Easy-Peasy Pie and Mash

This lovely little recipe comes courtesy of my Gran (also lovely), who does a great line in recipes that are delicious AND stress-free. Although there’s a long cooking time involved, the actual effort required takes minutes, and the end product tastes fabulous – tender meat that falls apart on your fork, and scrumptious pastry that’s flaky and golden on top, and soaked with rich, gooey gravy underneath.

About 500g beef or lamb
1 onion
2 big handfuls of button mushrooms
3 tablespoons of gravy powder
2 tablespoons of plain flour
Salt and black pepper
1 250g slab of puff pastry (it usually comes in a pack of two, so freeze the other one for next time)
A splash of milk, to glaze the top of the pie
To make the mash: a couple of potatoes, butter, crème fraiche, salt and pepper
Peas, to serve

Serves 4-6. Adjust quantities of mash & peas to suit.

Preheat the oven to about 180C. To prepare your pie filling, pop the gravy powder and flour in a bowl with a good sprinkle of salt and black pepper, and a bit of dried rosemary. Chop the onion, mushrooms and meat (I used lamb, because I just love lamb, but you could easily use beef if you fancy keeping things a bit more traditional), and then add them to the bowl and stir really well to coat everything in the mixture. Pop all of this in your pie dish. Next, pour in enough cold water to just cover the ingredients (don’t drown them), and then stick the whole thing in the oven. Leave it for at least two hours, or longer if you can.
About half an hour before you want to eat, roll out your puff pastry until it’s big enough to cover your dish with a bit of an overhang. Whip the dish out of the oven and carefully lay your pastry lid on top. If you happen to have a ‘pie bird’ (a little hollow ceramic bird that sits inside with its beak poking out – it has a hole to allow steam to escape from inside the pie) then go ahead and use it, but I’ve never gotten around to buying one and it all seems to work fine without. The puff pastry rises up in a glorious golden cloud and looks spectacularly over-the-top – don’t be afraid when this happens, it’s all okay inside! Brush the top of the pastry with a little bit of milk, and then stick the pie back in for half an hour.
Now is the perfect time to sort out your mash. Click here to visit my How To page, for the secrets to delicious mash. Serve up a big slice of pie with plenty of fluffy mash to soak up the gravy, and a generous helping of peas to up the green factor, and wash it all down with a glass of red. Gorgeous.