| beef and mushroom pie

October 25, 2009

This is Murray’s recipe, originally adapted from a mushroom pie recipe and perfected over years of hangovers. He’s never made it not hungover. He says it is repair food, and needs to be made on a day when the only adventure is one to the shops to pick up ingredients, then back home. Perfect for a hazy-head noon get up. Start preparations at five in the afternoon, then hang about the house while the meat cooks until it’s tender. By the time it is ready everyone has waited so long and smelt the fragrant meaty smells from the kitchen for ages and tested the sauce a couple of times, that they’ll be so hungry they can’t help but love it. So time is necessary, it can’t be rushed.

In Berlin our house woke up at noon, hungover after a night of ridiculous fun that would have made our teenage selves proud, (why do we still play in playgrounds in the middle of the night, when we’re old enough to get into clubs and bars?) Murray declared it a perfect opportunity for pie. We wandered to the Turkish grocer for ingredients then played ping-pong in the park while the sauce cooked on a very low heat at home. We ate it with the beetroot and dill salad. The crisp freshness of the salad worked beautifully with the richness of the pie.

In Melbourne Sarah made small versions of this pie. Her little ones look like the kind of pies you get at the bakery or the school canteen, straight from the pie warmer. The kind of pies that need tomato sauce. These pies usually make the bag see-through from the oil, the meat is unidentifiable and the sauce is gluggy and floury – but when you’re starving these kind of pies have their charm. Murray’s pie takes everything that’s wrong about a meat pie and makes it right. It tastes so much better than any pie I’ve ever got in a paper bag. It has large hunks of melt in the mouth beef. These hunks of beef are alternated with juicy bites of mushroom. The sauce is thick and herby with thyme and rosemary. You can taste the hours spent stewing on the stove. The taste is very far from the school canteen.

Murray uses puff pastry for his, but Sarah and I like to use Tessa Kiros’ recipe for pastry, which is the best we’ve found, the addition of vinegar seems to work some magic here, (but don’t attempt pastry with a hangover, use the puff.) Murray’s recipe also has in the ingredient list ‘gravy’. Sarah and I, to much contention, don’t include this addition. And we don’t always make it hungover, but in whatever way you need to repair, this pie will achieve it.

Beef and Mushroom Pie

4 tbsp olive oil
800g casserole beef
1 onion, diced
1 leek, diced
1/4 cup plain flour
brown bag of mushrooms full to the brim, chopped/broken
2 tbsp tomato paste
glug red wine
balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 cups of beef stock
350ml thickened cream
thyme, or rosemary, (maybe a bayleaf in the last half hour)

Pastry (from Tessa Kiros’ Apples for Jam)
600g plain flour
1 tsp salt
400g butter, cut into cubes
2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
100ml milk
4 tsp white wine vinegar
1 free-range egg
1 tbsp milk

This is a manly recipe – so don’t cut up the mushrooms, break them into pieces with hands. It makes rustic, uneven sized mushroom bits.
Sear beef in oil in heavy pan and set aside. Fry onion and leek til translucent, add garlic and cook for two minutes. Reduce the heat, add the flour and stir with the oil and onions until it forms a roux, (sticks together) cook on the heat for a minute or so. Put the mushrooms, stock, wine, balsamic vinegar, tomato paste into the pot with the roux and stir. Bring to the boil, add beef and cream and reduce heat. Simmer for 1.5 hours to 4 hours. Add sprigs of thyme if you have some handy.
While the mixture is simmering make the pastry. Put the flour in a large bowl with salt. Work in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine sand. Add the eggs and milk. Continue working the mixture until it comes together in a loose dough. Flatten it slightly, cover in clingwrap and refrigerate for an hour or so.
Preheat your oven to 180C. Grease a large dish, this is a big pie!
Divide the dough into two, one part slightly bigger than the other. Roll out the bigger portion of pastry on a floured surface, to a thickness of about 5mm, then cut out a section to match the size of your dish. Carefully lower the pastry into the tin and press against the sides. Make sure that it’s big enough to hang over the sides a little. Spoon in your filling carefully. Roll out the other section of dough and place it over the top. Fold the edge of the first piece of dough over it so it seals, pressing gently.
Mix the extra egg and milk and brush the pastry.
Bake until golden!

We made little pies for this shoot, perfect for a picnic, just substitute the large tin with a muffin tray or friand tins!

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beef and mushroom pie: 19 comments

  1. Benjamin Law Says:

    Haha. Remember when we all did that recipe swap ages ago? Murray sent this very recipe to me. When I asked him about the listed ingredient of “gravy” (“Do you actually mean powdered gravy out of the packet, Murray”) he responded with, “Yes — what else?”

    I still haven’t met Murray, but I already know that I like him a lot.

  2. easy recipes Says:

    Can I make it with chicken?

  3. sarah Says:

    I’m sure you could give it a try with chicken and white wine? Make sure you substitute the beef stock with Chicken. But the pie premise is the same. You wouldn’t need to cook it for quite as long either I don’t think. Let us know how you go! Sarah

  4. Rose M. Says:

    My god if it wasn’t so late I would make this right now, I can almost taste it.

    Benjamin Law, I love you. You’re pieces in Frankie are the ones I look forward, the very most.

    Trotski-ash, I also love you.

  5. Hannah Grace Says:

    Dear Sarah and Romy,

    You’re truly the bestest; your blog never fails to inspire me and make me smile!

    Its starting to get chilly here in London, and pie is definitely the way forward!

    Im vegetarian though, do you think i could muddle the ingredients round a little and maybe just use lots of different types of mushroom instead?

    Much love

    Hannah Grace

  6. romy Says:

    Hannah, I think you could definitely use a variety of mushrooms as a substitute – and mushrooms are very much in season in the northern hemisphere. Murray says maybe use two leeks too, and a good mushroom stock.


  7. Rosie Says:

    I got these pies made for me for my birthday once. AMAZING! What did they say on top again? Maybe the spelled ‘rosie’ but maybe the spelled ‘happy birthday’

    there were definitely ones with love hearts on them….

  8. Sarahteaa Says:

    I just stumbled upon this site today while looking for a lemon squares recipe and I haven’t left it since, the recipes are so interesting and I really want to try the pavlovas, I hope the lemon squares turn out alright


  9. Lara Says:

    Im a big fan of the small pie idea and I’ve been dying to try this recipe. I only have one muffin tray though… Do you think I could freeze the rest of the mixture or better to bake them in batches?

    How many small ones does the recipe make, do you remember?
    Thanks girls.

  10. sarah Says:

    Hi Lara. It’s funny you should mention this, I cooked this pie last night, used half of it and froze half the pastry and half the filling! So yes. I think you can. You could always bake in batches and freeze the pies cooked, or halve the recipe. Yum. I wish there were leftovers. Sarah.

  11. Lara Says:

    Okay, Montreal does not seem to have: brown paper mushroom bags, thickened cream, or thin normal sheet puff pastry. Therefore, I didn’t add enough mushrooms, probably the right cream or the have the luxery to work with normal pastry.
    that said, this is very possibly the best thing I have ever cooked. Ever. yum yumm yumm!
    Thank you ladies! (and murray)

  12. ellen Says:

    I made these on the Anzac Day long weekend. In between getting them out of the oven and going upstairs to change, my brother and his mates (home from boarding school) had eaten the lot!
    So, I’ve been told to make them again and this time, I’m eating one ASAP!
    They taste awesome, or so I have been told by my brother.
    Thanks and keep up the good work! xx

  13. sarah Says:

    Hi! Sorry for the delay! About four big handfuls of mushrooms should do it. Any pure cream is fine. Make the pastry recipe that we have on here. It works a treat! So glad it still worked out for you though. We made it the other night and it was delicious. Thanks!

  14. sarah Says:

    Thanks Ellen, so nice to get feedback, I hope you make enough so that you can squirrel some away for yourself next time! Sarah

  15. drew Says:

    i made this over the easter long weekend that my mates amd i spent in thredbo. everyone raved about it….was great for sunday recovery dinner !!

  16. nicholas Says:


    i am waiting for this pie to cook this very minute – it smells nice. my girlfriend is getting mad as it isn’t ready yet. unless i’m just a spaz &/or a little blind, there is no mention of when to use the white wine vinegar when making the pastry?

    alllllso, how much balsamic vinegar should one be adding to the pie?


  17. sarah Says:

    Hi Nicholas.
    Sorry for the vinegar confusion. It is to go in at the end as the dough is working together. We’ll update the recipe. It’s not essential, but it does make it especially delicious. As for the balsamic, this recipe is really a glug of this and a dash of that. Just to taste is the best description I can give. Start with a tablespoon perhaps.
    Hope this helps! Enjoy!

  18. Mushroom | Cooking from the heart Says:

    […] milk caps and melted Brie from III Bean Chicken with chanterelles and baby carrots from Eat This Beef & mushroom pie from Trotski & Ash Rustic mushroom toasts from What Katie Ate 9 things you probably didn’t […]

  19. Chloe Trotter Says:

    Things that make you go mmMmmmM

    🙂 I made these last night for dad, annie and shannon… mmm the pastry almost tastes like shortbread. Definietly a keeper. I was going to give you a call today to see if I could put pepper into the remaining pie contents. Not sure if I should use jarred peppercorns or dried? x

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