Meat pies have been popular since Ancient Roman times. This one makes a hero of chuck beef, which becomes wonderfully tender and tasty after slow cooking, as well as mushrooms, spices, and red wine. It’s a firm favourite in Cherie Lyden’s household.
It took Cherie Lyden a long time to crack the code for making a great gluten-free pastry: short but not too crumbly, and, of course, great-tasting. The recipe at the end of this page is all of these things. You can use this recipe to make any savoury pastry, including pies, quiches, and sausage rolls.
Makes 6 individual pies
WHAT YOU NEED
1kg Savoury Decadent Shortcrust Pastry (see below)
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
For the filling
500g beef chuck, cut into 1 cm cubes
¼ cup (gluten-free plain (all-purpose) flour
1/3 cup olive oil
250g mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp gluten-free Worcestershire sauce
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 bunch fresh thyme, leaves picked
1½ cups gluten-free beef stock or broth
2/3 cup medium-bodied red wine
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
salt and cracked black pepper
WHAT TO DO
Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced), with the oven rack positioned in the middle of the oven.
For the filling, coat the beef in 2 tbsp of the flour, shaking off the excess.
Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Brown the meat in batches and transfer it to a large casserole dish.
In the same frying pan, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and cook the mushrooms in the Worcestershire sauce for 5–7 mins, until the sauce has evaporated and the mushrooms are lightly browned. Tip the cooked mushrooms into the casserole dish on top of the beef.
Add the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil to the pan together with the onion and sauté for 2–3 mins until lightly browned. Add the garlic and sauté for a further 1 min, then tip the mix into the casserole dish and add the thyme.
Add the stock or broth to the frying pan together with the red wine and mustard, stir well to deglaze the pan, and bring to a simmer. Pour this mixture over the beef and stir well. Cover the casserole dish with a lid or aluminium foil and bake for 1hr, until the meat is tender and the flavours have melded.
Remove from the oven, take off the lid or foil and strain the liquid into a small saucepan. Sift the remaining 1 tbsp of flour into the juices, then whisk over medium heat until the liquid thickens. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Break the meat up slightly with a fork, then tip the thickened sauce over it and mix through. Tip the beef pie mix out into a large airtight container and cool in the refrigerator.
Grease six individual 12.5cm pie tins with butter or a spray oil. Place the chilled and pre-worked pastry on a floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll it out to about 5mm thick and cut into twelve 13.5cm rounds.
Take a pastry round and let it fall gently into one of the tins, allowing the pastry to drape over the top edge. Lightly press the pastry into the shape of the tin. Repeat with five of the remaining pastry rounds. Fill the pies to the top with the cooled filling, then take a pastry round, brush it with a little egg yolk around the outer edge and place it over a pie, egg-side down. Gently press the edges of the pastry together around the top to make sure they stay stuck together. Repeat this process for the remaining pies.
Using a skewer, make a small hole at least 2mm wide in the centre of each pie. Brush the tops with the beaten egg yolk.
Bake for 30 mins, rotating the tray halfway through cooking, until golden.
Remove the pies from the oven and leave them to sit in their tins for 5 mins to cool slightly. These are delicious served with bitter salad leaves such as radicchio to cut through the richness.
Chuck beef is a delicious cut when slow cooked for a long time, making it perfect for this recipe.
Try not to omit the red wine as it adds depth of flavour to the filling.
There is no need to clean the frying pan after cooking each batch of ingredients. Everything adds to the flavour.
Any uncooked pies can be refrigerated for 1 day. Glaze with egg yolk before baking. Cooked pies can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month.
FOR THE SAVOURY DECADENT SHORTCRUST PASTRY
WHAT YOU NEED
22/3 cups gluten-free plain (all-purpose) flour
2½ tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt
280g cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/3 cup sour cream
1 large egg, at room temperature
WHAT TO DO
Add the flour, xanthan gum, and salt to a food processor and whiz together for 10 seconds. Add the butter and mix for 30 seconds, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, then add the sour cream and egg and mix for 10 seconds, until it comes together and forms a ball.
Turn the soft dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and wrap well, flattening the dough to a disc approximately 2cm thick. Rest the dough by chilling in the fridge for at least 1 hr, ideally overnight. (This will make it easier to work with—day-old pastry always works best!)
Once rested, unwrap the dough, transfer it to a floured surface and leave it for 2–3 mins to soften. Using a floured rolling pin, work the dough by rolling it out, folding it back on itself and then rolling it out again. Repeat this process a few times over, then roll the pastry out to a 2cm thickness, rewrap and chill until needed.
When you’re ready to use the dough, unwrap it and leave it on a lightly floured bench for 2–3 mins to warm up. Once the pastry has softened slightly, rub a little flour over the surface.
Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the pastry out as required, rolling a few times one way, then flipping it over and re-flouring the bench and rolling pin as necessary. (The trick here is not to over‑flour the pastry, as this will dry it out—just add as much as you need so the dough is workable.)
Now the pastry is ready for cutting out and/or lining. When using a cutter, make sure it is lightly floured, so it doesn’t stick to the pastry. When lining, grease the tart ring or pie tin/dish with butter or a spray oil and place on a tray lined with baking paper. Always cut the pastry so it’s oversized before you line it, then gently let the pastry fall into the tin/dish – this way, you can cut the excess pastry once you’ve finished and have less shrinkage when baking. Don’t stretch the pastry, as it will become too thin and fall apart.
If the pastry is going to be filled then baked, there is no need to parbake it first. If you are planning on finishing it with fresh ingredients, then bake at 180–190°C (160–170°C fan-forced) until golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely before filling.
Uncooked pastry dough can be kept refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 1 month. Any excess unused dough should be flattened to no more than 3cm thick and wrapped well in plastic wrap for later use. If frozen, simply defrost in the refrigerator and use while cold.