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This week is British Pie Week and with not a lot planned for dinner this weekend, we were grateful for the suggestion. This was actually supposed to be tomorrow’s lunch but we ended up swapping things around since tonight’s planned dish needed to spend some time in the freezer to tenderise, more on that tomorrow.
We considered various different fillings for our pie but eventually settled on beef and oyster since it’s been on our “to cook” list for some time. In the 1800s oysters were traditionally used in pies since they were cheap, plentiful and were a good way to add flavour and it’s something that’s always intrigued us. We had originally planned to use red wine but since we were making something typically British, changed our mind at the last minutes and opted for stout instead.
The stout added a distinctive bitter note to the pie that was slightly tempered by the sweetness of the carrots, we both agreed that we would have preferred the flavour of red wine though. The oysters had a pleasant, silky texture but didn’t add much in the way of flavour. Having not cooked with oysters before, we left out the juice, fearing it would make everything too salty but, in hindsight, this would have added an extra dimension.
Beef and Oyster Pie
Vegetable oil, for frying
Flour, for frying
500g braising steak
1 large onion, sliced
1 leek, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 carrot, diced
1 stick celery, diced
250g button mushrooms
4 stalks thyme
Tablespoon tomato puree
Salt and pepper
150ml beef stock
Tablespoon worcester sauce
Start by tossing the beef in seasoned flour. Shake off the excess and brown the meat in batches. Remove to a plate and reserve.
In the same pan, soften the onion, leek, garlic, carrot and celery in some oil. Remove to a plate and reserve.
In the same pan, soften the mushrooms.
Return the meat and the vegetables to the pan and add the thyme and bay leaf. Add the tomato puree and season, cook for two minutes.
Add the stout and allow the alcohol to cook out. Next, add the stock and the worcester sauce and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 1.5 hours.
If the liquid hasn’t reduced, remove the meat and vegetables and boil hard until there is just enough liquid to coat the meat.
Transfer the contents to a pie dish, (leaving to cool first will prevent the pastry from becoming soggy), add the oysters and top with the pastry. Cook until browned, about 25 minutes.