White Porcelain Large Oval Pie Dish, £35.00
1½kg beef cheek or good stewing steak
30g flour mixed with ground black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
½ bottle full-bodied red
½ pint beef stock
Bouquet garni of thyme, parsley and rosemary
20 pearl onions
225g button mushrooms
450g all butter puff pastry
Freshly ground black pepper
1 beaten egg
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F, gas mark 4.
Cut the pancetta into little sticks.
Cut the beef into large cubes, about 4cm across; if you make the pieces smaller than this, they seem to lose some of their succulence before they are tender.
Coat the pieces thoroughly with seasoned flour.
Brown the bacon in half of the olive oil in a flame-proof casserole dish.
Remove the bacon and sear the meat in the same fat, adding a little more oil if necessary, putting in enough pieces to cover the bottom of the pan fry in batches, set the meat aside.
Add half the wine and bring it to the boil, deglaze the pan.
Remove from the heat and add the meat, bacon and the rest of the wine and just enough of the stock to leave the top halves of the uppermost pieces of meat showing above the liquid.
Add the bouquet garni, stir, season with pepper and pop in the oven for two hours.
While the meat is cooking, peel the onions and simmer them in the remaining stock for five minutes.
Then brown the onions and mushrooms in the remaining oil and butter, stir them in with the meat.
Heat through gently, taste for seasoning.
Put the mixture into a pie dish, ensuring the meat is piled high in the centre to support the pastry or use a pie funnel.
Place the pastry over the top, and cut to size, decorate and brush the top with the egg.
Place in preheated oven 180C/350F for 30 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.