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Beef pie with oyster and Porter

A plate with beef, oyster and porter pies, chips and oysters on top. With a Abbots porter in the background

Some time back we ran a pie class called “Easy as Pie”. We made loads of different types of pastries including puff.  I was reminded by one of the students of a pie I made for a medieval degustation dinner.  The Beef and oyster pie with porter (a very English beer), or perhaps a Stout (think Guiness).

Did you know that in medieval times, oysters were considered poor man’s food?  They were caught in the Thames river (England) back in the day, which might not have been as clean as it is now. I know some of you don’t like oysters, and you could just leave them out, but don’t forget the porter 🙂

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A plate with beef, oyster and porter pies, chips and oysters on top. With a Abbots porter in the background

Beef pie with oyster and Porter

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becs-table.com.au
This is a hearty and very tasty pie, that would be most welcome after ploughing the fields, and still comfortable at a dinner party.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Difficulty Easy, Medium
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine English
Servings 8
Method Conventional

Equipment

  • Heavy fry pan or pot
  • Food Processor (optional)

Ingredients
  

  • 900 g gravy beef or similar slow cook beef
  • 200 ml porter or stout or Guinness
  • Extra virgin olive oil for frying
  • 2 Tbsp plain flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 30 g butter
  • 1 medium onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove peeled and crushed
  • 1 tsp chopped thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp tomato purée
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1.5 litres beef stock
  • 12 oysters eight removed from the shell and four left in the half shell
  • For the parsley crust
  • 2 Tbsp fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • A good knob of butter

For the pastry

  • 225 g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 85 g shredded beef suet
  • 60 g butter chilled and coarsely grated
  • 1 medium egg beaten to glaze

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 200°c.

Filling

  • Heat a large heavy frying pan or saucepan over a high heat. While that’s happening, lightly flour the meat with some of the flour and season with salt and pepper.
  • Add some oil to the pan and fry the meat in 2 or 3 batches over high heat until nicely browned then put to one side.
  • Fry the onions and garlic for a few minutes until lightly coloured, then add the remaining flour and tomato purée and stir over a low heat for a minute or so. Slowly add the porter and beef stock, constantly stirring to avoid lumps forming. Add thyme, bay leaf and the pieces of beef, bring back to the boil, cover with a lid and simmer gently with a lid on for about 2 hours or until the meat is tender.
  • When the meat is cooked, the sauce should have thickened to a gravy-like consistency. If not, mix a little cornflour to a paste with some water, stir into the sauce and simmer for a few minutes. Let the mixture cool down and use to fill the pie dishes (or single dish) to about 1cm from the top.

Pastry

  • To make the pastry, mix the flour and salt with the suet and grated butter. Mix in about 150-175ml water to form a smooth dough and knead it for a minute. Or put it all in a food processor and blitz till it just comes together. Don’t over process or you’ll end up with a tough pastry.
  • Roll the pastry on a floured table to about ¾cm thick and cut out to about 2cm larger all the way around than the pie dishes (or dish) with a slit or hole in the middle for the oyster.
  • Brush the edges of the pastry with a little of the beaten egg and lay the pastry on top, pressing the egg-washed sides against the rim of the dish. Cut a 2cm hole in the centre but leave the pastry attached so you can drop the oysters in when cooked then brush with beaten egg.
  • Leave to rest in a cool place for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°c fan and cook the pie for 40-50 minutes, or until the pastry is golden.
  • To make the parsley crust just melt the butter in a pan and mix the crumbs and parsley in and season. To serve remove the pastry disc and insert a couple of shucked oysters and return to the oven for 10 minutes. Scatter the four oysters in the shell with the parsley crust and grill until golden then place over the hole.

Notes

You might serve with chips or salad, and importantly, a glass of porter beer (or your favourite ale).

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