This classic recipe was the foundation of those historic meat pies that were the source of good eating in both Old and New England. Though these fell out of favor with the Boston Tea Party, they remain an economical method of using very little beef to feed many.

Beef Pies

Beef Pies
Recipe type: Meat Pies
Serves: 4
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound 2 ounces ground beef or chopped leftover roast beef.
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 1/2 ounces mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • 9 fluid ounces stout or beef stock
  • dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 14 ounces ready-made shortcrust pie pastry
  • 1 free-range egg, yolk only, lightly beaten
  1. 1. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan and fry the ground beef for 4-5 minutes, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it browns.
  2. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, then stir in the tomato puree and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for a further minute, then add the chopped mushrooms, the stout or beef stock and a couple of dashes of Worcestershire sauce. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover the pan with a lid and leave to simmer for 20 minutes. Set aside and leave to cool, then turn the meat mixture into a one litre pie dish.
  3. Roll out the pastry on a floured work surface until it is slightly larger than the pie dish or individual ramekins. Gently drape the pastry over the dish, pressing firmly onto the edges. Trim, then shape the edges into a fluted shape.
  4. Cut some leaf or other shapes out of the pastry trimmings and decorate the top of the pie, sticking them to the pastry with the beaten egg yolk.
  5. Make three or four slits in the pastry to allow the steam to escape, then brush the pie with the rest of the beaten egg yolk and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden-brown.
  6. To serve, slice into wedges if making a single pie, or serve individual ramekins or pies with a side salad and vegetables.
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