This no-nonsense recipe is one of my favouite pies. I use chuck steak (often sold as braising steak) which has lots of flavour, and two types of potato: a floury variety, which falls apart and thickens the gravy, and a waxier type that holds its shape to provide texture.
Serves 4 Cook 30-40 minutes
For the suet crust
375g self-raising flour
175g shredded beef suet
About 250ml very cold water
For the filling
2 large onions, chopped
700g chuck steak (braising steak), cut into 4-5cm chunks
400g waxy potatoes, such as Estima or Maris Peer, peeled and cut into 4cm chunks
400g floury potatoes, such as King Edward, peeled and cut into 4cm chuncks
Salt and pepper
1.2 litre pie dish
1. First make the filling. Put the onions and steak in a large pan. Add enough water to just cover them and bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid, reduce the heat and simmer very gently for 1½ hours.
2. Add the potatoes to the pan, along with some salt and pepper, and cook for a further 30-35 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and the meat is tender. The gravy should be nicely thickened by the potatoes. Check the seasoning.
3. Pour off 300-600ml of liquid from the pan – enough to leave the filling nicely moist but not swimming in liquid – and save this to serve as gravy with the pie. Transfer the filling to a 1.2 litre pie dish and leave to cool completely.
4. Heat your oven to 200°C/gas6.
5. To make the suet pastry, combine the flour and suet in a large bowl with some salt and pepper. Add most of the water and mix to a soft, slightly sticky dough with one hand, adding more water as needed. Leave to stand for 5 minutes.
6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to around 7-8mm thickness. Cut a 2cm wide strip of pastry. Dampen the rim of the pie dish with water. Stick the pastry strip onto the rim and dampen this too. Lay the sheet of pastry on top. Press down the edges to seal and crimp or flute them, trimming off excess pastry.
7. Bake the pie for 30-40 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Leave to stand for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Taken from Paul Hollywood’s Pies & Puds, published by Bloomsbury
Photograph © Peter Cassidy