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
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
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!