- 1 large onion, chopped
- 250 grams button mushrooms, stalks trimmed flush, thickly sliced
- 1 kilogram (prepared weight) lean stewing beef, cut in 2-3cm cubes
- 1/3 cup flour
- ½ cup red wine
- 1 cup ready-to-use brown beef
- liquid stock
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste or sauce
- 1 teaspoon prepared mild mustard
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 sheets frozen flaky puff pastry, thawed
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water (egg wash)
- Preheat the oven to 150°C. Heat a film of oil in a large casserole dish on top of stove. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes to lightly colour. Add the mushrooms, stirring until softened and lightly browned. Remove onion and mushroom from the casserole and set aside.
- Toss beef in a bowl with a good pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Add a little more oil to the pan, heat the element to high, add the beef in two batches to brown evenly. Reduce heat and add the flour, stirring to brown it. Return all the meat to the casserole with the onion and mushrooms.
- Add the wine and stock, stirring well to incorporate any residue on the bottom of the casserole. Stir in the tomato paste, mustard, marjoram and bay leaf. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and place in the oven.
- Cook for 1-1½ hours or until beef is very tender. Check after the first 15 minutes to ensure that the meat is bubbling very gently and slowly. Adjust oven temperature as needed.
- When ready, check the taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Pie filling needs to be quite thick (see tip). Spoon the meat into a shallow container, allow to cool, remove the bayleaf then cover and refrigerate.
- To make the pie, preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Line the base and sides of a 20cm pie dish with pastry, leaving a little overhang. Add the cooled meat filling. Brush the edges of the pastry with water or egg wash. Cover the pie with the remaining pastry. Use fingers or a fork to crimp the edges together. Trim excess pastry. Make a small slit in the centre to allow steam to escape during cooking. Decorate with pastry cut-outs if desired, sticking them on with egg wash. Brush top with egg wash.
- Bake in the middle of the oven for 30-40 minutes until pastry is puffed and golden.
- If the pie-filling sauce is too runny, stir in a little cornflour mixed with cold water as soon as the filling comes out of the oven while it is still bubbling.
- When buying stewing meat, if not already trimmed, allow extra weight so that you have enough after trimming off excess fat and sinew.
- Using prepared square sheets of pastry means you’ll need to cut and paste pieces with a little water or egg wash in order to fit into a round pie dish. If you prefer to use a 400-gram block of pastry, use slightly more than half to roll out for the pie base and the remaining amount for the lid.
- If your casserole pot is not stove-proof, use a frying pan and transfer the stew to the casserole after adding all the ingredients at Step 3.