Once, many many moons ago, I came home very late and very tired, having drunk considerably too much wine, and I found a pie on my bed. My housemate had returned home an hour earlier and had thoughtfully purchased two additional Engen pies for the hooligans still out painting the town red. I can honestly say I have never been as excited in my life as I was to see that pie there, waiting patiently, when I needed it most. To this day, it brings tears to my eyes. But it’s not just midnight pies – I love them all. Fancy phyllo parcels, sweet dessert pies, pies to throw, pies to slice and share. And that’s just off the top of my head. But I like making these little pot pies because the filling can be as saucy as you like without ruining the crust, and the ratio of meat to pastry is pretty good too. Add more or less cream depending on how saucy you like them, and play around with the ingredients.
Saucy Steak & Mushroom Pot Pies
500g ostrich/beef goulash
1/2 onion, grated
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1.5 tblsp worcester sauce
1 tblsp balsamic vinegar
1.5 tsp soy sauce
1 cup beef stock
2 tblsp olive oil
400g sliced mushrooms
2 red chillis, chopped finely (optional)
400g puff pastry, defrosted
1 egg, beaten
Combine the worcester, balsamic and soy sauces, and toss through the goulash. Heat the oil in a large pot and simmer the onion until soft, about 5min. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for a few minutes more. Add the goulash and marinade, along with 2 cups of beef stock. Bring to the boil, and then cover tightly and simmer on low for an hour. Strain the cooking liquid into a separate bowl (you will need it just now) and shred the meat with two forks. It should be soft and easy to pull apart. Heat another tblsp of olive oil in the pot and saute the mushrooms until cooked. Add the shredded meat, mix, and push to the side.
Add the butter, stir until it melts, and then add the flour, mixing until a smooth paste is formed. Add a little of the cooking liquid, stir into the paste, and then add the remainder. Mix the meat & mushrooms through the sauce and heat until bubbling, stirring often. Once the sauce has thickened, stir through the cream, half a tsp of salt and pepper, and simmer for a few seconds. Congrats – your pie filling is done and delicious! At this point, either let the filling cool and put it into the freezer for future use, or continue.
Heat the oven to 220°C. Divide the (room temperature) pie filling between four 10cm diameter ramekins. Roll the pastry slightly thinner on a floured surface, and cut out circles around a bowl that’s at least 5cm wider than the ramekins. Drape a pastry circle over each ramekin and press the pastry edge to the ramekin sides with a fork. Brush with beaten egg and quickly stab two holes in the centre with the sharp point of a knife, to release steam during cooking. Cook for 10min until golden brown. Serve with a side salad.