What lies be­neath

Hid­ing un­der the pas­try of this beef pie are soft, salty oys­ters – it’s an Ir­ish tra­di­tion you’ll be keen to adopt.

Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - FOOD WITH SAM MANNERING - Pho­to­graphs & Styling/ Sam Man­ner­ing


Prep time: 30 mins / Cook time: 3 hours Serves: 4-6

The first chef I ever worked un­der had come from the famed Bal­ly­maloe House in Ire­land. I re­call an Ir­ish din­ner where, apart from ex­pe­ri­enc­ing my first Guin­ness hang­over (a hideous thing), I got to play around with things like Car­rageen moss and make Ir­ish soda bread and such. This pie was a stand­out.

I’d never had beef and oyster in the same mouth­ful, and in spite of my ini­tial 17-year-old scep­ti­cism, I was smit­ten. The oys­ters add a beau­ti­ful, soft salti­ness to the sweet, mel­low beef. Big call to make, but I think this may be my favourite pie of all time.

I’m de­lib­er­ately vague about the num­ber of oys­ters to add, as I think it comes down to pref­er­ence. In any case, use fresh ones in a pot­tle, as the liquor that they come in will help to flavour the pie won­der­fully. Prefer­ably go for Bluffies, though Pa­cific will do.

You may use what­ever kind of beer you like for this dish; prefer­ably some­thing nice and dark – I used Garage Project’s Aro Noir like the good pa­triot that I am, but you may want to be prop­erly Ir­ish about things and use Guin­ness.

Olive oil

4 cloves gar­lic, finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

1kg beef brisket or shin, chopped into

rough 1-2 inch chunks

2 tbsp plain flour

Salt and pep­per

Gen­er­ous bou­quet garni of herbs such as rose­mary,

bay, thyme and oregano

1 x 330ml can dark beer (see above)

400ml beef stock

1-2 dozen pot­tle oys­ters

400g good puff pas­try (Pane­ton is good)

1 egg, beaten Pre­heat the oven to 160C.

In a large, lid­ded casse­role over a moder­ate heat, add about a ta­ble­spoon of olive oil, fol­lowed by the gar­lic and onion. Saute gen­tly for 8-10 min­utes un­til soft and translu­cent. Dust the beef in the sea­soned flour, and fry in batches just to brown the out­side. Add to the onion mix with the bou­quet garni and a gen­er­ous sprin­kling of salt and pep­per. Add the beer and stock, bring to a sim­mer, then put the lid on and pop in the oven to cook slowly for at least two hours, un­til the beef is melt­ingly ten­der.

Re­move beef from the oven, re­move bou­quet garni and stir in the oys­ters and liquor from the pot­tle. Taste and sea­son ac­cord­ingly.

Bring the heat of the oven up to 180C. Trans­fer the mix­ture to a shal­low pie dish and use the pas­try to line the top, then dec­o­rate as you see fit. Brush with beaten egg and bake for about 35 min­utes, un­til the pas­try is a lovely golden brown.

Serve im­me­di­ately.

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