When the weather is cold, nothing beats some good ole tasty home-made food!! It's January and theoretically we should all be counting calories etc etc, so to cut back on some the calories in these individual beef and vegetable pies, I have just made a herby shortcrust pastry lid for them...trying to bling up a boring shortcrust lid! The family really enjoyed them......there was no complaints!
The filling is cooked ahead, before the pies are baked in the oven. It is all a little time consuming, but the end result is worth it.
Beef and Vegetable Pies with a Herby Shortcrust Pastry Lid
Makes six individual pies (deep filled)
For the filling:
1 kg beef shin
1 large onion diced
2 large carrots sliced
3 large flat mushrooms diced
1 medium red chilli (optional)
3 sticks celery sliced finely
3 garlic cloves crushed
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 beef oxo's
1 litre hot water
Fry light Spray
Remove any visible fat from the beef and then dice into 1 1/2 cm cubes. Spray some fry light into the bottom of a medium saucepan (which has a lid). Place over a medium heat source and add the beef. Stir the beef over the heat until it is browned on all sides. Add the diced onion, garlic and chilli if using and the balsamic vinegar, and stir. Dissolve the oxo's in the hot water and add to the meat in the saucepan. Stir, then add salt and pepper to taste. Cover the saucepan with the lid and allow to simmer for approximately one and half hours until the meat is tender, stirring from time to time. Add the carrots, mushrooms and celery to the meat and cook for a further ten until the carrots are cooked. Remove from the heat.
400g plain flour
200g butter cubed
2 tablespoon mixed herbs (dried or fresh)
1/2 tsp salt
4 - 6 tablespoons very cold water
Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the salt and the herbs. Add the water and combine to make a dough. Add some more water if the mixture is too dry.
Wrap in clingwrap and chill for up to half and hour.
Making the Pies
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface. Place one of the pie dishes upside down on the pastry and cut around it, slightly larger to make the pastry lids.
Fill the pie dishes with the beef filling. Place a lid on the top of each pie, ensure that it touches the meat and press the pastry into the sides of the pie dish. Use a knife to make a few slits in the pastry to allow the steam to escape so the pastry will become crisp.
Brush the pastry with some beaten egg and bake in the oven for approximately 25 minutes until the pastry is golden and crisp.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.