800 g ox cheeks
4 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp vegetable oil
5 echalion shallots
250 g chestnut mushrooms
200 g smoked bacon lardons
50 ml wheat whisky
500 ml wheat beer
150 ml beef stock
2 g dried porcini mushrooms
4 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
275 g plain flour plus extra for flouring
1 tsp baking powder
165 g shredded beef suet
1 tbsp nigella seeds
1 large egg
- Place a large frying pan over a high heat, then cut the ox cheeks into 3-4cm chunks. Sprinkle the meat with 2 tbsp of the flour and a generous pinch of salt and toss everything together on a chopping board to coat the beef in the flour.
- Tip the oil into the frying pan and once it starts to smoke, carefully place the floured chunks into the pan. Allow the beef to fry undisturbed for 5 minutes until golden on one side, then flip and repeat until golden all over. You may have to do this in batches to avoid crowding the pan.
- While the beef is frying, peel and roughly slice the shallots. Brush any dirt off the chestnut mushrooms, remove their stalks and cut what remains into quarters. Once coloured, transfer the beef to a pressure cooker using tongs and replace the meat with the shallots, mushrooms and bacon lardons.
- Fry the veggies and bacon together for 7-10 minutes, until the shallots soften and everything starts to take on a little colour. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tbsp of flour over the veggies and continue to fry for a further 2-3 minutes.
- Tip the whisky into the pan and allow it to bubble away for 1-2 minutes before tipping in the beer and beef stock. Let everything come up to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon all the while - any caught or caramelised bits will boost flavour once stirred into the sauce.
- Tip the contents of the frying pan into the pressure cooker with the beef. Chuck in the herbs and dried porcini mushrooms and place the pressure cooker over a high heat. Allow the liquid to come back up to a boil, then turn down the heat until barely simmering and close the lid. Cook the filling under pressure for around an hour, until when the beef is cut into with a small knife it slides in with ease. If time is on your side, you can braise the beef low and slow in the oven.
- Get to work on the pastry while the filling is cooking. Chuck the flour, baking powder, suet, nigella seeds and a very generous pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl. Pour in 150ml (5.1floz) of water and bring everything together to form a shaggy dough in the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead it briefly for no more than 30 seconds - it should be tacky but not sticky. Add a little more flour or water where necessary. Wrap the pastry in Cling Film and allow it to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (370°F)
- Once the beef is tender, tip the contents of the pan into a colander over the frying pan from earlier to catch the cooking liquid. Place the frying pan over a high heat and boil the liquor down for 5-6 minutes until it reaches a thick, double cream-like consistency. Chuck the beef, veggies and reduced liquor into a pie dish and give everything a good mix. Season to taste with salt.
- Roll the pastry to a 1/2cm thickness on a lightly floured work surface. Beat the egg in a small bowl, then lightly brush it over the rim of the pie dish. Carefully lay the pastry on top and then push it over the edges where the pastry meets the dish, using a lightly floured fork to seal it. Trim any excess pastry from the edges, then cut a small hole in the centre of the pastry - this will allow steam to escape as the pie cooks. Brush the remaining egg all over the pastry.
- Whack the pie onto a large baking tray and bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes, until the pastry turns a deep golden brown.