After not having beef since hubby’s shoulder roast birthday dinner, I was in the mood for some red meat. I don’t frequently eat red meat or beef for that matter. After reviewing various steak pie recipes, I decided to recreate my own version. I suppose it’s fair to concur that my creation resembles a goulash. I initially did not have the intention of making a goulash pie. In fact, I borrowed this recipe from a beef bourguignon recipe published in one of my cook books I owned. I used peppers instead of mushrooms. And I spiced it up with a bit of paprika. But the first key secret lies in the quality of the beef you use. For this low fat steak pie recipe, I’ve used a package of cubed beef cheeks that I purchased at my local supermarket. What I love about them is that they respond exceptionally well to long slow braising – each piece is tender and moist and basically melts in the mouth when you eat it. You can also use other lean braising cuts such as chuck. This lean beef is a great source of complete protein. Whenever the body is growing, repairing or replacing tissue, protein is involved. Protein also helps to nourish and support a healthy immune system. The beef is also a good source of iron that helps to transport oxygen in the blood. Red wine is rich in polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that includes resveratrol which helps protect cell membranes as well as having anti-inflammatory properties. I’ve used lots of peppers and onion as well as a bit of corn flour dissolved in water that helps to thicken as well as flavor the chili sauce that adds that special touch and marries perfectly with the red wine used in the recipe. This steak pie is not complete without a pie crust. There are several options for pie crust you can use. You can use delicious wholemeal spelt and olive oil crust as well as a gluten free almond and sesame crust. I created my own pie crust using thin sheets of lard-free phyllo pastry dough.
For this recipe, you will need:
- 2 lbs of beef cheeks or chuck trimmed and cut into large chunks
- 1 large onion sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic minced
- Few sprigs of thyme
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground pepper
- 3 bell peppers chopped
- 3-4 tomatoes peeled, seeded and sliced
- 1 large sweet chili pepper chopped
- 200 grams of mushrooms (optional)
- 1 cup of frozen carrot pea mixture
- 1 1/2 cup of red wine
- 2 cups of beef broth or water
- 1/3 cup of chili sauce
- 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a sauce pan over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic, peppers, peas & carrots, and mushrooms. Fry slowly until soft and golden brown – this will give your sauce a depth of flavor. Add the paprika, thyme, ground pepper and coriander. Fry the spices with the vegetables for 2 minutes. Then add the tomatoes to the spiced vegetable mixture. Cook for 10 minutes. In the meantime, sprinkle corn starch over meat chunks. Using a large pan, brown the meat in two batches, stirring occasionally. It is crucial not to dump all the meat in there at once. If you do that, the meat will steam instead of searing and dinner guests will see you for the fraud you are. Then pour in red wine, allowing it to bubble away for 3 minutes. Use this time to stir off any bits of meat that may have stuck to the bottom of the pan while frying, as these will add more flavor. Add the vegetables, the beef stock, chili sauce and then turn down to a lower heat. Cover the pan with a lid and let the mixture simmer for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place 8 sheets of phyllo on a dry work surface. Lay a deep pie dish in the center of each and, using a sharp knife, cut out a circle 5cm wider than the dish. When you’re finished, cover the eight phyllo circles with a clean, slightly damp tea towel, to prevent the pastry from drying out. Wet the rim of the dish with water and cover the meat with the pre-cut phyllo pastry lid. Press the pastry against the sides of the pie dish. Bake in the oven for 30 – 40 minutes or until golden brown.
Yields 6 servings