Beef and chestnut suetcrust pie

    1 hour 35 min

    This is a warming dish for the cold weather months, rich with lean beef, celeriac, chestnuts and shallots. The suetcrust pastry lid is flavoured with herbs, and breadcrumbs are added for a light, crumbly texture so the pie is not heavy to eat. For extra vitamins serve with lightly cooked spinach.

    7 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 1 quantity Herbed suetcrust pastry (see recipe on this site), made with breadcrumbs replacing 30 g (1 oz) of the flour
    • Beef and chestnut filling
    • 12 small shallots
    • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 300 g (10½ oz) lean braising steak, trimmed of fat and cut into 2.5 cm (1 in) cubes
    • 400 g (14 oz) celeriac, finely diced
    • 360 ml (12 fl oz) beef or vegetable stock
    • 1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
    • 200 g (7 oz) vacuum-packed, peeled whole chestnuts
    • 1 tbsp plain flour
    • 15 g (½ oz) butter, softened
    • salt and pepper

    Prep:1hr  ›  Cook:35min  ›  Ready in:1hr35min 

    1. To make the filling, place the shallots in a heatproof bowl, pour over boiling water to cover and leave for 5 minutes. Drain and, when cool enough to handle, peel the shallots.
    2. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan or flameproof casserole, add the beef and cook over a moderate heat for 4–5 minutes or until browned all over. Remove from the pan to a plate using a draining spoon.
    3. Add the shallots to the pan and cook for 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the celeriac and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, then return the beef to the pan. Stir in the stock and redcurrant jelly. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 45 minutes or until the beef is tender, stirring frequently.
    4. Using a draining spoon, transfer the beef and vegetables to a 1.2 litre (2 pint) pie dish. Stir in the chestnuts. Set aside.
    5. Blend the flour with the butter to make a paste (beurre manié). Stir the paste, a little at a time, into the cooking liquid in the pan and simmer, stirring constantly, until the liquid thickens. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then pour this sauce over the beef mixture in the pie dish. Leave to cool while preparing the suetcrust lid (see separate recipe on this site).
    6. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4). Roll out the suetcrust dough on a lightly floured work surface to a round or oval to fit the top of the pie dish. Dampen the rim of the dish with water, then lay the dough gently over the top. Press firmly to the rim of the dish to seal. Use a fork to make a decorative edge.
    7. Cut 3 small slits in the centre of the pastry lid, to allow steam to escape, then bake for 30–35 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot.

    Another idea

    For a minced beef and lentil suetcrust pie, cook 200 g (7 oz) lean minced beef, without any added fat, over a moderate heat until well browned. Add 1 large onion, 3 carrots and 3 celery sticks, all finely chopped, and cook, stirring frequently, for a further 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in 1 can chopped tomatoes, about 400 g, with the juice, 100 g (3½ oz) split red lentils, 360 ml (12 fl oz) beef or vegetable stock and 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 40 minutes, stirring frequently, until thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cool, then pour into the pie dish. Make the suetcrust pastry dough with breadcrumbs, as for the main recipe, but instead of herbs flavour with 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard added to the water. Use the dough to cover the pie and bake as in the main recipe. This is delicious with steamed spring greens and carrots.

    Plus points

    Beef is an excellent source of protein and iron. Iron from red meat is absorbed by the body much more efficiently than iron from vegetable sources. * Chestnuts have a higher starchy carbohydrate content and a much lower fat content than other nuts. As a result they are also lower in calories. * Suet is the fat from around lamb's or beef kidneys, which has been shredded and floured. It contains less saturated fat and more monounsaturated fat than butter.

    Each serving provides

    B12, zinc * B1, B6, C, niacin, calcium, copper, iron, potassium * B6, E, folate, selenium

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    Reviews in English (3)


    Used different ingredients. I topped this pie with shortcrust pastry, I also added a small glass of port to the Beef filling, I served it with boiled new potatoes & apple with red cabbage oven cooked in apple juice, with a dash of balsamic vinegar,  -  08 Dec 2009


    The meat did take a little longer to cook until tender, but worth the wait!! Absolutely delicious, I will serve this again  -  08 Dec 2009


     -  08 Dec 2009