3 medium onions
2 stalks of celery
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
1 pound of good-quality ground beef
1-teaspoon English mustard
1 teaspoon of Marmite
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons of all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 quart of beef broth
2 X 9 inch piecrusts
1 large egg, preferably free range or organic, or a splash of milk
Peel and roughly chop your onions, carrots and celery – don’t worry about technique, just chop away until fine. Remove the fresh rosemary leaves from the woody stalk and chop finely. Place a large casserole-type pan on a high heat. Add two lugs of olive oil, all the vegetables, the rosemary, and the bay leaves. Stir every minute for around ten minutes or until the veggies have softened and lightly colored. Stir in the ground beef, breaking up the large chunks with a wooden spoon. Add the mustard, Marmite, Worcestershire sauce, and two teaspoons of flour. Add the beef broth and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer with the lid slightly askew for about an hour, stirring every now and again to stop it catching.
To Make Your Pie
Fill a large baking dish with the beef filling and allow it to cool down. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator 10 minutes before you need to roll it out. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Dust a clean work surface and your rolling pin with some flour and lay the pie crusts one on top of the other, then fold in half and roll out the pastry to 1/8 inch thick. Once its large enough to cover your serving dish easily, wind the pastry around the rolling pin and unroll it over the dish (don’t worry if it breaks or tears, just patch it up – you’ll get the hang of it!). Run a knife around the edge of the dish to trim off any excess pastry. Using a fork, press down around the edge of the pastry to “crimp” it. Make a hole in the middle of the pastry using the tip of a knife. Brush the top of the pastry with the beaten egg or a little milk. Bake on the bottom shelf of the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and crisp.
To Serve Your Pie
Place the pie in the middle of the table for everyone to help themselves. As it’s so scrummy and rich, it’s best served with some simply steamed greens like broccoli or peas tossed in a little butter.
To Make Your Shortcrust Pastry
Even if you’ve never made pastry before if you stick to the correct measurements for the ingredients and you follow this method exactly, you’ll be laughing. Try to be confident and bring the pastry together as quickly as you can – don’t knead it too much or the heat from your hands will melt the butter. A good tip is to hold your hands under cold running water beforehand to make them as cold as possible. That way you’ll end up with a delicate, flaky pastry every time.
To make a savory shortcrust pastry, mix ½ a cup of grated Cheddar cheese into your butter and flour mixture with a generous pinch of sea salt. Add a small handful of thyme or chopped rosemary leaves to add flavor.
makes two pounds of dough
1 cup of good quality cold butter
2 large eggs, preferably free-range or organic
a splash of milk
4 ½ cups of All-purpose flour
Cut your cold butter into small cubes. Crack your eggs into a bowl with a splash of milk and beat together with a fork. Sift the flour from a height on to a clean work surface. Using your hands gently work the cubes of butter into the flour by rubbing your thumbs against your fingers until you end up with a fine, crumbly mixture. Add you chosen flavoring (add a handful of fresh rosemary or thyme, and half a cup of grated cheddar cheese). Gradually add the eggs and milk and work everything together until you get a ball of dough. If your dough feels a little dry or doesn’t come together, then add an extra splash (Editors note* as little as possible). Sprinkle a little flour over the ball. Sprinkle the ball and work surface with some more flour and place the ball on top. Remember not to work the pastry too much at this stage or it will become elastic and chewy, not crumbly and short. Pat the ball until you have a flat round. Sprinkle it with a little bit more flour, then wrap it in plastic and put it in the refrigerator to rest (or “prove”) for about 30 minutes.
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