Tag Archives: meat

Beef and Ale Pie

This is a classic recipe – beef and ale are a perfect combination, and make for a wonderfully rich and delicious pie filling. We’re using shin of beef here, which can be a bit tough if you don’t cook it nice and slowly, but it’s absolutely packed with flavour. We had no worries about cooking it too fast as we stewed it over a whole weekend – about 12 hours altogether – in our slow cooker, but you don’t have to be that leisurely! It’s served with some deliciously mustardy leeks and lovely kale.

Ingredients for 2 people:

  • 250 g shin of beef (or any other diced cut of beef)
  • 500 ml dark ale
  • 100 ml beef stock (use a whole stock cube)
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 5 pickling onions
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 2 small turnips
  • 3-4 new potatoes/1 large potato
  • Pinch Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 250 g puff pastry (we used shop-bought pastry that we keep in the freezer)
  • 1 large leek, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 100 g shredded kale
  • Seasoning

Pie Veg Chopped

This has to be one of the easiest recipes ever – to get the filling going, cover the beef in the flour, and then put all the ingredients up to the bay leaves into a large casserole dish (or better yet, a slow cooker), bring to the boil and then turn down to a very low heat for at least 3 hours – the longer the better! Stir it occasionally and make sure that it doesn’t reduce too much – you want it to be a silky consistency.

Silky Pie

Once the filling is cooked, you can optionally take out the meat and pull it apart, to ensure it is spread evenly throughout the pie.

Meat Pulled Apart

Roll out your pastry so that it will cover your pie dish – it should be about 1 cm thick. Brush around the edge of your pie dish with a bit of beaten egg to ensure the pastry sticks. Put your filling in the dish and lay the pastry over the top, trimming any excess and pressing around the edges with a fork to make sure it sticks down. Brush the pastry with egg for a nice golden colour – we mixed our egg wash with a bit of mustard, which was amazing! Make a hole in the middle of the pastry with a knife to let any steam out. Put this in the oven for about 20 minutes at about 180 ºC, or until the pastry is golden-brown.

Pie Before

Pie After

To cook the leeks, melt the butter in a saucepan and add the leeks. Once this has started to sweat down, add the mustard and continue to cook until they’re completely softened. Braise the kale along with a bit of seasoning.

Pie Done

If you’ve timed it right, everything should come together perfectly! Serve with a pint of good ale.

Moroccan Lamb Steaks

Earlier this year Bird and I took a trip to Morocco and were absolutely blown away by the food!  This lamb dish uses harissa and ras el-hanout to evoke the flavours of Marrakech.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 lamb steaks (we used boneless leg steaks)
  • About 200g couscous
  • 1 courgette
  • 1 pepper
  • ½ red onion
  • ½ lemon
  • ~2 tsp harissa paste (to taste – different brands have different intensities)
  • 2 tsp ras el hanout
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

Firstly, mix together the harissa paste, 1 tsp of the ras el hanout, a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper, and just enough olive oil to make a sauce, and use this to marinate the lamb.  We left our lamb steaks to marinate for about 2 hours.  While the lamb is marinating, chop up the veg and put it in an oven dish along with a good drizzle of olive oil, the rest of the ras el hanout and some seasoning.  Put this in the oven to roast for about 45 minutes.

Fats Possibly my favourite piece of cookware!
Fats Possibly my favourite piece of cookware!

When the veg has about 15 minutes left to roast, put a griddle pan onto a high heat.  Once it has heated up, put the lamb steaks in.  Be careful not to move them around too much while they’re cooking, as you want nice char-grilled lines on your steak from the griddle pan – they don’t just look good!  Depending on the thickness of your meat a nicely blushing steak will take between 3 and 5 minutes per side, adding on a couple of minutes per side for a well done steak. Leave the steaks to rest for a couple of minutes once they’re done.

It's such a shame the smell of the ras el hanout doesn't make it across the interweb
It’s such a shame the smell of the ras el hanout doesn’t make it across the interweb

Lastly, cook the couscous – about the same volume of water to couscous, and squeeze half the lemon in for a bit of flavour.  Cover it to keep the steam in once the water has been added, and when it is done run a fork through it to lighten it up a bit.

Moroccan Lamb Done

That’s pretty much all there is to it!  We fell in love with the smells and tastes of Marrakech, and this takes us right back there.  We have a few more Moroccan dishes up our sleeves, and can’t wait to share them with everyone.

Nothing can prepare you for the streets of Marrakech.  We'll be back!
Nothing can prepare you for the streets of Marrakech. We’ll be back!