This is an excellent dinner for a quiet and lazy weekend, when you have a bit of time. There is nothing difficult to make, but there is a lot of pastry-chilling-in-the-fridge time and beef-slowly-bubbling-away-on-the-stovetop time. It’s perfect to put together over two days, making the pastry on the first day and then cooking and assembling the pie on the second day. The filling can be made in advance too, though I do like to create some dinner anticipation by smelling it on the stove for a few hours on the afternoon before you eat it.
If you want to make two pies so you can have one now and save one for later, double the filling and use all the pastry. The pie can be assembled and baked and then frozen, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for a less quiet and lazy time, when you need a comforting emergency meal.
rough puff pastry
1 1/4 cups cold butter
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
a big pinch of salt
2/3 cup cold water
Chop one cup of butter into small cubes. Put them in the freezer.
In a food processor, combine 1/4 cup butter, 2 cups flour and salt. Pulse until combined evenly.
Add cold butter cubes and pulse twice very quickly. The butter will be in large chunks and not incorporated. Add about half the water and pulse very quickly again. Add more water if the mixture is still very dry. The dough will not come together or form a ball.
Dump the contents of the food processor onto a work surface and roughly squish together. Roll dough out into a rectangle, dusting with flour as needed to prevent sticking. It will be crumbly and uncooperative at first, don't worry. Fold the short edges of the rectangle into the centre so they overlap. Roll out again into a rectangle and repeat this folding (check out this helpful video to see how). Wrap the dough tightly in cling wrap and chill.
Note: this recipe make twice as much as you will need for one pie. Wrap extra tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for another use.
1 pound stewing beef, beef shin or any other slow cooking cut you like, cut into 1” cubes
6 or 7 large stalks of celery, sliced
6 or 7 large carrots, sliced
1 large yellow onion, sliced
5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
3 tbs flour
3 cups beef stock
1 ½ cups red wine
2 tbs neutral vegetable oil
1 pound small red or white potatoes, pierced with a fork
Sear the beef over medium-high heat in vegetable oil, making sure all the sides get browned. Remove and set aside. Add carrots and celery and cook until fragrant and the celery is translucent, but the vegetables are still fairly crisp. Remove carrots and celery and set aside.
Add onion and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent. Sprinkle with flour and add stock and wine and beef. Bring everything to a boil and then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook until the meat is very tender, nearly falling apart, about 2 hours. While the meat is cooking, boil the potatoes in a large pot of water until they are tender when stabbed gently with a fork. Drain and roughly slice. Once meat is very tender, add vegetables back in. Spread filling in a 9” x 13” casserole dish.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out ½ the pastry to the size of the top of the casserole dish. Score lightly across the top and lay over the top of the filling. Brush with a beaten egg mixed with a little water for a shiny and deep gold finish.
Bake until pastry is flaky and golden and the filling is bubbling, about 25-30 minutes.