Beef and Mushroom Pie

When looking for fresh and local produce lxst week, I came across some exceptional Huon Valley honey brown mushrooms.  I used them to make the following pie, very much suited to the colder winter evenings.  Use ready rolled puff or short crust pastry sheets if you prefer, but there is nothing nicer than the buttery crisp shortcrust pastry in this recipe.  It has just a touch of lemon juice to complement and enhance the flavour of the mushrooms.

Beef and Mushroom Pie

 For the pastry

90g butter

90g plain flour

90g self raising flour

½ teaspoon salt

1 egg yolk

2 teaspoons lemon juice

¼ cup cold water, approximately

Rub the butter into the combined flours and salt until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs (you can do this in a food processor).  Make a well in the centre.  Whisk the egg yolk, lemon juice and half the water together and pour into the well, then mix through with a metal spoon or knife, adding more water only if necessary to bring the mixture together.  Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

For the filling

1 tablespoon olive oil

600g diced stewing beef (such as gravy beef or chuck)

1 small onion, peeled and diced

600g mushrooms, cut into 1cm dice

2¼ cups chicken or beef stock

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cornflour

Heat the oil over medium-high heat and sauté the meat until well coloured.  Add the onion and mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes more.  Add 2 cups stock and salt, bring to the boil and simmer until the meat is tender, approximately 2 hours, adding a little extra stock or water if the mixture looks like it is starting to dry out too much. Mix the cornflour to a paste with the remaining (cold) stock and mix into the beef and mushroom mixture.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Cool.

To assemble

 Turn oven to 200°C (fan forced).  Grease a 20cm pie plate.

 On a lightly floured board, roll out two thirds of the pastry to line the base and sides of the pie dish.  Dampen the edges with a little water or egg white.  Fill with the beef and mushroom mixture.  Roll out the rest of the pastry and place over the filling.  Press edges together well to seal.  Trim excess pastry*.  Prick in several places with a fork.

 Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 170°C and bake a further 20 minutes or until the pastry is lightly browned and crisp.

 Serve with creamy mashed potato and seasonal vegetables.

 *HINT: Wrap trimmings of pastry in cling film for later use – it will keep well in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.

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