4 kgbeef short ribs (about 4 pieces), bones and excess fat removed, cut into 3cm cubes50 gm (1/3 cup)plain flour60 ml (¼ cup)olive oil1onion, diced8garlic cloves, bruised375 mlred wine500 ml (2 cups)beef stockFor greasing:butter30 gmStilton, coarsely crumbledFor brushing:eggwashFor scattering:thyme and sea saltSuet pastry150 gm (1 cup)“00” flour150 gm (1 cup)plain flour, plus extra for dustingLarge pinchbaking powder100 gm (1 cup)cleaned and finely grated suet (see note)
Preheat oven to 120C. Toss beef in flour, shake off excess, season to taste with salt. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large frying pan over high heat, add beef, in batches, and fry until browned on all sides (4-6 minutes). Transfer beef to a casserole, then wipe pan clean with absorbent paper, add remaining oil, onion and garlic and sauté until translucent (3-5 minutes). Deglaze pan with wine, scraping bottom of pan, and add to casserole with stock. Bring to the boil over medium-high heat, cover with a lid and braise in oven until beef is tender (2½-3 hours). Remove beef from cooking liquid with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl. Skim fat from cooking liquid (discard fat), then transfer 100ml to beef to keep moist (discard remaining). Season beef mixture to taste, then refrigerate until chilled (1-2 hours).
Meanwhile, for suet pastry, place dry ingredients and 1¼ tsp salt in the bowl of an electric mixer and freeze until well-chilled, then beat with a paddle attachment for 1 minute. Add suet and 120ml iced water, a little at a time, until the dough just comes together (do not overwork pastry). Wrap in plastic wrap, refrigerate until chilled (4 hours). Divide three-quarters of the pastry into 8 pieces, roll onto a well-floured surface to 4mm-thick rounds and place in a single layer on a tray lined with baking paper. Divide remaining pastry into 8 pieces and roll to 3mm-thick rounds and place on a separate tray lined with baking paper. Refrigerate, covered, until chilled (1 hour).
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180C. Line 8 buttered, straight-sided 185ml ramekins or 5cm-deep, 7.5cm-diameter metal ring moulds (see note) with larger pastry rounds, allowing pastry to overhang sides. Place on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Half-fill each with half the beef mixture, then add half the Stilton, top with remaining beef mixture and finish with remaining Stilton. Brush edges of pastry with eggwash, then top with remaining pastry rounds, crimping edges to seal. Brush tops with eggwash, scatter with thyme and sea salt, bake until golden (30-40 minutes). Carefully turn pies out of moulds and cook until sides are golden (10-15 minutes). Serve hot.
Note Suet is available from select butchers, but may need to be ordered in advance. Metal ring moulds are available from specialist kitchenware shops.
This recipe is from the June 2010 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.