Foodie Friday: Beef, Caramelised Onion and Ale Pie

beef-onion-ale-pie(Serves 6)

Ingredients:
25g plain flour
1 kg braising steak, cut into bite-size chunks
5 tbsp sunflower oil
25g butter
225g small chestnut mushrooms, wiped clean
2 onions, halved and sliced
1 tbsp sugar
4 garlic cloves, crushed
300ml beef stock
300ml brown ale
1 tsp tomato puree
Leaves from 3 sprigs fresh thyme
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

For the crust:
350g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tbsp English mustard powder
1 tsp salt
175g shredded beef suet
1 medium egg yolk, beaten

Method:
1. Make the suet pastry. Sift the flour, mustard powder and salt into a bowl and stir in the shredded suet. Stir in 250ml cold water to make a soft dough. Wrap in cling film and chill.
2. To make the pie filling, season the flour, put into a bowl with the beef and toss until the meat is coated. Shake off the excess flour and reserve. Heat 3 tbsp oil in a flameproof casserole, add half the beef and fry over a high heat until browned. Take out and repeat with the rest of the beef. Set aside.
3. Add half the butter and all the mushrooms to the pan and fry briskly over a high heat for 2 minutes. Set aside with the beef.
4. Add the rest of the oil to the casserole with the onions and sugar, and cook over a medium-high heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently, until caramelised. Add the rest of the butter and garlic, and cook for 1 minute. Stir the reserved flour into the onions, then the stock, ale, tomato puree, thyme leaves and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to the boil, return the beef and mushrooms to the pan, season, partially cover, and simmer for 90 minutes, or until the beef is tender and the sauce has reduced.
5. Preheat the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Spoon the mixture into a deep 2-litre oval pie dish. Push a pie funnel or piping nozzle into the centre.
6. Unwrap the pastry and roll out on a floured surface into a disc slightly larger than the top of the dish. Cut off a strip from the edge, brush with water and press onto the rim of the dish. Brush with more water. Cut a small cross in the centre of the pastry and lay over the dish so the pie funnel pokes through. Seal the pastry edges, trim away the extra pastry, then crimp the edges. Brush the pastry lid with the beaten egg yolk mixed with a little water. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and golden-brown.

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