Vegetarian recipe ideas
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Heat the oil in a casserole or heavy-based lidded pan over a high heat, and fry the steak pieces until deep golden brown all over (you may need to do this in batches). Scoop the browned steak into a bowl as you fry.
Reduce the heat slightly and add the onions to the pan with a dash more oil, if needed. Fry for 8-10 minutes, or until soft and lightly golden. Sprinkle over the flour and stir until combined, then slowly pour in the ale, a little at a time, stirring continuously until the flour has absorbed the liquid and expanded (this prevents clumps from forming). When all the ale has been incorporated, add the herbs and sugar. Bring to a simmer, then return the steak to the pan along with the stock. Return to a gentle simmer, cover and cook over a low heat for 2 hours-2 hours 30 minutes, or until the meat is very tender. Remove the lid for the final 20-30 minutes to reduce the gravy so it’s thick enough to coat the meat.
Season well and stir in the vinegar. Add a pinch more sugar if needed, depending on the bitterness of the beer used. Leave to cool completely, then chill overnight (this prevents the cheese dissolving into the gravy and the pastry from melting on top before baking).
Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Crumble the cheese into large pieces and stir through the cold filling mixture. Tip into a lipped pie dish.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface until about 5mm thick, and just a little larger than the pie dish. Brush some of the beaten egg along the rim of the dish. Lift the pastry lid over the top, press along the rim to seal, trim away any excess and crimp the edge. Glaze with more of the egg, and decorate with any pastry off-cuts, if you like. Cut a small steam hole in the top, and bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden, puffed up and bubbling.