Beef and Tomato, they just go together don’t they! For this tasty Beef & Tomato Pie you do need tomatoes which are firm and just ripe enough to blanch. And try to use in season, local and regional tomatoes full of flavour, it really will make a difference to this pie.
Beef & Tomato Pie Recipe
Serves 6. You need a 1.2 litre pie dish.
- 1 Kg best stewing steak (cut into 2.5 cm cubes)
- 1 Kg tomatoes (blanched, skinned and quartered)
- 5og plain flour (sprinkled with ground sea-salt and black pepper)
- 2 medium onions (peeled and sliced)
- 75g butter
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 250ml beef stock
- 225g plain flour (plus extra for dusting work surface)
- 50g butter (cut into cubes)
- 50g lard (cut into cubes)
- pinch sea salt
- 1 large egg (beaten)
- 1 egg yolk (to glaze)
- a little milk
For the shortcrust pastry: see this masterclass on making shortcrust pastry. In a mixing bowl sift in the flour and add the sea-salt. Take the butter and lard and rub this lightly into the flour with your finger-tips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre and mix in the beaten egg to bring the flour mixture into a pastry dough which is silky and smooth. Add a little milk or flour as needed if wet or dry. Cover and place the pastry dough in the fridge to chill for twenty minutes.
For the pie filling: Remove all the fat and skin from the beef steak and dice it into bite-sized cubes. Sprinkle the flour and seasoning onto a plate and turn the steak cubes in the seasoned flour to coat.
In a large frying pan fry the onions gently in 5og of the butter for 7 minutes until the are soft. Put the cooked onions in the bottom of the 1.2 litre pie dish.
Pre-heat the oven to 180C
Add the rest of the butter and fry off the beef in batches, once browned add each batch to the pie dish. Do it in batches so as not to crowd the frying pan and cool the temperature. Add just enough beef stock to cover the meat, and stir in the tomato purée. Cover the top of the dish with foil, place it on a baking tray and cook it in the pre-heated oven for 1 1/2 hours (90 minutes). When the meat has been cooking for 1 1/2 hours, remove it from the oven – take off the foil cover, and allow to cool completely. You do not want any residual steam from the meat making the pasty pie lid go soggy before it can crisp up in the oven.
Meanwhile, as it cools, blanch and skin the tomatoes. You need two medium sized bowls and a sharp knife. Do the tomatoes four at a time. Use the knife to place a small, skin deep, cut into the tomatoes. Put them in a bowl with boiling water from the kettle in it, remove them after 30 seconds to a minute, with a slotted spoon, and place them into a bowl of cold water. Then peel at the place where the skin was cut. Refresh the hot water if it starts too get too cold.
Cut the tomatoes into quarters, place them into a bowl, preserving all the juice. Sprinkle them with the sugar, black pepper and chopped basil, stir to coat and leave for ten minutes. Then mix the tomatoes and all the juice into the cooled steak and gravy in the pie dish, making a beef and tomato pie filling.
Brush the rim of the pie dish with a little milk. Pinch off a small amount of pastry, roll it out to about 5mm thick in a long rectangle. Cut out a few 2cm wide pastry strips, which you place length-ways, running all the way around the pie dish rim, half-in and half-out, merging them together where needed. Brush the pastry strips with a little milk.
Preheat the oven 180C
Roll out the remaining pastry for the pie lid, but keep it fairly thick, about 5 mm. Cut out a shape large enough to fit over the top of the pie dish. Put the pastry lid on the pie, firmly seal and crimp the strips of pastry with the pie lid – trim off any excess pastry – cut a small steam hole and brush over the top of the pie pastry with the beaten egg yolk.
Place the pie on a baking tray and bake in a pre—heated oven at 180C for 30 minutes. Once fully baked, and the pie filling is piping hot, remove from the oven. Allow to cool for a few minutes then serve with steamed vegetables and a creamy mash potato.