Slow-cooked beef short rib and mushroom pies

Makes 8 Starters and mains

11 15 17 Annie Rigg D6 Beefrib 012


For the filling

  • 15g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 whole garlic bulb
  • 75g diced pancetta
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1.25kg beef short ribs (around 4 pieces)
  • 500ml beef stock
  • 200ml red wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1-2tsp aged balsamic vinegar
  • 125g chestnut button mushrooms
  • 75g chanterelle mushrooms
  • 25g unsalted butter

For the puff pastry

  • 500g unsalted butter, chilled
  • 300g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 200g strong white flour
  • 2 medium egg yolks, plus 2 extra eggs, beaten, for glazing
  • 1tsp lemon juice or white wine vinegar


To make the filling, soak the dried porcini in 150ml boiling water for 10 minutes to soften and rehydrate. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Wrap the whole garlic bulb in foil and roast in the oven for 30 minutes untilthe cloves are tender. Squeeze out the roasted flesh from the skins and mix to a purée, then set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 140C/275F/Gas 1.

While the garlic is roasting, tip the pancetta into a large, solid, lidded flameproof casserole, add half the olive oil and set the pan over a low-to-medium heat. Add the onions and cook with the pancetta for around 10 minutes until the onions are soft and just starting to caramelise at the edges. Add the sliced garlicto the casserole and cook for a further 1 minute.

Drain the porcini, reserving the soaking liquid. Add the porcini to the onion mixture and fry for
a minute or so.

In a large frying pan, heat the remaining olive oil until very hot, season the beef ribs, add to the pan and brown well on all sides. Transfer the ribs to the casserole, add the porcini soaking liquid, stock and red wine. Add the bay leaf and thyme, season well with salt and black pepper and bring slowly to the boil. Stir to combine, cover with a lid and cook in the middle of the oven for 2 hours.

To make the pastry, dice 100g of the chilled butter. Combine both flours in a mixing bowl, add a pinch salt and the diced butter and rub in using your fingers until the butter has been well incorporated into the flour.

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, add the egg yolks, 200ml ice-cold water and the lemon juice and mix using a round-bladed knife. Bring the dough together, adding up to 4tbsp more ice-cold water if needed, but do not allow the dough to get too sticky. Gather the dough into a ball, flatten into a neat rectangle, cover with cling film and chill for 1 hour.

Lightly dust the work surface with plain flour and roll the dough out into a rectangle 3 times as long as it is wide and with one of the short sides closest to you. Place the remaining butter between 2 sheets of baking parchment and use a rolling pin to flatten it into a neat square slightly smaller than one-third of the pastry rectangle. Place the butter on the middle third of the pastry rectangle and fold the bottom third up over it, brush off excess flour and fold the top third down so the butter is completely encased. Turn the square 90 degrees clockwise, dust the surface and rolling pin with more flour, and roll out the pastry again into a neat rectangle of similar size as before. Use short, sharp tapping and rolling actions rather than long sweeping rolls, and use your hands to keep the pastry as neat as possible as you roll it out. In the same way as you folded the dough before, fold the bottom third of the rectangle up over the middle third and the top third down, brushing off excess flour each time. Turn the square 90 degrees clockwise, wrap in cling film and, keeping the square flat and in the same rotation, chill for 1 hour.

Dust the work surface with flour and roll the dough out again into the same-sized rectangle, keeping the sides and ends as neat as possible. Fold the dough up as before, turn the square 90 degrees clockwise, and repeat this roll and fold. Cover with cling film, keeping the square in the same position, and chill again for another hour.

Repeat this rolling and folding a further 2 times, rolling the dough and folding in the same manner and turning it 90 degrees clockwise between each fold. Chill again, then roll the dough out one more time so that you have rolled the dough 6 times in total. Keep a note of the number of roll and folds that you do. Leave the pastry, covered and chilled, for at least 2 hours before using.

Stir the contents of the casserole, cover and return to the oven for a further 21⁄2 hours until the meat is really tender and falling off the bone. Remove the beef rib bones and herbs and pour the contents of the casserole into a colander set over a large bowl to catch the cooking liquor. Leave the cooking liquor to settle for 20 minutes or so and for excess fat to rise to the top. Look over the beef and pick out and remove any pieces of gristle or tendon, then lightly shred the meat.

Carefully spoon off the excess fat and pour the cooking liquor back into the casserole, bring
to the boil over a medium-to- high heat and continue to cook until reduced to 400ml. Add the balsamic vinegar to taste, and more seasoning as needed.

Meanwhile, trim the chestnut mushrooms, thinly slice and brush any grit from the chanterelles. Meltthe butter in a frying pan, add the chestnut mushrooms, season well
and cook until tender and starting to brown. Add the chanterelles and cook until tender. Add to the beef and mix to combine. When cold, cover and chill until needed. Lightly dust the work surface with flour and divide the pastry into 8 even pieces.

Take one piece of pastry and cut into two – one piece slightly larger than the other. Roll the
smaller piece out to a thickness of around 2mm and, using a saucer or small bowl as a guide, cut out a disc with a diameter of 16cm. Roll the larger piece out and cut out an 18cm round. Repeat withthe remaining 7 pieces of pastry. Lay the smaller pastry rounds on the work surface and spread the middle of each with a little roasted garlic purée. Spoon the beef filling into the middle of each round, leaving a border of 1cm all around.

Brush the edges with water and lay the larger pastry rounds on top, pressing around the edges to seal. Using a small,sharp knife, ‘knock up’ the cut sides of the pastry – hold the
knife blade horizontally to the cut edges and make small tapping cuts all round, which helps the pastry layers to separate into delicate flakes. Transfer the pies to baking sheets lined with baking parchment and chill for at least 20 minutes or until ready to bake.

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Crimp the edges of each pie, brush with beaten egg and,using a wooden skewer, make a small steam hole in the top of each one. Using the point
of a small, sharp knife, score a decorative pattern onto each pie, cutting into but not through the pastry. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the filling is piping hot and the pastry is puffed, crisp and golden brown. Serve hot.

Recipes and photographs taken from Pies & Tarts for All Seasons by Annie Rigg, photography by Nasso,a Rothacker (Quadrille, £22).
11 15 17 Annie Rigg D6 Beefrib 012
Recipes and photographs taken from Pies & Tarts for All Seasons by Annie Rigg, photography by Nasso,a Rothacker (Quadrille, £22).


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