This is a comforting and wholesome dish ideal for a family gathering. You can make individual portions, but here we like making one large version into which everyone can dig in. The marrow bone adds ﬂavour but it’s also for the aesthetic as it peeks out the top of the pastry. Change the beer used depending on the season – use porter in the winter, red ale in the autumn and lager in the summer. Chicken stock instead of beef will also lighten it up.
Serves 4 to 6
- 20g butter, salted
- Olive oil
- 900g shin beef, cut into cubes
- 25g plain ﬂour
- 2 onions, thinly sliced
- 2 carrots, diced roughly
- 1 celery, peeled and chopped
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato purée
- 200ml Trouble Brewing Irish Porter or O’Hara’s Irish stout
- 200ml beef stock
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 marrow bone
- 1kg plain ﬂour
- 500g suet
- 750ml water
- Heat the butter and a little olive oil in a heavy based casserole dish. Coat the meat in flour, then add to the melted butter, brown on all sides and set aside.
- Add onions, carrots and celery to the casserole and sweat to a slightly golden colour.
- Next, add the Worcestershire sauce, tomato purée, porter ale, beef stock and sugar.
- Season and bring to a gentle simmer. Now, add the beef and place in a moderately hot oven (170ºC/gas mark 3) with a lid and cook for two hours until the meat is tender.
- To make the pastry, blend all ingredients in a mixer on pulse so as not to overwork. Place on a flat surface and knead to finish. If making individual pies, form a ball, cut into four and wrap separated in clingfilm. If making one large pie, simply form into one large ball wrapped in clingfilm. Allow to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes, then take out and roll on a dry ﬂoured surface to 4mm thickness.
- Next, remove the lid from the casserole and cook for a further 30 minutes to reduce the sauce or liquor.
- To finish, place the marrow bone in the middle of the dish and place the rolled lid of suet pastry over the top. Egg wash the edges so that they stick to the dish. Make a hole in the pastry for the bone and steam to come out during cooking (this will happen naturally as the pastry cooks). Egg wash the pastry evenly to get a good, golden colour.
- Return to the oven for 25 minutes. Serve with new season potatoes and green veg.
Tip: Use a good shortcrust pastry made with butter instead of the suet pastry if preferred. Avoid puff pastry, it doesn’t work as well for this dish.
Recipe credit: Ryan Stringer
Photography credit: Harry Weir