Tuck into this Minced Beef & Horseradish Pie by John Whaite for #NationalPieDay.
I’m a Lancashire lad, so for me the pie is almost an auspicious symbol. Much as I appreciate a range of fillings, I personally believe that it’d be hard to find a pie to compete with a simple minced beef with its silky gravy and short, crisp pastry. I add the horseradish sauce here because I like the heat and slight sourness, but if you prefer to leave it out, feel free to do so. And when it comes to a sauce on the side – I know this is a controversial subject – it has to be a tangy brown sauce for me.John Whaite
For the pastry:
250g cold unsalted butter, cubed
500g plain flour
1 large egg
2 tbsp horseradish sauce
3 tbsp cold water
For the filling:
40g unsalted butter
2 onions, roughly chopped
2 tbsp plain flour
700ml beef stock
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp horseradish sauce
500g minced beef
Fine sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1 small egg, beaten, to glaze
For the pastry, rub the butter into the flour with one teaspoon salt until it resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre. Beat together the egg, horseradish sauce and water and add to the dry ingredients. Use a dough scraper or knife to cut the wet ingredients into the dry. If it doesn’t quite come together, add a little more water. Once the dough comes together roughly, gently work for a few seconds until smooth. Flatten into a disc, wrap in clingfilm and chill for an hour.
For the filling, first make the gravy. Heat the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat and, once it melts, add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very soft but mostly uncoloured – about 20 minutes. Increase the heat to high and add the flour to the
onions, stirring to mix well. Add the stock, bring to the boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer and cook until the liquid has reduced by half. Remove from the heat, add the Worcestershire and horseradish sauces and season to taste – remember to make it ever so slightly salty so that the beef doesn’t dilute it too much. Stir in the beef to mix well, then remove from the heat and allow it to cool.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6. Roll out half of the pastry on a floured worktop until reasonably thin – don’t be too eager, but don’t make it too thick. Line a 23cm pie tin with the rolled-out pastry, allowing the excess to hang over the sides. Pile the filling into the pie dish, then roll out the remaining pastry and use it to cover the filling. Remove the surplus pastry and crimp the edges. Glaze the pie with the beaten egg, then cut a cross or hole into the top to allow steam to escape. Bake the pie for 35–40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is very hot (I push a knife into the centre of the pie, and if the blade feels too hot to touch, the pie is ready).
All extracts taken from Comfort by John Whaite. Published by Kyle Books, photography by Nassima Rothacker