Our dear friends bought us a copy of The Great British Bake Off: Big Book of Baking for Christmas, and as soon as we looked through the yummy treats in the book, we knew that we had to make this Boeuf Bourguignon pie. That and the Grasmere ginger shortbread (which at the time of writing this, we haven’t got round to yet). Valentine’s Day seemed like a good occasion to give it a whirl, especially as we hadn’t done that much cooking in our new kitchen! Thankfully, I’m starting to get a bit better and I was desperate to make something – it turned out to be a team effort 🙂 And we made it in our lovely heart-shaped dish, which was very fitting!
You could make the puff pastry if you wish (the recipe is in the book), but we cheated and used a pack instead. It does take time to make this recipe, but you could make the filling in advance if you wish and it’s so worth it! We made the full amount but then put half of the filling in the pie and the other half in the freezer – things like this always taste good after freezing.
Ingredients (serves 4-6, fills a dish roughly 1.5 litres in capacity)
For the filling
10g dried porcini mushrooms
200ml very hot water
100g lardons (diced streaky bacon)
800g lean boneless stewing steak (chuck or skirt) cut into 5cm cubes
About 2 tbsp olive oil (if needed)
3 shallots, peeled and quartered
1 tbsp plain flour
500ml red wine
2 garlic cloves, crushed or finely sliced (we don’t have a crusher, so we sliced it!)
1 bay leaf
Salt and black pepper
1 375g pack all-butter puff pastry (thawed if frozen)
Beaten egg, to glaze
1. Heat your oven to 150C/300F/gas mark 2. Put the dried mushrooms into a heatproof bowl, pour over the very hot water and leave to soak and rehydrate until needed.
2. Put the lardons into a cold flameproof casserole dish and set over medium heat (we have a stoneware one that only goes in the oven, so we used a large non-stick pan for this bit). Fry, stirring frequently until the fat melts and the lardons are golden. Remove from the dish/pan with a slotted spoon to leave the fat in the pan, and set aside for later.
3. Add the beef to the dish/pan a few pieces at a time, and fry until brown on all sides (add a little oil here if needed). As each batch of beef is browned, transfer to a large plate with a slotted spoon. Then add the shallots and brown quickly, before removing and adding to the beef.
4. Turn the heat down to low and add the flour to the dish/pan. Stir until slightly coloured, stir in the wine and the mushrooms with their soaking liquid. Return the beef and shallots to the dish/pan along with the garlic, bay leaf, and a little salt and pepper (go easy on the salt – the lardons are salty!).
5. Bring everything to the boil. If using a casserole dish, cover and put in the oven. If not, transfer from your pan into an oven-proof dish, then cover and place in the oven. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until the meat is very tender.
6. Remove the bay leaf from the dish. Stir in the lardons and then adjust the seasoning as required. If cooking the pie in the same dish, place your pie raiser (or egg cup) in the middle, and leave the whole thing to cool. (I must admit that we didn’t leave it to cool, mainly because we started cooking it later than we anticipated! So we just put the mixture in a new dish – see next step).
7. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface, and trim the lid to the correct size of your dish. Then cut some 1cm strips of pastry and use a little water to dampen the rim of the dish, before pressing the pastry strips so they completely cover the edge. Join the ends and trim as necessary.
8. If you’re using a separate dish, fill it with filling and then place your pie raiser in the centre. Then (for either method!) dampen the pastry strip with water, cut a hole in the lid where the raiser will be and then place the lid on top. Press the edges carefully to seal it, and decorate it if you wish.
9. The recipe says to chill the pie at this point as the oven heats up to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. We ignored that bit too, and it was fine! Brush the pie with beaten egg to glaze, and then bake for 15 minutes. Then turn the oven down to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 for a further 20-25 minutes until the pastry is puffed up and golden brown. Serve with some vegetables and mash or roasties. Yum!