Beef and Mushroom Pie (a great alternative to a Sunday roast)

In the current economic climate meat for a good roast can be a bit pricey. Here is a cheaper, but still very tasty alternative.

Makes enough for 5-6

Ingredients:

5 rashers smoked streaky bacon, snipped into bits with scissors

1 onion, chopped

500g beef stewing steak, diced

400g sliced mushrooms

3 carrots, diced

1 tblsp plain flour

2 stock cubes

2 bay leaves

4 juniper berries

Cornflour or gravy granules

Salt and pepper

1 packet ready rolled short crust pastry

1 tblsp milk

Method:

1) Heat up a large pan or pressure cooker pan on the hob. When hot, add the bacon and fry over a medium heat until the fat starts to melt. Now add the onions and beef and fry until the beef is browned.

2) Stir in the plain flour, coating all ingredients in the pan evenly. Now add the carrots and mushrooms and fry briefly.

3)Cover with water and bring to the boil. Add the stock cubes, bay leaves and juniper berries. Simmer on the hob for around two and a half to three hours with the lid on. If necessary add more water to ensure pan does not dry out. Alternatively close the pressure cooker as per manufacturer’s instructions and cook on the highest pressure setting for 25-30min.

4)When the meat is tender, but not yet falling apart, remove the bay leaves and season to taste with salt and pepper. Then thicken using either the gravy granules or cornflour, again following the instructions on the packet. The sauce should be very thick.

5)Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Flour a surface and lay out the unwrapped pastry. Put a 2 and a half litre oven proof dish on top of the pastry and  cut around it leaving a 1 inch margin to account for shrinkage. This is the pastry lid for your pie.

6)Pour the filling into the oven proof dish and lay the pastry on top. Cut a vent into the pastry lid and decorate with left overs, sticking the decorations in place with a little milk.

7)Bake the pie in the oven for around 20-30min, until the pastry is golden brown. Remove from the oven, put straight on the table and serve with boiled potatos and mixed vegetables.

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