It’s doubtful that I’ll ever reach the stage where creating gels, foams or other Heston-esque kitchen creations becomes part of my everyday cooking repertoire… however now and then, there are days when I’m up for the challenge of preparing or cooking something that might have seemed a little daunting before. De-boning quail for Sandra’s Pan Fried Quail with Vincotto Glazed Grapes is a prime example… and then making my first ever Rough Puff Pastry to encase this delicious Beef, Rosemary and Red Wine Pie, on this past weekend is another.
The prevalent thought for me at such times is that surely I’m going to botch the job completely, rendering dinner inedible for my poor, dear family. Though without taking these risks, we would simply never find out just how easy some things are to produce; how the flavour can be in such stark contrast with it’s shop-bought alternative; and what a great sense of accomplishment can be felt when the challenge pays off and the family dinner is actually, really quite edible!
Beef, Rosemary & Red Wine Pie | Gather and Graze
For the Beef, Rosemary & Red Wine Filling:
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Medium Brown (or Red) Onion (chopped)
- 2 Leeks (white and pale green parts only, washed and sliced)
- 3 Tablespoons Fresh Rosemary Leaves (finely chopped)
- 2 Cloves of Garlic (crushed)
- 750g (about 1½lbs) Diced Beef (I used a mixture of Chuck and Blade Steak)
- 250mls (1 Cup) Red Wine (I used a nice Aussie Shiraz)
- 250mls (1 Cup) Good Quality Beef Stock
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 2 Tablespoons Concentrated Tomato Paste
- 2 Teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
- Sea Salt and Black Pepper
- 15g (1½ Tablespoons) Cornflour (mixed together with 3 Tablespoons Water)
For the Rough Puff Pastry:
- 300g (2 Cups) Plain Flour
- 5g (1 Teaspoon) Sea Salt
- 250g (1 Cup) Unsalted Butter (diced into small cubes)
- Approx 125mls (½ Cup) Chilled Water
To make the Beef, Rosemary & Red Wine Filling:
Place a medium sized saucepan over low-medium heat and sauté the onion, leek and rosemary (with a pinch of salt) in the olive oil until soft and translucent (about 8-10 minutes). Add the crushed garlic in the last couple of minutes to sauté gently. Remove the cooked vegetables to a bowl and set aside for the moment.
Add a little more olive oil if required and over medium-high heat, brown the diced beef (in a couple of batches, so as not to overcrowd the pan). When done, return the cooked onion and leek to the pan and pour in the red wine, allowing it to simmer for about 5 minutes, to burn off the alcohol. Then add the stock and bay leaves. Stir and allow to simmer (covered) for about 1½ – 2 hours, or until tender.
Once the beef is tender, add in the tomato paste, worcestershire sauce and the cornflour liquid and stir to combine. Simmer gently for another 10 – 15 minutes, until the gravy has thickened nicely. Allow to cool completely before using the filling in the pie.
To make the Rough Puff Pastry:
Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl and roughly rub in the small cubes of butter.
Add about three quarters of the water and mix it in (adding a little more water gradually if required) until it comes together nicely as a dough. It should be neither too sticky or too dry and you should be able to see little flecks/small chunks of butter within.
On a floured board, roll the dough out into a large rectangle, with the short side closest to you.
Fold the end furthest away from you in by a third and then fold the bottom third over the top of this (a little like folding a business letter). Turn the dough a quarter turn and once again roll it out into a large rectangle. Repeat this process a further 4 times. Cover the pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 – 40 minutes, before rolling it out for the pie.
To assemble the pie:
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and cut the dough into 2 portions (one a little larger than the other). Roll out the larger portion first, to an appropriate size to fit your pie tin (mine is about 22cm x 17cm). Line the tin, trimming any excess around the edges – these bits can be used for decorating the top, if you wish).
Scoop the beef and red wine filling into the pastry lined tin and then roll out the other portion of pastry that will cover the top. Be sure to first brush the edges with a little water, before laying the sheet of pastry on top of the pie. Use a fork to press around the edges to seal the pie and place a couple of slits in the middle, using a sharp knife, to allow steam to escape. Decorate with the excess bits of pastry if you wish.
Place the pie into the pre-heated oven and bake for about 45-50 minutes, until the pastry is cooked and golden brown on top.
Allow to cool slightly, before serving with a side of mashed potatoes and other steamed vegetables.
Notes on Cooking:
- This could also be made into 4 individual pies, though you will most likely need to make a larger quantity of pastry in order to do so (depending on the size of your pie tins).
- Feel free to substitute or add other vegetables to this recipe… carrots and other root vegetables would work particularly well.