Three things inspired and taught me how to cook, my Mum, greed and the cooking channels on Sky TV.
Rick Stein isn’t my favourite TV chef at all (Nigella and Nigel Slater are in case you are wondering) I find him a bit irritating and I was never very keen on that little dog of his either, but he does make some delicious looking food. Despite not being his biggest fan, I do have a few of his books, my favourite being one of the books that accompanied his TV show “Food Heroes”. This pie was the first recipe I tried out when I got the book and I loved it.
I had a bit of a shit weekend, the reasons for which I won’t bore you with. Mr P&P was away in Russia for the night and I always like to have a lovely meal ready for him when he gets back, so to cheer myself up I took myself food shopping to get some nice bits for his homecoming. Amongst many other lovely things I bought some oysters, and although we rarely eat them any other way than shucked with some sort of delicious sauce – I decided that on this occasion, they were going to be turned into comfort food.
I’ve had to adapt the original recipe very slightly so as not to include mushrooms, because as I’ve probably mentioned/complained about on numerous occasions, Mr P&P absolutely loathes them and refuses point blank to even try them. ANNOYING, but seeing as it’s one of the only things about him that I dislike I think I have to let it slide…
900g braising steak cut into chunks
25g plain flour
5 tbsp vegetable oil
25g unsalted butter
4 onions, thinly sliced (I added an extra two onions in lieu of the mushrooms)
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
300ml Beef stock (I used a jelly stock pot)
3 sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tbs worcestershire sauce
10 oysters (was meant to be 12 but they only had 10 left)
500g chilled puff pastry
A little beaten egg for brushing
- Season the pieces of steak in salt and pepper, then toss with the flour and shake off but the reserve the excess. Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a large pan or casserole dish and brown the meat on all sides then transfer to a plate.
- Add the remainder of the oil, butter, onions and sugar to the pan and fry over a medium heat for 20 mins until nicely browned. Stir in the reserved flour then gradually add the stock and Guinness, and bring to the boil, stirring.
- Return the beef to the pan with the thyme, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, 3/4 tsp salt, then cover and simmer for 1.5 hours, until the meat is just tender.
- Lift the meat and onions our of the sauce and put into a deep pie dish. Rapidly boil the remaining liquid until there is a pint remaining. Remove and discard the bay leaves and thyme twigs, pour into the pie dish and mix everything together well and leave to cool.
- Shuck the oysters without stabbing yourself viciously in the hand (twice) like I did, remove from their shells and push right down into the sauce, making sure you distribute them evenly.
- Brush the rim of the pie dish with the beaten egg, cut a thin strip from the edge of your pastry (I used the lazy pre-rolled kind) and press it onto the rim of the dish. Make a cross in the middle of the remaining pastry and lay over the pie dish and press the edges together well to seal.
- Trim away the excess pastry and crimp the edges to give it an attractive finish (not like mine)
- Brush the top with the the remaining egg and bake in the oven for 30 mins or until the pastry is crisp and the sauce is bubbling hot.
I served the pie with Mashed potato (if you don’t know how to make this you then you should be ashamed) and spring greens stir fried with shallots and pancetta.