Braised beef in bitter beer, with mushrooms and green peppercorn pie




In this comforting beef and ale pie recipe from Paul Heathcote, beef is braised in bitter and served with a delicious flaky mushroom pie topping. This is a perfect beef dish when you're looking for some tasty comfort food. When selecting bitters to cook with, choose a British ale that has a nice malty character, such as a session bitter or mild, that will accentuate the richness of the beef as opposed to lager or pale ale.
Ingredients
BRAISED BITTER BEER BEEF
  • 1.2kg braising beef, chopped into 200g slices

  • sea salt to season

  • 1 dash of vegetable oil

  • 6 carrots, peeled

  • 3 small onions, cut into halves

  • 1 garlic clove

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme

  • 10g of sugar

  • 125ml of bottle of red wine

  • 75ml of red wine vinegar

  • 200ml of bitter beer

  • 1.1l beef stock

  • 1 tsp cornflour

  • 1 dash of gravy browning

  • 1 handful of chives, chopped

MUSHROOM PIES
  • 24 button mushrooms, sliced thinly

  • 1 shallot, finely diced

  • 1 dash of vegetable oil

  • 25g of butter

  • 25g of plain flour

  • 600ml of milk, hot

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 25g of green peppercorns

  • 2 handfuls of parsley

  • sea salt to season

  • 12 puff pastry rounds, cut into circles

  • 1 egg


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Method

For the braised beef, season with salt and brown the beef in oil in a pan until golden brown all over

Add the peeled carrots and halved onions to the pan

Sprinkle in the sugar and allow the beef and vegetables to caramelise

Remove the meat and vegetables from the pan and deglaze the pan with the red wine vinegar followed by red wine

Place the meat, vegetables and sprig of thyme back into the pan. Add the bitter beer next, bring the liquid to the boil and then add the stock. Cook this for about 1 ¾ hours at 160°C until very tender

Remove the beef, lift out the carrots and onions carefully and set aside. Pass the remaining liquid through a sieve and boil in a pan until it reaches a sauce consistency. If necessary, add a few drops of cornflour to thicken, or gravy browning to colour

For the pie, fry off the button mushrooms in a few drops of oil until golden

Add the shallots and stir for about 15 seconds until golden, then remove from the heat and scrape onto a plate. Set aside

In a thick bottomed pan add the butter and leave to melt. Stir in the flour and make a roux base

On a low heat, add the hot milk (making sure the bay leaf has been removed) incrementally, and stir in well each time

When all the milk has been incorporated, add the mushrooms, peppercorns, parsley and season with sea salt. Take off the heat and allow to cool

Place the mix into small pie dishes, place the puff pastry on top and make a small hole. Brush the pastry with egg wash and heat in an oven set to 160°C/gas mark 3 for 15 minutes

Serve the beef with the onions and carrots, a little of the beer sauce and accompany with the mushroom pie. Garnish with a sprinkling of chives

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