Now for a warming Sunday dinner. This is not a pie you can pull together midweek – this is pie that needs time, although not attention, and so slots in nicely between mounds of washing and blasts of vacuuming. This makes enough for 2- 4 people depending on appetites.
First the filling. Fry 60g of smoked bacon lardons in a frying pan in a small amount of sunflower oil til coloured and releasing fat into the pan. Scope out and set aside. Finely slice 2 shallots and then fry them in the bacon fat til soft. Then add to the bacon. Coat 600g of cubed stewing beef in 2tbsp of seasoned flour. Add a bit more oil to the pan and fry the beef in batches until brown. Put all the meat mix into a clean pan.
Take a 500ml bottle of Guinness. Add a splash to the frying pan to deglaze it. Then add this to the meat mix along with the rest of the Guinness, a splash of Worcester sauce, 2 bay leaves and 2 sprigs of thyme. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and cover.
Leave on a low heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours (more won’t hurt it) until the beef is tender. Thickly slice 250g of chestnut mushrooms and add them to the pan. Cook for another 30-45 minutes. Remove the filling with a slotted spoon and reduce the remaining liquor by about a third – you want a thick sauce that just covers the meat. Put a teaspoon of cornflour into a mug and add some of the liquor a teaspoon at a time to form a thick paste. Return to the pan and boil stirring vigorously until the liquor thickens. Add 1 – 2 tablespoons of redcurrant jelly (to taste) and season. Return the meat to the pan, stir and leave to cool.
Cube 75g of butter and 35g of lard. Add to 225g of plain flour and a pinch of salt in a food processor. Blitz until breadcrumb in texture. Then add a tablespoon of water at a time until it starts to come together and then bring together with you hands. Chill for 30mins.
Split into 1/3 and 2/3. Roll out the larger piece and line the bottom of the pie dish. Add the cold filling. Roll out the lid and then put on top of the pie filling. Crimp the edge and trim. Chill the pie for 30 mins.
Turn the oven onto 180C and preheat a baking tray. Decorate the pie and put a couple of slashes into it before washing with beaten egg. Put the pie tin onto the baking tray and bake for 45min til the pastry is golden and the filling piping hot.