Brisket is by far the best cut of beef to use here because the
flavour is so intense. The sour cream pastry is very versatile; it
works a treat with sweet fillings as well.
1.8 kgbeef brisket, cut into 5cm piecesFor dusting:seasoned plain flour145 mlolive oil2 eachonions, carrots and celery stalks, finely diced1 tbspred wine vinegar375 mlred wine1 litre(4 cups) beef stock3thyme sprigs2fresh bay leaves20 gmbutter, softened1 tbspplain flour, plus extra for dusting1egg, lightly beaten, for eggwash150 gmaged Cheddar, coarsely gratedTo serve:green saladSour cream pastry330 gmplain flour125 gmcold butter, coarsely chopped100 gmsour cream
For sour cream pastry, process flour, butter and a pinch of salt until fine crumbs form. Add sour cream, process until dough comes together, lightly knead on a lightly floured work surface, then shape two-thirds of dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, repeat with remaining dough and refrigerate until chilled (1 hour).
Dust beef with seasoned flour in a bowl, shaking off excess. Heat 60ml oil in a casserole over medium-high heat, add half the beef, turn occasionally until brown (5 minutes). Transfer to a plate, repeat with 60ml oil and remaining beef, scraping base of pan occasionally. Add remaining oil and vegetables, stir occasionally until soft (8-10 minutes). Transfer vegetables to a plate, drain excess fat, then deglaze casserole with vinegar, add wine and cook until reduced by half (5 minutes). Return beef and vegetables to casserole with stock and herbs, bring to the boil, reduce heat to low-medium, cook until beef is tender (2 hours).
Remove beef, vegetables and herbs, draining them of as much liquid as possible, set aside. Reduce braising liquid over medium-high heat by three-quarters (20-30 minutes).
Meanwhile, mix butter and flour in a small bowl until a paste forms. Add butter mixture to sauce, whisking occasionally until thick (2-4 minutes), then return meat and vegetables to sauce (discard herbs). Set aside to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled and set (2 hours).
Meanwhile, roll larger disc of pastry into a 32cm-diameter circle and line a 23cm buttered and floured pie plate. Refrigerate until chilled (20 minutes).
Brush base and edges of pie with eggwash, spoon in beef mixture, smooth top and cover with an even layer of Cheddar. Roll remaining pastry on a lightly floured work surface, cover top of pie. Trim edges, press with a fork to seal, then cut a small hole in the centre and freeze pie until chilled (1 hour).
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 220C. Brush top of pie with remaining eggwash and decorate with excess pastry, if desired, brushing top with more eggwash. Bake until golden and cooked through (30-40 minutes). Serve immediately with a green salad.