I seem to be on a bit of a pastry binge at the moment. I need to stop that soon! But savory pies are quite possibly one of the most delicious dinners out there, I have no idea why they aren’t more popular in America. This one is my absolute favorite, and the filling also works perfectly for a cottage pie.
- 1 lb minced beef
- 1 onion
- 1 leek
- 1 tbsp oil (vegetable, olive, whatever you prefer)
- 1 cup peas and/or chopped carrots (optional)
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 14 oz shortcrust or puff pastry
Finely chop the onion and the leek and brown the onion with the oil over a medium-high heat in a large frying pan. You want the onion to cook down fairly slowly so they get soft all the way through, rather than brown on the outside only. When the onion has started to brown, add the leek and continue to cook. When the leeks have softened too, add the beef and work it into small pieces and into the vegetables as it cooks. Once the beef is mostly cooked through, add the broth and the cornflour (and the optional extra vegetables), reduce the heat and simmer gently until most of the liquid has boiled away and you’re left with a thick sauce clinging to the meat.
At this point you can do a variety of things with the meat, a beef & onion pie is just one option. Alternatively you could make a cottage pie by spooning the meat into a ceramic or pyrex roasting dish, topping with potato mashed with butter and baking until the top starts to brown slightly. This mixture also freezes well so you can store it (or part of it) ready to use in something delicious later.
For the pie, you’ll want to preheat the oven according the directions on your pastry (350-400F). Grease a pie tray or 2 individual-sized ones and cover the bottom with pastry. Spoon in the meat filling and top with another layer of pastry. (For a lighter version you could also just have pastry on the top.) Pinch the edges to join the bottom layer of pastry with the top and then stick a knife into the middle to allow any steam to escape during baking (or get fancy making pretty designs with incisions and leftover pastry). Brush the top with a little milk or beaten egg and bake for 20-30 minutes. Serve with vegetables, potatoes and gravy as you prefer.