At this time of year, it’s very pleasing to be able to hunker down and hibernate, which makes slow cooking all the more appealing!
Particularly in the colder months, cheap cuts of meat really come into their own; these guides from the BBC Good Food website are a really helpful guide to understanding all the cuts of your cow, sheep and pig and give you an idea of how to cook them!
(Links via the images below which are all taken from this BBC Good Food page)
At the weekend, I found a half kilo of beef shin (bought from the clearance section for £3) lurking away in the freezer, so after defrosting it thoroughly, it was ready to be slowly cooked! I also had a sheet of shortcrust pastry in the freezer so obviously a pie was going to be made!
After getting some inspiration from Jamie Oliver (he adds pearl barley and stout to his beef shin pie, which I’m tempted to try next time), I went hunting to see what else could be used up in the pie. I had a couple of carrots and 2 chunky parsnips, and about a teaspoon or two of frozen thyme leaves. This could well become my new winter pie favourite recipe (and if you don’t have any pastry, this could easily be adapted to a stew served over mash or with green veg and crusty bread to mop up all of that thick meat gravy.
- 1.5 tbsp olive oil
- 500g beef shin
- flour to coat
- salt and pepper
- 2 red onions, finely chopped
- 1-2 teaspoons of fresh thyme
- 200g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon of tomato puree
- 300ml red wine
- 300ml hot beef stock
- root vegetables (500g total chopped weight, I used a mix of carrots and parsnips)
- 1 sheet of shortcrust pastry (you could use puff if you prefer)
- beaten egg, to glaze
- Dice your beef shin into medium chunks (or if buying from the butcher, ask them to dice it for you) and coat with a sprinkle of plain flour, and season with salt and pepper
- Heat your olive oil in a flat bottomed large pan on a medium heat, then add the beef chunks and brown on all sides - this could take up to 8-10 minutes. Remove from the pan and leave on a plate.
- Add your chopped onion to the pan and stir around to coat in the leftover oil/meat juices.Saute on a medium heat until soft and almost transculent.
- Sprinkle over the thyme leaves and stir around, so that it's mixed in with the onion. Add in the chopped tomatoes and puree, hot beef stock and red wine, and bring to the boil until the liquid has reduced by a third.
- Add your beef back into the pan, and cover. Simmer on the lowest possible heat for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes to ensure that the mixture doesn't stick to the pan.
- After the hour has passed, add in your chopped root vegetables and cover the pan again, keep on a barely simmering heat for another 30 minutes. You shouldn't need to stir the pan this time, but halfway through, preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
- After 30 minutes, put your meat and veg mix into a pie dish and cover with the shortcrust pastry. Glaze your pastry with beaten egg, and cook in the oven for 30 minutes. By this time the pastry should be golden brown and be flaky.