Tender, fall apart chunks of beef with mushrooms in the most incredible gravy ever. The secret ingredient - Dried Porcini Mushrooms! They add a savoury earthiness that can't be replicated and takes this pie to the next level.
∙ Serves 6
200 g Bacon
1 kg Chuck beef
2 Bay leaves, fresh or dried
2 Garlic cloves
20 g Porcini mushrooms, dried slices
300 g Swiss brown mushrooms
3 sprigs Thyme
1 Egg yolk
2 cups Beef stock
Baking & spices
1/3 cup Flour
Oils & vinegars
1 tbsp Vegetable oil
Bread & baked goods
1 sheets Puff pastry
Beer, wine & spirits
300 ml Ale, dark
1 1/4 cups Water
Place porcini in a bowl and add hot water. Leave to soak for at least 30 minutes. Strain mushrooms and reserve soaking liquid. Roughly chop porcini.Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper.Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large heavy based pot. Add half the beef and brown all over, then remove and repeat with remaining beef. Set beef aside.Turn stove down to medium low. If the pot is looking dry, add more oil. Add onion and garlic, cook for 2 minutes. Add finely chopped carrots and celery, cook for 6 minutes or until softened and sweet (taste test!). Add carrot chunks and cook for 2 minutes.Add flour and stir through.Add ale, beef stock, and stir to dissolve the flour.Add thyme, bay leaves, porcini, reserved porcini soaking liquid (don’t tip in gritty bits settled at bottom) and cooked beef. Turn heat up slightly, mix, bring to simmer, then cover. Adjust heat so it is simmering gently, not energetically.Cook for 1 hr 45 minutes or until beef is tender. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a skillet over high heat until golden. Remove and reserve bacon drippings in pan. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes until golden all over. Return bacon into skillet, toss to coat mushrooms, then stir through stew.Simmer stew, uncovered, for 15 minutes until mushrooms are tender. Then remove from stove and cool.
Preheat oven to 200C/390F.Pour stew into a pie dish, even out surface. Pictured pie dish is 24 x 20 x 4.5 cm / 10 x 8 x 1.8" (1.5L / 1.5 Qt) with puff pastry (if too big, just fold the ends in), brush with egg yolk. Cut a few slits in the surface then bake for 30 – 35 minutes until deep golden and the filling is piping hot in the middle (stick a knife in to check).Rest for 5 minutes before serving!
- Dried porcini mushrooms add a savoury earthiness to the gravy. In nerdy food terms, it's called "umami" and it really takes this pie to the next level.
- Any slow cooking cut of beef is ideal for this recipe. Chuck beef and gravy beef are my favourites, brisket is also good. I would not recommend using bolar blade roast or other lean cuts of beef as they will dry out.
- SLOW COOKER: Skip the beef broth and use 2 x crumbled beef stock cubes instead. Follow recipe up to step 7 then transfer everything into a slow cooker (liquid might not cover everything, that's ok). Slow cook for 6 hours on low, or 3 hours on high. Then add cooked bacon and mushrooms, slow cook for another 45 minutes or do this step on the stove. If the liquid did not thicken to a thin gravy, simmer it uncovered on the stove. When it cools, the sauce thickens more.PRESSURE COOKER: As with slow cooker directions but pressure cook on high for 25 minutes.
- Pie Dish: It's ideal to have a pie dish where the filling comes up to the top or even protrudes slightly (though liquid should be at or just below rim) so the puff pastry sits nicely on top. However, it's not the end of the world if your dish is not the right size! Pictured pie dish is 24 x 20 x 4.5 cm / 10 x 8 x 1.8" (1.5L / 1.5 Qt). A 20cm/8" square pan is also a good size, as would be a large or deep pie dish around 23 cm / 9.5" x 4cm / 1.8" high. Also, this is fantastic to make in individual ramekins (that's what I do if I have a bit left over, using puff pastry scraps).
- STORAGE: As with most slow cooked things, tastes even better the next day so in my perfect world, I make the filling the day before then cool overnight. To prepare ahead for fridge, thaw then top with puff pastry, keep in the fridge for up to 2 days. Technically, thawed puff pastry kept in the fridge for a while puffs a wee bit less but it's not noticeable to me unless lined up side by side. The filling freezes great as does the filling with raw puff pastry on top (thawed then refrozen puff pastry also puffs a teeny bit less, but does not stop me). Always thaw before baking. For all make ahead scenarios, brush with egg just before baking.