I am going through a thing at the moment for food I had as a child (and crave right now). It started when I thought about Chinese chicken curry, and turned very easily to pie and mash. There is something wholesome and deeply fulfilling when you are faced with a pie with a crisp top and suet base, filled with mincemeat. Aside that, comes the mash, and poured over the top the parsley liquor (and a generous amount of vinegar). It is isn’t rocket science, and I can manage to eat two pies even in the summer. This really works. Feeds four.
For the filing:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 450g/1lb minced beef steak or beef mince
- 100ml/3½fl oz beef stock
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
For the suet pastry
- 350g/12oz self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
- 225g/8oz beef suet
- large knob of butter, (softened, for greasing)
- pinch of salt
For the pie crust
- 450g/1lb ready-made puff pastry, for the top of the pie
- 1 free-range egg yolk, lightly beaten
mash and liquor for the side.
For the filling: olive oil into a large frying pan over a medium heat, fry the onion until softened. Add the mince and cook the lot for another five minutes. Give it an occasional stir, and brown the lot and cook it through. Drain off any excess liquid.
Stir in Worcester sauce , season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
For the suet pastry: sift the flour into a mixing bowl add the suet and season with salt. Gradually mix in about four tablespoons of cold water (I use a knife), and work until you have a moist but firm dough. Then, on a lightly floured work surface roll the dough out to a 2mm thickness.
Generously butter individual pie dishes and line each with the suet pastry. It should cover the base and sides completely. Divide the filling mixture between the two dishes.
For the pie crust: this is the simple bit, roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface again to about a 2mm thickness, cut and cover the four pies, brush edges with water and push down the edges to seal. Brush generously with the egg yolk and make a hole in the middle of the lid to allow steam to escape.
Put the pies into a deep-sided roasting tin, pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the dishes, (don’t water on the pastry). Put in the oven and cook for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until the pastry is nice and crisp (I like mine a little burnt). Make your liquor and mash.
Serve the hot pies with the mash, parsley liquor and jellied eels on the side.