Jamie Oliver. Whatever you think about the guy, he makes good food. I always look through his cookbooks or at his TV shows and, even when I’m so annoyed by him, I want to eat every single thing he makes, and his recipes always turn out well.
Well. Apart from that banana-cream-chicken dish I made when I was 7 that was absolutely revolting, but I think that’s more because I hate bananas rather than anything else.
Anyway. On his new show, he made a fish pie with a sweet pea mash topping. I loathe fish pies, but the idea of the topping intrigued me and so I replaced the yucky fish with delicious, delicious beef. Yum.
And to make sure it’s soft and melt-in-the-mouth beef, first of all you boil it. Pop it in a pan with chunks of onion, a bay leaf, some balsamic vinegar, some red wine vinegar (or just red wine), and some tarragon.
Then pour over boiling water to cover, add a beef or vegetable stock cube and let it simmer for a few hours.
At this point, try not to eat the beef straight from the pan. As tempting and delicious as it is, it’s better with the topping.
Whilst the beef is stewing, boil some potatoes. Drain them over frozen peas, to defrost the peas, and mash until they’re soft and fluffy. You can add milk and butter if you like, but I throw in a couple of egg yolks.
Then roughly mash the defrosted peas, add them to the pan and mash a bit more. Stir well.
Mix some par-boiled root vegetables with the pie filling, and pop it in a pie dish. Add that gorgeous, intense cooking liquid, too, until it comes about 3/4 of the way up the pie dish.
Then top with the potatoes.
You can leave it here and bake it here if you like, but I decided to make it more interesting…
- 1 large red onion, cut into chunks
- 700g of braising steak, all fat removed and cut into chunks
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon of tarragon
- Red wine vinegar
- Balsamic vinegar
- Worcester Sauce
- 300ml vegetable or beef stock
- 400g mixed, diced root vegetables (carrots/swede)
- 750g of potatoes
- 400g of frozen peas
- 2 egg yolks
- Add the onion and steak to a large pan. Tip in a glug of each of the vinegars and add the tarragon. Stir to coat. Add the stock and top up with water so that the beef is covered. Add the bay leaf to the mix. Bring to the boil then cover and simmer for 90 minutes, checking and topping up with water if necessary every 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and leave to cool for 30 minutes
- Whilst the filling is cooking, peel and boil the potatoes. Drain over the peas, so that the peas can defrost. Mash the potatoes lightly, then add the egg yolks and mash again. Roughly mash the peas and add to the potatoes. Stir well, and mash again so that the peas are a combination of whole and mashed
- Whilst the potatoes are boiling, plunge the root vegetables into boiling water and leave for 5 minutes. Drain well
- Pre-heat the oven to 180. Remove the beef and onions with a slotted spoon and place into a large pie dish. Tip over the vegetables, distributing evenly. Add some of the beef cooking liquid, until it comes about 3/4 of the way up the sides of the dish
- Top with the mashed potato, and use the back of a spoon to create divets
- Bake the pie for 30 minutes. It can be served with vegetables or on its own