Preparation time: 40mins
Cooking time: 3 hours
It's cold out. You want – need – something warming and comforting. It’s time… for pie. This recipe takes an economical cut, the humble shin of beef, and cooks it slowly to break down the connective fibres and release its gelatinous goodness into a deeply rich, unctuous gravy enriched with bone marrow. London porter is used as the base for the gravy – a dark beer with roasted, smoky and subtly sweet chocolate notes. Served with a punchy green sauce for a contrasting hit of freshness and zing, this dish intends to keep you both warm and comfortable.
The recipe uses suet crust pastry to encase the pie. However, should you wish to save some time and opt for shop bought pastry, an all butter shortcrust will also work well.
Finally this recipe can be used to make one big pie, two medium size pies (as shown in the photos) or individual size pies – depending on what size pie dishes you have. You’ll just need to adjust the number of marrow bones – one per pie is perfect.
For the pie filling
1.5kg native breed beef shin, bone in.
2 x 2.5 inch pieces of marrow bone (to act as pie funnels)
2 large onions, sliced
2 sticks celery, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs of thyme
500ml London porter
400ml good quality beef stock
50ml red wine vinegar
1 tbsp plain flour
2 tsp English mustard powder
1 tbsp (approx) sea salt
2 tbsp (approx) ground black pepper
For the pastry
500g plain flour
200g beef suet
100g chilled butter, cut into small cubes
300ml cold water
2 tsp sea salt
1 egg, beaten
For the green sauce
125g flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
Zest of half a lemon, finely grated
Juice of half a lemon
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt, to taste
1. Season the beef shin well with about half of the salt and pepper. Coat with the mustard powder and flour, and dust off the excess. In a large pot, heat 2 tbsp of vegetable or mild olive oil over a high heat and brown the beef well on all sides. (Its important to get a good amount of colour at this stage to boost flavour and give a rich, deep colour to the gravy). Once browned, transfer to a plate to rest. Next, fry the lardons until golden and transfer to the plate alongside the beef.
2. Next, turn the heat down to medium, add the onions, garlic, bay leaves and thyme to the pot. Sauté the onions until lightly browned and caramelised. Add celery and carrot, cook for a further 5 mins.
3. Turn the heat back to high, return the meat to the pot and deglaze with the red wine vinegar. Once reduced add the porter and bring to the boil. Add the beef stock and continue to reduce by half. Check the seasoning and add more if required.
5. Meanwhile make the pastry. Mix the flour, suet, butter and salt together with a knife in a large bowl until well combined. Add about 250ml of the water and continue to mix with the knife. Once the dough starts to come together, mix by hand and continue to work until a smooth elastic dough forms. If the pastry seems dry add a splash more of the water. Try not to overwork the mix. Bring together, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge to rest for 30 mins.
8. Serve a healthy portion of the pie alongside some buttery mash, green beans and a good dollop of the green sauce. Enjoy with a glass of London porter, naturally.
This pie could be made with diced brisket, bolar chuckeye, denver or any other stewing beef. Despite the delicious nutritiousness, paleo diet fads and The Helmsley Sisters some people are still weird about bones or maybe you just can't get hold of the right marrow bones, use a traditional pie funnel or omit and just cut the cross in the pastry.
Meat cut and dry aged by The Butchery Ltd and marrow bones lovingly hand sawn by Dan.