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This warming pie is great with a puff pastry lid, but equally good as a hearty stew.
3 tablespoons plain flour, plus a little extra for rolling
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
800g diced beef, frozen or fresh
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions peeled and finely chopped, or use frozen diced onions
200g mushrooms, halved
1 beef stock cube
Leaves from 4 sprigs of thyme
500g all butter puff pastry
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with a pinch of salt)
Preheat the oven to 160°C. Mix the flour, salt and pepper in a bowl and toss the beef in it.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat and fry the beef in batches of 8-10, turning the pieces to brown them. Don’t overcrowd the pan or the beef will steam rather than brown.
Place the browned beef in a large lidded casserole dish approximately 27 x 20 x 5cm.
Fry the onions and mushrooms for 5 minutes in the frying pan with the remaining oil (you may need to add a little extra). Add the stout, stock cube (crumbled) and thyme leaves, and bring to a simmer.
After 5 more minutes transfer the mixture to the casserole dish, cover with the lid (or tightly fitted foil) and place in the oven for 2 hours.
After 2 hours, check the beef is tender and falling apart easily, remove from the oven and leave to cool. When completely cool (you can leave it overnight in the fridge), pour the filling into a pie dish about 20 x 4cm and preheat the oven to 200°C.
Using a lightly floured rolling pin on a floured work surface, roll the pastry to measure about 3cm larger than the pie dish and to the thickness of a £1 coin.
Trim the edge of the pastry to remove some strips about 2cm wide. Use a pastry brush to brush the rim of the pie dish with egg wash and fix the strips of pastry to the dish, pressing down firmly.
Brush the pastry-lined dish rim with egg wash, then place the rolled-out pastry lid over the top, being careful not to stretch the pastry too much or it will shrink when baking. Press down gently around the edges and use scissors to cut the edge of the pastry to about 5mm larger than the rim of the dish.
Press the prongs of a fork around the pastry rim, then use a sharp knife to cut a cross shape 4cm in each direction in the centre of the pie. Brush the pie with egg wash and bake for 40-50 minutes until golden brown, well risen and bubbling. Serve with honey roasted carrots and buttery mash.