Diana Henry's beef pie recipe
With wild mushrooms and red wine, this beef pie is perfect as the days get shorter and colder.
Beef pie with wild mushrooms and red wine
1kg braising beef, cut into large chunks
30g dried wild mushrooms
350g baby onions, or small round shallots, peeled but left whole
1 celery stick, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
30g plain flour
300ml red wine
Leaves from 3 thyme sprigs
3 bay leaves
300g fresh mushrooms, sliced
3tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley leaves
320g puff pastry for 1 big pie, 600g for 6 small pies
1 egg, lightly beaten
Sea salt flakes and
freshly ground black pepper
1. Dry the meat well with kitchen paper (if it’s wet it won’t brown properly). Put the dried mushrooms in a heatproof bowl and pour enough boiling water over to just cover. Leave to soak for 30 minutes.
2. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a heavy-based casserole and brown the beef in batches: it is very important to cook it in batches otherwise the meat will not colour well. Remove each batch as it’s done. Add the baby onions or shallots to the pan and lightly brown them, adding a little more oil if you need it. Reduce the heat, add 20 grams of the butter and all the celery and garlic, and sweat for 10 minutes. Return the meat, with any juices, to the casserole. Season well and, over a low heat, add the flour. Stir everything round until it is well coated. Cut up the mushrooms and add to the pot with their soaking liquid (strain the liquid through muslin, as it can be gritty). Add the red wine, thyme and bay leaves and bring to the boil. Immediately reduce the heat, cover and cook over a very gentle heat for one-and-a-half hours, stirring every so often. Take the lid off for the last 15-20 minutes to reduce the liquid. You need thick juices for a pie, so, if they’re too thin, remove the meat and mushrooms and boil to reduce the sauce.
3. Melt half a tablespoon of oil and the remaining butter in a saute pan and cook the fresh mushrooms briskly over a high heat so that they get well coloured. Season and let the mushrooms cook until they exude their liquid and it evaporates. Stir the parsley and the cooked fresh mushrooms into the meat and check the seasoning. Leave to cool completely.
4. Put the meat in one large or six small pie dishes and roll out the pastry to fit the dish(es). Cut a strip or strips large enough to go around the edge or edges. Brush the edge(s) with water and press the strip on. Dampen this with water and cover the pie or pies with their lids, pressing the pastry down. Trim off the excess, knock up the edges and crimp them, if you like, or just press with a fork. Use the remaining pastry to decorate, making little holes in the top for steam to escape. Brush with the beaten egg and chill for half an hour. Preheat the oven to 190C fan, Gas 6.
5. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes for one large pie, or 25–30 minutes for smaller pies. Serve immediately.
Roast Figs, Sugar Snow by Diana Henry is published by Aster, priced £22. Photography by Jason Lowe. Available now.