This post is sponsored by Sky, but still has a bloody AMAZING recipe for beef and bacon pie in it and halfway through I somehow switch to the voice of a cook from Winterfell, so I thoroughly recommend you keep reading it anyway.
Do you watch Game of Thrones? It took me a while to get into – in fact, the first time I watched it I fell asleep shortly after the Starks found the direwolves – but the second I made it all the way to the end of that first episode, I’ve been faintly obsessed. I watched every episode, pore over fan art on Tumblr, have lengthy conversations about favourite characters and the way the show deviates from the book and remain stubbornly optimistic that one day they’ll release House of Tyrell merchandise. I love it.
In fact, I love it so much I was invited to a special showing of the last season finale so that my face could be in a reaction video. You can have a good laugh at that here.
So, Sky are currently showing every episode of Game of Thrones again over Christmas (perfect Christmas fayre, no? Who doesn’t want incest, the undead and brothels with their turkey and trimmings?) and wanted me to create some recipes to help celebrate and promote this – so your mouth can #FeastOnThrones whilst your eyes #FeastOnThrones, geddit? I had a quick search for some of the most popular Game of Thrones recipes, and this came up:
“Part of him wanted nothing so much as to hear Bran laugh again, to sup on one of Gage’s beef and bacon pies, to listen to Old Nan tell her tales of the children of the forest and Florian the Fool” – Jon Snow
Beef and bacon pie. That sounded good. And it was actually popular one – there were loads of recipes for this pie online. However, they all involved fruit and seemed quite sweet, but I saw it more as something hearty and warming that the Winterfell soldiers would eat before going out to fight off some uppity Southerners. I really thought I could make something delicious. Plus, it was a recipe from Winterfell, and the Starks are so clearly The Goodies in the Game of Thrones saga that it felt right to hitch my wagon to their stars. Even though that strategy hasn’t worked out particularly well for anyone so far.
Start with a big, deep pot. Add bacon lardons – you can dice bacon if you want, but lardons have lots of good fat for frying vegetables in and are already in tiny bits for you – and fry on a medium heat for about three minutes. Finely grate in three fat cloves of garlic and fry for a few minutes more. Then tip in chunky stewing steak and brown it, stirring constantly. Add in about 400g of mixed winter vegetables – onion, leek, carrot and swede is a good mix – and stir to coat the vegetables in all the meat juices.
Now for some liquid. Pour in lots of delicious red wine, to warm the blood and improve the spirits. Add beef stock and lots of freshly ground black pepper – it’ll be plenty salty from that bacon, but beef without pepper is like Arya without Needle. Stir well. Turn the heat down so that that the liquid is simmering, cover, and roll out your pastry.
I’m using puff pastry. You can make it if you like – here’s an easy tutorial – but I just bought mine. Too busy running through the crypts and praying in the Godswood to make pastry. Roll it out until it’s much bigger than your pie dish and drape it over. Trim the excess, still leaving a slight overhang of pastry, and use the remaining ball of cutoffs to push the pastry onto the bottom and sides of the dish.
By now your meat and vegetables should be soft and delicious. Add three tablespoons of flour to the pan and turn the heat up high. Stir constantly until the sauce has become a thick gravy that’ll stick to your ribs and protect you from the chill. Remove the pan from the heat.
Reroll the cuts offs until you get a lid, so that the filling has time to cool slightly. Then tip the filling into the pie dish and spread it out evenly.
Drape the pie lid over the top of the filling and trim off the excess. We are Starks, not Lannisters, so we don’t have time for fancy decorations or crimping! Simply press the pastry edges together and roll underwards so you cannot see the seam. Then brush the whole pie with beaten egg.
Although…we may not have time for frivolous decortations, but us Starks are a proud house and there’s always time for our motto.
Bake until the pastry has puffed up and is golden.
Remove, leave to cool for five minutes or so, then serve. It’s perfect with some green veg and a big dollop of mashed potato.
I’d say this serves six to eight people, depending on how hungry you are and how many sides. The above plating for two of us used up a quarter of the pie, but if you’re eating it on its own I’d say it’ll serve six rather than eight.
So there we go – a beef and bacon pie! I hope you enjoy it, but remember…
- 200g of smoked bacon lardons
- 3 large cloves of garlic
- 500g of lean beef stewing steak, cut into big chunks
- 400g of chopped mixed winter veg (leek, onion, carrot, swede)
- 200ml of red wine
- 150ml of beef stock
- 3 tablespoons of plain flour
- 500g of puff pastry
- 1 beaten egg
- Fry the lardons over a medium heat until they start to leak fat. Add the finely grated garlic cloves and cook for a few minutes
- Add the beef and brown it. Then add the vegetables and stir to coat in the juices
- Pour in the red wine and the stock, then season with black pepper but no salt. Turn the heat to low, add a lid to the pan and simmer
- Roll out the pastry until it's just thicker than a £1 coin. Line a 9-inch pie dish with it. Trim and gather up the cut-offs.
- Pre-heat the oven to 190C
- Add the flour to the pan and turn the heat to medium. Stir, cooking until the sauce becomes a thick gravy. Remove from the heat.
- Roll out the remaining pastry until you have a circle wide enough to be a lid. Pour the filling into the pie dish and lay the lid over the top. Trim the pastry and press the lid and base together, turning the ends over
- Brush the pastry with the beaten egg and bake for 35 minutes, turning after 20 minutes. Leave to cool and serve with mashed potatoes and vegetables