We have a love for just about all things English in this house: Shaun and Ed, Brit rock, Liberty fabrics, English comedy (the original Office, please), Chelsea football, Stilton, the Queen, English gardens, and the concept of a “local.” Give me some grass-fed beef and I’ll give you a pie. I could have used some kidneys to throw in there, too. Next time. I like to serve that lovely pie with some mushy peas. These peas are the easiest side dish of all time: two ingredients, one of which is frozen peas. While I didn’t use marrowfat peas as a traditional recipe calls, a good organic frozen variety pinch hits nicely. Add in a bit of English cheddar to the peas and you’re laughing.
A PK tip: this is a great meal for a Saturday afternoon; you need time, but not much of it is hands on time. Plus it goes very well with beer.
For the Pie
2 pounds (grass-fed, organic) chuck roast, cut in large cubed, bones reserved
small handful baby leeks, chopped (or 1 small onion, or 1 large leek)
1 very large carrot, peeled, cut in thick coins
3 small parsnips, scrubbed, cut in thick chunks
1 c. vegetable stock
Olive oil, salt, pepper, flour, 1 bay leaf
For the crust
1/4 t granulated yeast
2 cups plus 2 T flour
1/2 t salt
1 egg, whisked
4 T olive oil
In a bowl sprinkle cubed beef, along with the reserved bones with salt, pepper and a handful of flour. Mix to coat evenly. In a large pan over medium high to high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the meat in two batches, turning to brown evenly on all sides. Set meat aside on a plate while you cook the second batch. You should have a lovely fond that looks something like this:
Add in your chopped vegetables and allow them to soften for a minute or two. Season with salt and pepper. Then add in the vegetable stock and scrape the bottom of the pan to get all of that tasty goodness up off the bottom and into your sauce. Add back in the meat, as well as all the juice that collected at the bottom, and bay leaf, cover and either place on the absolute lowest setting on the stove for an afternoon, or three hours. Or slide into an oven on 250 for the same amount of time. Just before you’re ready to add it to the pie, remove the lid, turn up the heat a bit and reduce the gravy down to almost nothing. You want only a tiny bit of liquid to go into the pie.
In a small measuring cup dissolve the yeast with six tablespoons of warm water. In a large bowl, add the flour and make a well in the center. Add in the yeast, salt, egg and olive oil, knead together until soft and spongy. Cover with a damp cloth and place in a warm, draft-free area for at least one hour.
Preheat oven to 375˚. Butter a deep, nine-inch pie dish. Slice off a third of the dough. Roll out the large piece of the dough to cover the bottom and sides of the pie dish. Fill with the meat and vegetable mixture. Roll out the smaller piece of dough to roughly the width of the pie. Cut into inch-wide strips.
Twist each strip and criss cross the strips across the pie, pinching the ends to the crust. Brush crust with a whisked egg or a bit of cream for glossiness. Slide into preheated oven for 30 minutes.
5 ounces Tintern English cheddar with chives and shallots, shredded (you could substitute mascarpone if you like)
Steam the peas according to package directions. Cut open the top of the bag, add in the cheddar, mash with a potato masher to mix. In the bag! (You want the fastest way to do something? Ask a lazy person.) You don’t want a puree, just smushed up peas.
Playlist included the very great Not Nineteen Forever, by The Courteeners.