Are you really in a log cabin in the mountains if you don’t cook a pie? The philosopher in me says no. The stomach in me also says no. And as fate would have it, we bought a Delicious magazine, with a beef bourguignon pie on the cover, on our drive.
We’d booked a weekend at Eagle Reach. Just up the mountain outside of Vacy, and a short drive to the Hunter Valley, it was an amazing spot. We drove up in the dark (quite a hairy climb at night in the fog) and woke up to a beautiful country vista. Two kangaroos lazed in the morning sun outside our front door, waiting for us to wake up and feed them. Before long, those two kangaroos turned into about 20, as the whole crew bounced over and got their morning feed.
On the Sunday morning the conditions were perfect. A cold foggy morning, a slight drizzle in the air and a crackling fire in our cabin. It felt like there was no one around us for miles as we soaked the beef in some wine we’d picked up the day before in the Hunter (not the wine from Bimbadgen though sadly, we accidentally left that at the winery!) and began slow cooking the meat, along with carrot, onion.
And what is there to do when you are in the middle of nowhere, waiting, while the house fills with delicious smells? Eat blue cheese and drink wine by the fire of course. It was a very tough weekend.
3 hours later we pulled it out of the oven and knew we were in for a treat. The pie probably would have had a lot more meat in it if we could have stopped ourselves from… sampling. Eventually we slopped it all in a pie tin of puff pustry and put in back in the oven, licking our lips.
It was worth the wait.
This pie was amazing. Sure, the setting couldn’t have been better and probably improved the taste, sitting on a thick wooden table watching mist roll through the hills while a fire crackled away. But the pie was amazing. Jill declared it the best pie she had ever eaten. I didn’t disagree.
We’d talked about making a pie for a while. I think we’ll be making them more often in the future.
Cheese and kangaroo break
Back to the pie
Recipe: (From Delicious Magazine)
1kg chuck steak, cut into 3cm pieces
375 ml bottle of red wine
1/4 cup of plain flour
1/3 cup olive oil
100g pancetta, rind removed, chopped
1 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 leeks (pale part only), finely chopped
2 carrots, chopped
275ml good-quality beef stock
4 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaves
6 sheets butter puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tbs of water
Place the meat in a glass bowl and pour over the red wine. Cover, and marinate overnight in the fridge.
When your ready to cook, bring the meat back to room temperature, drain and pat dry, reserving the wine (not to drink… calm down).
Preheat the oven to 150 C.
Toss the drained beef in the flour. Heat some oil in a casserole dish, frying the beef in small batches until browned. Set the beef aside.
Add more oil and cook the pancetta, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes. When it is golden, stir in the beef.
Pour in the stock and the reserved wine (told you it wasn’t for drinking). If it doesn’t cover the beef completely, top up with water. Add the thyme and the bay leaves, season well with salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer.
Cover it, and move it into the oven to slow cook for 2 and a half hours.
At this point, it will probably smell so good you can’t stand it… but take it out of the oven and let it cool. You can sample some of the beef if you wish. Yum.
Increase the oven to 200 degrees. Grease a pie dish and line it with sheets of puff pastry. It’s best to roll them out slight on a lightly floured surface to keep it thin enough to cook properly. Reserve any scraps to fill any gaps so the dish is completely lined. Brush the edges of the pastry with water.
Spoon the beef bourguignon into the pie and top with more puff pastry to create the pie lid. Crimp the edges together to seal, then brush the top with the egg wash.
Bake it for 20 minutes, until golden. Serve with mashed potato, or just some good old tomato sauce.
Try not to make too many noises while you eat it… I can’t guarantee this is possible. Mmmmm.