Years ago when Mr GP and I were just married, we watched a cooking show called “The Best”*. It was a really entertaining show where three chefs/cooks – Paul Merrett, Silvana Franco and Ben O’Donoghue – competed to cook the best version of a particular topic: like ‘spicy chicken’ or ‘chocolate pudding’.
We bought the slim book that accompanied the series, which unlike some other TV tie-ins contains every recipe from the show, and have cooked, I think, a larger proportion of the recipes than any other cookbook I own.
There was often some amusing tension between food writer Silvana and professional chefs Paul and Ben about her shortcuts, but unsurprisingly, many of her recipes are the ones I’ve cooked the most.
This pie is ridiculously easy, and the unusual but delicious addition of pickled onions and redcurrant or other fruit jelly, creates a sauce that tastes much more complex than the simple ingredients would suggest.
If you want to cook this on the same night you eat it it’s certainly doable, as the filling needs to cook for an hour but has very little hands on time. The easiest way though, is to cook the filling on the weekend or simmer it one evening after another meal, and then reheat, top with the pastry and bake when ready to eat. The version pictured above has some leftover cooked potato, peas, and carrot added just before baking.
*I have to add here that while the name fits the show, it’s a really difficult name to find information about – absolutely everything is ‘the best’ online – if I could find it I’d recommend you watch! Instead, I’ll post a few more of my favourites from the book over coming months.
Silvana’s lazy steak and onion pie
Adapted from Silvana Franco’s recipe in ‘The Best’ cookbook
- 4 rashers streaky bacon
- 3 Tbs flour
- 750g diced chuck (stewing) steak
- 750ml red wine
- approx 450g jar pickled onions
- 2 heaped Tbs redcurrant, or similar, jelly
- 2 sprigs thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 sheets butter puff pastry
Roughly chop bacon, and add to a large casserole dish. Place over medium heat, and cook until the bacon releases its fat and starts to brown. Add a little olive oil if there isn’t enough bacon fat to properly fry.
Add flour plus a big pinch of salt and grinding of pepper to the bag with the meat, and shake well until the steak is coated. Increase heat under the pan and add the steak, shaking and turning every few minutes until browned.
Add the red wine, drained and rinsed onions, jelly and thyme. Stir well, scraping and mixing in browned bits off the bottom of the pan, and bring to the boil. Mostly cover with a lid, reduce heat to low, and simmer until steak is tender and sauce thickened – about an hour or a little more.
The filling can be cooled and stored in the fridge at this point. When ready to serve, reheat the filling, then put in a large pie dish or shallow casserole – you could also make four individual pies. Defrost the pastry, and put two sheets together by brushing edges with milk and overlapping to enable you to cover the dish. Press pastry onto the edge of the dish to seal, and trim or fold. Brush with milk and bake at 200C for about 20 minutes until crisp and golden.
You can also freeze unbaked, and bake from frozen, it will take about an extra 15 minutes.
If you don’t add vegetables to the pie, mashed potato and peas make a great accompaniment.