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 kg beef brisket, cut into 5cm pieces
- For dusting: seasoned plain flour
- 145 ml olive oil
- 2 each onions, carrots and celery stalks, finely diced
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 375 ml red wine
- 1 litre (4 cups) beef stock
- 3 thyme sprigs
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 20 gm butter, softened
- 1 tbsp plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 egg, lightly beaten, for eggwash
- 150 gm aged Cheddar, coarsely grated
- To serve: green salad
Sour cream pastry
- 330 gm plain flour
- 125 gm cold butter, coarsely chopped
- 100 gm sour cream
- 1For 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).
- 2Dust 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).
- 3Remove 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).
- 4Meanwhile, 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).
- 5Meanwhile, roll larger disc of pastry into a 32cm-diameter circle and line a 23cm buttered and floured pie plate. Refrigerate until chilled (20 minutes).
- 6Brush 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).
- 7Meanwhile, 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.