We're in our element as butchers and cooks when it comes to taking cheap cuts and elevating them into something delicious. After all, a cheap secondary cut of meat from a quality beast is already miles ahead of what we used to buy from the supermarkets.
We like to take the same approach with the wine we use to cook, while you're never going to open something from the cellar downstairs to make a pie - we use a wine we're happy to drink the rest of the bottle from. Leaving a bottle just for cooking will quickly turn it into sour vinegar, so finish that bad boy off ASAP.
This recipe is nice and easy, don't be daunted by the steps - by using store bought pastry it's simple a case of making the filling and sandwiching it (delicately) between two layers of pastry. We use puff for the lid because it's delicate and flakey, while short crust pastry is sturdier and works better as a base.
When working with pastry, make sure you take it out of the freezer right before you cut the shapes out. This recipe makes enough for 4 small 100g pies, or one larger 400g monster.
Bodacious Skirt & Shiraz Pie
In a mixing bowl, add flour, diced meat, and a pinch of salt. Toss until meat is fully coated.
In a large pot on medium-high heat add your butter. Once butter has melted, begin adding your diced meat. Work in batches, cooking for about 1 minute per side or until browned all over – remove the meat to a separate bowl and repeat until all meat has been browned and set aside.
In the same large pot, lower to medium heat and add onions and garlic – stirring until tender and translucent. Add cracked pepper and sugar and cook until sugar just begins to colour (no one likes burned sugar). Add red wine and reduce the mixture by half. Reintroduce meat to pot, add stock and reduce heat to low. Simmer for an hour or until meat is tender.
NOTE: Because the meat has been floured, it will catch and burn if you don’t stir the mixture during its cook. Stir every 10 – 15 minutes on average. Ensure there is always enough liquid in the pot so that the filling doesn’t start to burn, top up with stock or water. Season to taste.
Remove from heat and let cool before continuing.
In a pie tin, or a ramekin if you don’t have a pie tin. Grease and lightly flour the tin, shake off excess. Using your vessel as a template, cut the Short Crust pastry approx. 1.5x the diameter and lightly press the vessel into the mould to cut.
Next, using your puff pastry – repeat this step, but only cut the pastry about 5mm larger than template.
Lay the shortcrust pastry into the pie mould or ramekin, slightly pressing the pastry to fill all edges neatly. Using a fork, place one or two impressions into the base to reduce shrinkage of the pastry. Rest the pastry for 5 minutes before continuing to the next step.
Evenly distribute your pie mixture into the base, making sure you leave a flat surface at the top of the mixture so that the mixture doesn’t overflow. Brush the edges with your whisked egg to help the base and lid stick together.
Lay the puff pastry on top of the pie base and fuse the two together by crimping, using a fork or telekinesis. Brush the pastry with the whisked egg until very lightly covered. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if using.
Using a pair of scissors, cut the centre of the pie lid on an angle to create a breathing hole.
Bake pies for 30 minutes or until browned. Stand for 5 minutes before serving.