We've gone a little crazy with our pastry here and cooked it separately as nests to place on the pies after they're cooked. If you prefer a more traditional presentation, cut rounds of pastry to cover the pies. The bacon rinds add great flavour and a lip-smacking texture to the sauce thanks to the gelatine in the pork skin. We pop leftover rinds in the freezer so they're on hand for dishes such as this.
- 2 tbsp rendered beef fat (see note) or grapeseed oil
- 1.1 kg beef oyster blade, fat trimmed and cut into 8 cm pieces
- Seasoned plain flour, for dusting
- 8 bacon rinds (see above), coarsely chopped
- 250 ml (1 cup) red wine
- 350 ml veal stock
- 1 tsp thyme, plus extra to serve
- 100 gm wood-ear mushrooms, torn into bite-sized pieces (see note)
- 375 gm shortcrust pastry, preferably sour cream shortcrust (see note), cut into 8mm strips and refrigerated until required (1 sheet)
- 1Preheat oven to 150C. Heat fat or oil in a casserole over medium-high heat, dust beef in seasoned flour, shake off excess and fry beef, turning occasionally, until browned (4-6 minutes). Remove from pan and set aside. Add rind to casserole, stir until fat renders and rind starts to crisp (2-4 minutes), then add onion and stir until softened and golden (3-5 minutes). Deglaze casserole with wine and simmer until reduced by half (3-5 minutes), then add stock and thyme, and bring to a simmer. Return beef to casserole, season to taste, cover, transfer to oven and cook until beef is very tender (2-2¼ hours). Add mushrooms, cover and return to oven, until tender (5 minutes). Set aside to cool, then spoon off excess fat.
- 2Preheat oven to 200C and use a serving bowl to trace 4 circles on a sheet of baking paper and place it on a baking tray. Remove beef from sauce and coarsely shred, stir back into sauce, then divide filling among 4 ovenproof serving bowls. Loosely arrange pastry strips inside each circle to form a round nest, then place in oven along with bowls of beef on a separate oven tray and cook until beef mixture is hot and pastry is crisp and golden on the base (10-15 minutes). Top each bowl with a pastry nest, scatter with extra thyme and serve.
For beef fat, render the trim from the oyster blade in a small pan; otherwise use grapeseed oil. Wood-ear mushrooms are available from select greengrocers. We use Carême Sour Cream Shortcrust Pastry, which comes in 375gm sheets.
Drink Suggestion: Full-bodied red such as durif. Drink suggestion by Max Allen.