“In my mind, a pie like this with melt-in-the mouth crumbly pastry on the top, sides and bottom immediately hits heavenly status. For the filling, I’m using chuck steak and brisket, cooked until dark and caramelized. Let quality wine clean the pan, then bubble away for maximum depth and deliciousness. What a treat! ”
Slice the beef into 2.5cm chunks, then toss with the flour and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
Drizzle 2 tablespoons of oil into a large pan on a medium heat, then brown the beef all over. Remove to a plate, leaving the pan on the heat.
Peel and roughly chop the onions, carrots and celery. Add to the pan with the bay leaves and cook for 5 minutes, or until starting to soften, stirring occasionally. Remove to the plate with the meat.
Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and chop into 1cm cubes. Pour the wine into the empty pan and leave it to reduce by half, then add the meat and softened veg back to the pan, along with the potatoes.
Pour in the stock, bring to the boil, then reduce to medium-low and simmer for 2 hours 30 minutes, or until the meat is tender, adding splashes of water to loosen, if needed. Once cooked, season to perfection and leave to cool.
For the pastry, put the flour and a good pinch of sea salt into a food processor, cube and add the butter, then pulse until just combined. Pick and roughly chop the herb leaves, add to the processor with 100ml of ice-cold water, and pulse again until it forms a rough dough. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 170ºC/325ºF/gas 3 and lightly oil a 20cm loose-bottomed round cake tin.
Roll out two-thirds of the pastry on a clean flour-dusted surface to 2mm thick. Loosely roll it around the rolling pin and unroll it over the cake tin, gently easing it into the shape of the tin. Patch up any holes and trim the edges.
Spoon in two-thirds of the cooled filling (freeze the rest and serve as a stew another day). Crumble over the Stilton and brush the pastry edges with beaten egg.
Roll out the remaining pastry so it’s slightly bigger than the tin and top the pie, crimping the edges to seal. Make a small incision in the centre so steam can escape. Use any spare pastry to decorate the pie, if you like.
Eggwash the top, then bake at the bottom of the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the pastry is golden and the pie is piping hot. Leave to stand for 30 minutes, then serve up. Delicious with creamy mash, extra gravy and steamed seasonal greens.