Beef shin and oyster pie
- 600g/1lb 5oz beef shin
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 500ml/17fl oz porter beer
- 400ml/14fl oz beef stock
- 3 bay leaves
- 4 thyme sprigs, plus extra leaves to scatter
- 1 marrow bone, 6–8cm/2½–3in long (optional)
- 8 fresh oysters, shucked (optional)
- 375g/13oz ready-rolled puff pastry
- 1 free-range egg, beaten
- sea salt and black pepper
Cut the beef shin into bite-sized pieces. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan (with a tight-fitting lid) over a medium–high heat. Add the beef in batches and brown on all sides for 4–6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
Add the carrot and onion to the pan and fry over a medium heat for 6–8 minutes, or until beginning to soften. Add the garlic and cook for 2–3 minutes until aromatic. Return the browned beef to the pan and add the flour, stirring well. Add the beer, stock, bay leaves, thyme sprigs, a teaspoon of salt and a good grinding of black pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to very low, cover with the lid and simmer gently for 3–3½ hours, by which time the beef shin should be meltingly tender and the sauce thick and viscous. (Alternatively, you can cook the beef in a pressure cooker on high pressure for 50–60 minutes until tender, then simmer on the hob for a few minutes to reduce the sauce.)
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.
Sit the marrow bone (if using) upright in a 1.5 litre/2½ pint pie dish. Spoon in the beef and sauce and lay the oysters on top, if using. Place the puff pastry sheet on top, making a hole to accommodate the marrow bone, and press around the edge of the pastry to seal it to the dish, then trim the edge using a sharp knife. Brush the pastry with beaten egg and season with a little salt, pepper and a few more thyme leaves.
Bake for 30–35 minutes until the pastry is risen, crisp and golden. Serve immediately.
Pippa made a buttery suet pastry in her pie, but in this simplified recipe we use ready-made puff pastry.