My friend made a pie for me when I had my second child. That’s 10 years ago now. I looked up an old album to find these pictures when I was 40 weeks pregnant and in the hours after my second daughter was born. Such a pretty baby: she was!
This friend of mine was kind to bring me a meal after I got home from hospital; happy but very weary. It was a meat pie. My husband and I were so wowed by it, I begged her to give me the recipe. I think she was surprised by how much we raved because the recipe is simple and easy. It only has 4 main ingredients. I’m jotting down the recipe here, as I made it recently for my husband after a tough week at work.
1 Packet beef stroganoff mix (like Maggi, Continental)
700 grams (I use about a kilo now that my famiy has grown) meat — pref with bone *
Water (approx 700 ml)
2 sheets frozen puff pastry (or make your own pastry)
* This is a note from Kate, a beef producer
I would use Y-bone – a shoulder cut that is suitable to long cooking and will fall apart and off the bone when done. It is always cheaper because it is an “ugly” steak – but you get the goodness of the bone and the sweetness of a shoulder cut. Otherwise, I would use chuck steak. Ensure you butcher is not mixing any other cuts that cook at different rates in with the chuck. Gravy beef or Shin beef would also work well. You get a lot of the connective tissue in these cuts that melt away as they slow cook, releasing all their amazing nutritious qualities as they do. These cuts are also inexpensive!
The pie does take a little while (a couple of hours) to cook but it’s simple to make.
1. Trim fat off meat and place in a pot or large saucepan and lightly brown on both sides.
2. Remove meat and set aside.
3. Brown onion in the saucepan and then return meat to the pan.
4. Mix beef strogonaff and enough water to just cover meat. I used about 700 ml of water.
5. Bring water to boil and then simmer for a couple of hours, shifting the meat occasionally.
6. Once the meat is falling off the bone and the liquid has reduced, pull out all of the bones. (Make sure all the bones are out, even with T-Bone steak with large bones, there are smaller pieces attached too).
7. Following the puff pastry packet instruction, blind bake the bottom of the pastry in a pie dish. To be honest here, I don’t blind bake properly; I grease the pie dish with a little oil, lay the pastry down, and then bake until just golden. I then push the puffiness of the pastry down with a spoon before filling with meat.
8. Fill the pie with the meat mixture.
9. Use another piece of puff pastry for the top and trim the edges with a knife. Use the left over pastry for decoration. I scroll up four pieces for a rustic finish.
10. Bake in a hot oven until the top pastry is puffy and golden.
11. Serve and enjoy. Sooo good. Chunky. Meaty. Hearty.
I have also used the slow cooker to make this. I only use 1/4 cup of water and brown the meat before I put it in. Then I set it on low heat for 8-10 hours, pull it apart before placing it into pastry.
I love it that, here I am, still using the hand jotted recipe I wrote ten years ago.
I don’t make the pie often, because the meat is expensive and it’s not what you would call a lean meal – Ha! But I like to make occasionally and it’s always a huge winner with guests.
Plus, it has special memories attached: it reminds me of the kindness of a friend to a weary new mum and welcoming a new person to our family. Ten year later, and I still remember and connect. Food and kindness will do that to you, hey.