Vegetarian recipe ideas
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Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Season the beef well. Put 2 tbsp of olive oil in a casserole and put over a medium-high heat. Once hot, brown the meat (you might need to do this in batches) for 5-7 mins or until caramelised and crusted. Remove from the pan and add 1 tbsp more oil, if needed, then fry the onion, carrots, celery, bay and thyme with some seasoning for 5-6 mins or until softened and aromatic. Add the mushrooms and cook for a few more minutes until slightly coloured, then add the meat back in and pour over the wine and worcestershire sauce. Bring to the boil, then pour in the beef stock and bring back to a simmer. Put on the lid and transfer to the oven (or slow cooker) to braise for 1 hr 30 mins.
Meanwhile, make and chill the pastry. In a bowl combine the flour, suet, rosemary and a pinch of salt. Season with black pepper, then use a butter knife to cut into the pastry, chopping until you have a fine breadcrumb consistency – you want to work out those lumps of suet. Now add just enough cold water to bring it together into a dough that’s not wet – you’ll need between 130ml 150ml. Flour your hands and briefly knead until you have a smooth dough that isn’t sticky and can be rolled out. Now ball it up, wrap in baking paper and chill for at least 30 mins.
Once cooked, remove the beef from the oven and strain the beef and veg from the rich juices, pouring the juices back into the pan to thicken into the pie sauce. Whisk the flour together with 2-3 tbsp of water until it has a double cream consistency, then pour this into the juices, whisking over a medium heat for a couple of minutes until thick and glossy. Stir in the mustard and check the seasoning. Add the meat and veg back in (removing the bay leaf) and coat in the sauce. Allow to cool.
On a lightly floured worksurface, gently roll out the pastry to a disc or sheet large enough to cover your pie dish (I used a 22cm one). Spoon the cooled pie filling into the dish – placing a pie bird in the middle if you have one – and brush the edges and outer sides of the dish with a little water. Use a rolling pin to transfer the pastry to the top of the pie, positioning the cross over the pie bird, if using, and press onto the edges of the dish, going over it with a fork to crimp and seal it, sticking any overhang to the side of the dish. Use any offcuts to decorate it with leaves or hearts, or even the letters to spell ‘pie’. Glaze with the beaten egg and refrigerate for 20-30 mins (or up to a couple of days if making ahead) until the pastry is firm. Bake at 190C/170C fan/gas 5 for 40-45 mins or until golden and crusty. Serve with buttered mash, greens and/or yorkshire puddings.
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