I’m a big fan of offal and eat is as often as I can get my hands on it. It’s cheap, tasty and versatile. However my boyfriend Kieran isn’t a fan. He hates liver and kidneys and don’t even get him started on trotter. So when I bought some ox heart, I knew I’d have to be a bit sneaky. It just so happens that when cooked, heart has a similar texture to slow cooked beef and it does not have an offally ‘iron’ flavour that Kieran normally objects to, so I thought I could easily hide it in a beef pie.
It worked! He ate a whole piece and told me how lovely it as before I let him in on the secret – and it looks like heart will be on the menu in our household from now on – result!
I even went the whole hog and made my own pastry, which I usually can’t be bothered with. Turned out lovely!
I based it on my ‘Proper Steak Pie’ recipe here – just swapped half the beef for some heart.
- small handful dried porcini mushrooms (about 10g)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 500g braising steak, 500g ox heart
- 2 large onions, roughly chopped
- 4 large carrots , chopped into large chunks
- 2 tsp golden caster sugar
- 4 tbsp plain flour
- 300ml red wine
- 2 beef stock cubes mixed with 400ml boiling water
- bay leaf
- 200g chestnut mushrooms , halved
- 500g block puff pastry
- Start by braising the beef. If you’re using the porcini, cover them in boiling water for 20 mins, then squeeze out but keep the soaking water. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Heat half the oil in a large casserole dish, brown the meat really well in batches, then set aside. Add the onions and carrots to the pan, adding a drizzle more oil, then cook on a low heat for 5 mins until coloured. Add the soaked mushrooms, sizzle for 1 min more, then scatter over the sugar and flour, stirring until the flour turns brown. Tip the meat and any juices back into the pan and give it all a good stir. Pour over the wine, stock and porcini soaking liquid, discarding the last few drops. Season stew, tuck in the bay leaves and bring everything to a simmer. Cover with a lid and place in the oven for about 2 hrs, until the meat is really tender.
- While the stew is cooking, heat a drop more oil in a frying pan and sizzle the mushroomsfor 3 mins until golden. Remove from the heat and, when the stew is cooked, stir them through. Leave everything to cool completely – better still, make this up to 2 days in advance and keep it in the fridge as the pie will be better if the filling is fridge-cold when added. Can also be frozen for up to 3 months and defrosted when needed.
- When you want to make the pie, heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7 and place a flat baking tray in the oven. Heavily grease a 24-28cm pie dish and dust well with flour. Cut a third off the pastry and set aside. Roll out the pastry to a thick-ish round that will easily line the pie dish with an overhang, then line the tin. Add the beef to the dish using a slotted spoon so some gravy is left in the container, as you don’t want too much sauce in the pie. You want the filling to be slightly higher than the rim of the dish. If you have a bit too much, set it aside.
- Roll out the remaining pastry to a thick round big enough to cover the dish. Brush the edges of the pastry in the dish with egg yolk, then cover with the pastry lid. Trim the edges, crimp the pastry, then re-roll your trimmings to make a decoration. Brush the top heavily with egg. Make a few little slits in the centre of the pie, place on the hot baking tray, then bake for 40 mins until golden. Leave the pie to rest for 10 mins while you heat up the gravy left in the container. Serve the pie at the table with a jug of gravy and a big pile of mash