3 tablespoons olive oil
150 grams streaky bacon, chopped into 1cm strips
500 grams mixed mushrooms (I used field mushrooms and Swiss browns – large mushrooms sliced, and small mushrooms quartered)
850 grams stewing steak such as blade, cut into 3cm pieces
1 cup red wine
1 cup beef stock
a sprig of thyme
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons whole milk
525 grams shortcrust pastry (3½ Edmonds ready-rolled pastry sheets)
1½ cups grated mozzarella
600 grams flaky pastry (4 sheets Edmonds ready-rolled pastry sheets)
1 egg, lightly whisked
12 tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)
8 x 1-cup-capacity pie tins
Caramelised Onions (or use 1¼ cups bought caramelised onion)
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 large red onions, finely sliced
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan and cook bacon for 4–5 minutes until the fat has started to render and the bacon is a little crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and add the mushrooms. Cook over a medium high heat for 8–10 minutes then tip mushrooms out into a container.
Heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the same pot and cook beef over a medium high heat for 3–4 minutes until browned. Add mushrooms and bacon back to the pot with wine, stock and thyme. Season with salt and pepper and simmer over a low heat for 4 hours until the beef is super tender. Chill for a few hours, or overnight.
Remove thyme and reheat beef gently, sprinkle with flour, stir in milk and cook, stirring until smooth and slightly thickened. Set aside.
Caramelised Onions: Heat oil in a large frying pan and add onions, cook for 10 minutes then add sugar and cook a further 30–35 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar and season if desired with sea salt and black pepper. Cool.
Lightly spray 8 x 1-cup-capacity pie tins with a little baking spray. Cut shortcrust pastry rounds and strips to line the tins, squishing any joins together.
Divide half of the mozzarella between the pastry cases. Divide beef filling between the cases then top with remaining mozzarella and caramelised onion. Cut 8 pastry lids from the flaky pastry and top pies. Seal edges by pressing with the tines of a fork or your thumbs, and trim. Brush with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using.
Chill the pies while the oven heats to 180˚C then bake for 1 hour – cover the tops with foil for the last 15 minutes if necessary. Leave pies to sit for a few minutes before tipping out of the tins and serving with tomato chutney, a bitter green salad and a pile of creamy mashed potatoes.
Pies can be made a day in advance and cooked just before serving.