little mashed potato if I’m feeling especially in need of comfort.

If you’re the type of person who wraps all their presents for Christmas by September and laughs in the face of panic buying then you might even make the filling ahead and stash it in the freezer ready for a rainy or even a snowy day. Just imagine having this as a standby supper… And if slow cooker standbys are your thing then have a look here. Loads of ideas.

One year ago: Mini Yorkshire pudding canapes and Christmas pudding fizz and Brandy butter icing and Rudolf morsels

Two years ago: Lime meringue pie with chocolate pastry andChristmas scones and Ginger cake with Christmas cottage andHot chocolate on a stick

Three years ago: Moonuts and Cheese biscuits and Parsnip soup and Inauthentic chicken tagine

My slow cooker beef bourguignon pie

Serves 6 – 8

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1kg braising steak, cut into 5cm chunks
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g smoked bacon, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1tbsp Schwartz garlic paste
  • 500mls Burgundy or any red wine you have in the house
  • 250mls beef stock made up with a stock cube and boiling water
  • 2 Schwartz dried bay leaves
  • 1 tsp Schwartz dried thyme
  • 200g shallots, peeled and halved
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, halved
  • 1 medium egg beaten with a pinch of salt
  • 500g all butter puff pastry (plus a little flour for rolling)

Mix the flour, salt and pepper together in a bowl and then toss the beef in it, making sure each piece is well covered. Heat the oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat and add the beef cubes about 8 – 10 at a time, turning the pieces in order to brown them. Don’t overcrowd the pan! If you do the pieces won’t brown. Once each few pieces are brown transfer to a dish. Repeat until all the meat is brown.

Fry the smoked bacon, onion and garlic in the remaining oil then add the browned beef. When the onion has softened and the bacon cooked through add the Burgundy, beef stock, bay leaves and thyme and bring to the boil. Once bubbling away, scrape the bottom of the pan to make sure all the meat juices are incorporated into the sauce and then transfer to your slow cooker. Add the shallots and mushrooms and leave on ‘low’ for 3.5 hours. (If you don’t have a slow cooker you can use the oven at 140C/gas mark 1 for 2 hours, though ensure your casserole dish has a well fitted lid.)

Once the beef is well cooked and easy to break apart with a fork, remove the bourguignon from the heat and allow to cool (if your sauce is very thin then you can strain the meat and vegetables over a colander, retaining the sauce into a saucepan, then reduce over a high heat stirring constantly). When completely cool (I leave mine overnight in the fridge) you can assemble and bake your pie. Please don’t try and assemble when the filling is hot as the pastry will melt with the heat resulting in a very unsatisfactory looking pie.

Preheat your oven to 220C/gas mark 7 and place the cold pie filling in a large pie dish. I prefer enamel pie dishes as they conduct heat best. Then roll the pastry out onto a floured work surface using a lightly floured rolling pin. You need to roll it to about the thickness of a pound coin, just about 3cm larger than the pie dish. Trim the edges of the pastry you have rolled to remove some strips about 2cm wide. Egg wash the rim of the pie dish, then fix the strips to the dish, pressing down firmly. Egg wash the now pastry lined dish rim again, then place the rolled out pastry lid over the top, being careful not to stretch the pastry too much (or it will shrink when baking). Press down gently around the edges and use scissors to cut the edge of the pastry to about 1/2 cm larger than the rim of the pie dish.

pie edge

You can then ‘knock up’ the edges of the pastry as per the photo above, or you can use a fork to press the pastry together leaving a pleasing pattern on the edge. Make a hole in the centre of the pie, in a cross shape, about 4cm across, using sharp knife (you can use a pie funnel if you like but this isn’t necessary – if you do use one insert before adding the pastry lid.) Egg wash the whole pie with a pastry brush and then bake for 40 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.

In association with Schwartz.

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