Turning tables back to traditional meat

Beef, beer and chestnut pie (cooked from a recipe at simplybeefandlamb.co.uk)
Beef, beer and chestnut pie (cooked from a recipe at simplybeefandlamb.co.uk)
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The turkey’s been cooked, Christmas dinner enjoyed and every leftovers recipe imaginable created and consumed.

Now everyone’s well and truly had their fill of the traditional Christmas meat, it’s time to turn back to other dinner table favourites like beef and lamb.

Simply Beef and Lamb, the organisation that promotes home-reared meats, has come up with plenty of filling and warming winter recipes to see us through winter.

Its website is full of casseroles, curries and comforting classics like the beef, beer and chestnut pie below.

Southsea butcher John Buckwell says heading to your local butcher is a great way to get the best cuts, as well as advice on how to cook and carve.

‘It’s all about the personal service,’ says the owner of Buckwells.

‘Your local butcher can give you tips and people want that more these days.’

John says telly chefs like Jamie Oliver have really had an influence and encouraged people to put more thought into their food and to try different things.’

‘Jamie Oliver will do a programme on something and we’ll see the results straight away. Sometimes he’ll use a more unusual cut and we’ll get people asking for it,’ says John.

The award-winning butcher says buying and cooking meat can seem like a complicated business at first. But with food programmes and the local butcher, there is plenty of help at hand.

‘People want to know what to use and how to use it. so I’ll maybe recommend a shin and leg of beef for slow cooking. It makes for a very rich and sticky casserole.’

Tips on cooking, carving. nutrition,and recipes are at simplybeefandlamb.co.uk

Beef, beer and chestnut pie

Serves four

Ingredients:

450g/1lb lean boneless beef shin, cut into 2.5cm/1 inch cubes

30ml/2tbsp plain flour seasoned with salt and freshly milled black pepper

45ml/3tbsp rapeseed or sunflower oil

1 red onion, peeled and sliced

100g/4oz vacuum packed whole peeled chestnuts, halved

300ml/½pint stout

150ml/¼pint good, hot beef stock

5ml/1tsp brown sugar

5ml/1tsp wholegrain mustard

1 bay leaf

For the pie topping:

450g pack prepared puff pastry

1 egg, beaten

Method:

1. Place the seasoned flour and seasoning into a large plastic food bag. Add the beef in batches and shake to coat.

2. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan and cook the beef in stages for 4-5 minutes until brown on all sides. Spoon into a 1.2l/2pint ovenproof casserole dish suitable for the hob and oven.

3. In the same frying pan fry the onions and chestnuts for 2-3 minutes. Spoon into the casserole dish with the beef.

4. Add the rest of the ingredients, turn up the heat and boil then cover, turn down the heat and cook on the hob or in a preheated oven at Gas mark 3, 170°C, 325°F for 1½ hours.

5. Remove the casserole from the hob or oven and turn up the oven to gas mark 5, 190ºC, 350ºF.

6. Remove the bay leaf and spoon into a 1.2l/2pint ovenproof pie dish.

7. For the topping, roll out the pastry in a large square on a lightly floured surface to about the thickness of a pound coin. Cut the pastry lids large enough to cover the dish.

8. Spoon the filling into the casserole dish, dampen the edges with water and cover the top with a pastry lid. Cut a small slit on top of the pastry for the steam to escape. Put the pie on a baking tray then brush the pastry with the beaten egg.

9. Cook for 25-30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden.

10. Serve the pie with creamy mash and seasonal vegetables.