Mussel and Beef Pie

A traditional English recipe, Mussel and Beef Pie makes a wonderfully nourishing and sustaining meal. Serve with creamed potatoes, baby carrots and beer.

2 oz. butter

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 lb. lean stewing beef, cut into

1-inch cubes

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and diced

8 oz. mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced

8 fl. oz. dark beer

2 teaspoon dried thyme

2 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 quart mussels, scrubbed, steamed and removed from their shells

6 oz. flour

½ teaspoon salt

4 oz. butter

3 to

4 tablespoons iced water

1 egg, lightly beaten

First make the pastry. Sift the flour and salt into a medium-sized mixing.bowl. Cut the butter into small, walnut-sized pieces and add them to the flour. Pour in the iced water and mix quickly into a dough, which should be lumpy.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough into an oblong shape. Fold it in three and turn it so that the open edges face you. Roll again into an oblong shape and fold and turn as before. Repeat this once again to make three folds and turns in all. Put the dough into the refrigerator and chill while you make the filling.

Preheat the oven to fairly hot 400 °F (Gas Mark 6, 200°C).

Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a large frying-pan, melt the butter with the oil over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the beef cubes, a few at a time, and cook, stirring and turning occa-sionally, for 8 to 10 minutes or until they are evenly browned. With a slotted spoon, transfer the cubes to a plate and keep warm while you brown the remaining meat in the same way.

Add the onion and potatoes to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent but not brown. Stir in the mushrooms and cook the mixture for a further 3 minutes.

Pour over the beer and add the thyme, salt and pepper, mixing well to blend. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce the heat to moderate and return the beef cubes to the pan, stirring well to mix. Simmer the mixture for 15 minutes.

Stir in the mussels and remove the pan from the heat. Pour the mixture into a 9-inch pie dish and set aside.

Remove the dough from the refriger-ator. If it looks streaky, roll it out into an oblong shape and fold it in three once again. Roll it out to a piece 1-inch larger than the top of the pie dish. With a sharp knife, cut a -inch strip around the dough. Dampen the rim of the dish with water and press the dough strip on to the rim. With a pastry brush dipped in water, lightly moisten the strip.

Using the rolling pin, lift the dough on to the dish. With a knife, trim the dough and, with your fingers, crimp the edges to seal them to the strip already on the dish. With a sharp knife, cut a fairly large cross in the centre of the dough.

With a pastry brush, coat the surface of the dough with the beaten egg.

Place the pic in the oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

Remove the pie from the oven and serve at once.

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