Tuesday 3 May 2016

Beef, Beer, Bacon and Bean Loaf Pies

To go alongside the bakewell tart in the "post-ride nutrition" pile, I also wanted to do a savoury. I wanted something robust, filling and with plenty of flavour.

My go-to pastry for this sort of thing is hot-water crust, so I went with the same form factor as the chicken pies I did earlier in the year, and I decided to do a beef-based pie, as you can crack out a really rich sauce with tonnes of flavour. Adding in a stout beer, and smoked bacon gives a real punch, then some beans add some more textures.

My best results with pies have been using cold fillings, as this allows the pastry to cook and firm up before the innards start boiling, so I tend to make up the filling the night before...this also means you are under no real time pressures, and can let it simmer for a couple of hours to get the meat really tender. This recipe made more filling than I needed for 4 pies, and with the cut-offs of pastry I made a small hand-raised pie (I have a pie dolly sitting around, with is a real faff to work with, but you get very cute, rustic results).

Beef, Beer, Bacon and Bean Loaf Pies

Filling Ingredients

  • 800g braising steak, diced
  • 10ml sunflower oil
  • 250g smoked back bacon, diced
  • 500ml thick, rich beef stock
  • 500ml double-stout
  • 200g baked beans (I use Heinz 5-Bean Snap Pots)
  • ½ an onion (literally as it was in the fridge), diced
  • 40g cornflour
1) Place the olive oil in a large pan on a high heat

2) Place the steak in the pan, and cook until browned

3) Add the stock and stout

4) Cover and simmer for 1½ hours

5) Add in the diced bacon, onion and beans

6) Cook for another ½ hour

7) Slake the cornflour in a little water, and stir in

8) Cook for another ½-1 hour

9) Leave to cool overnight in a plastic tub

Pastry Ingredients

  • 450g plain flour
  • 100g strong white flour
  • 75g butter
  • 100g lard
  • 200ml water
  • Pinch of salt
  • Beaten egg (to glaze)
1) Place the flours in a large mixing bowl with the salt

2) Rub the butter into the flour until you get fine breadcrumbs

3) Place the water and lard into a saucepan

4) Heat the pan gently, until all the lard has melted, then turn up the heat to boil the water

5) Once the water is boiling, pour it all into the flour

6) Immediately mix and stir thoroughly to combine the water, melted lard and flour

7) As soon as you can, get your hand in and start combining, mixing and kneading the dough...you can be vigorous, and you want it a smooth consistency

8) Line 4 small loaf tins with pastry. I roll the pastry out to 3mm thick, in a 10 inch x 7 inch rectangle

9) Fill the pies with the cold filling

10) Roll out lids for each pie

11) Brush the edge of each pie with a little beaten egg, then press the lids on gently

12) Using a sharp knife, trim the edges level with the tin

13) Crimp the edges with a fork

Note - I specifically didn't decorate these, as the double-thickness pastry and make the lid crack un-evenly when you eat it. I expect these to be eaten in a car-park in Wales somewhere, so making them easy to eat was key!

14) Glaze the top of each pie with a little beaten egg

15) bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes

16) Cool completely on a wire rack

I also made a dolly-raised pie with the cut-offs, and using some spare filling. I can't really comment on using a dolly, as I'm a bit rubbish with them, but you try to form the pastry around it evenly, and then slide the dolly out (make sure it's well floured!). I then filled it, made a small lid, and sealed it on with some beaten egg.

Finally, I tied some foil around the sides with string to help it keep shape, and baked it alongside the "posh" pies. It was very rustic looking, but very nice!

If' I'd thought about it a little more, I'd have put some baking parchment inside the foil, as it wouldn't have stuck to the pastry so much (I used foil as it was easier to shape)