Cow Pie

Cow Pie by La belle dame sans souci
Cow Pie, a photo by La belle dame sans souci on Flickr.

Well, ox cheek pie actually, but I think that a small allusion to Desperate Dan is OK here.

Ox cheeks are one of those cheap cuts that are finding favour with both home cooks and restaurant chefs nowadays.

The meat is quite unprepossessing in appearance, to be honest, it has a lot of connective tissue and white, sinewy-looking bits, but with some care and long cooking this all turns into jelly and the finished meat is rich and unctuous.

I coated the cubed and roughly trimmed meat in flour and sealed in in hot oil in batches. Then, once all the meat was browned and the pan empty, i added some leeks and carrots, cut on the bias, and fried them a bit before returning the meat to the pan, together with some dried mushrooms, a glug of Lea and Perrin’s, some tomato purée, some thyme stems and a bottle of Belgian Amber beer.

I cooked this for a bit and added in about 500ml of beef stock (I used a cube), tasted for seasoning and brought to boiling point before reducing the heat to low and simmering for about three hours.

I stirred the dish occasionally and once the thyme leaves had fallen off of the stem, I removed the twiggy bits.

At the end of the cooking period, the sauce was much reduced and thick, with a rich flavour.

I allowed this to cook while I made some suet pastry. I used 200g of suet and 400g of self-raising flour, with enough cold water to make a smooth dough.

I used this to line an oiled pie dish, with enough left over for a lid.

The pie was decorated, as in the photo, and glazed with egg. Then it was baked in a Gas Mark 6 oven for about 50 minutes, until golden.

I served the pie with creamy mashed potatoes, green beans and a cauliflower gratin, made with one of those green fractal cauliflowers.


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