A great steak pie has a rich, well flavoured filling and a crisp, golden pastry top. Pies are perfect for easy entertaining or for family meals during the week. Make the filling up to 2 days ahead, assemble and cook when needed.
1 kilogram beef shin, off the bone
300 grams lambs’ kidneys
1⁄2 cup plain flour, seasoned
2 large onions, sliced
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary or thyme
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
440 ml can Guinness beer
1⁄2 cup beef stock
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
500 grams puff pastry
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 teaspoon water
6 cup capacity baking dish or pie tin and a ceramic pie bird
Preheat the oven to 150°C.
Cut the shin into 4 cm pieces and toss in the flour, shaking off the excess.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in an ovenproof casserole and brown the meat, in batches, until well coloured. Transfer to a plate. Do not let the flour catch and burn. Adjust the heat if necessary.
Quarter the kidneys and cut out the tough white core. Toss in the flour, shaking off the excess. Add another 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and cook the kidneys for 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the beef.
Put the onions, rosemary and garlic in the pan, season and cook for 5 minutes, adding a splash of water if the pan is too dry. Stir in the tomato paste and sprinkle over any remaining flour. Cook for 1 minute. Add the Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, Guinness and beef stock and bring to the boil, scraping the base of the pan to release all the sticky bits. Add the beef, kidneys and any resting juices back to the casserole. Place a piece of baking paper on top of the meat and cover the dish tightly. The baking paper keeps moist any meat that sits above the liquid.
Braise for 2 1⁄2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is very tender. Stir in the flat-leaf parsley and cool.
To assemble: Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Spoon the cold filling into the baking dish and nestle the bird pie vent in the middle. Brush the edges of the dish with egg wash. Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured bench so it is 1 cm larger than the dish. Cut a slit in the centre, large enough to fit over the bird. Place the pastry over the filling, crimping the edges with a fork. Decorate the top if desired. Brush with the egg wash and bake for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden. Serve with thinly sliced cabbage cooked in a little butter and caraway seeds.