Little beef and mushroom pies
Pies made in mini muffin tins are always a great hit. You can fill them with any manner of things - finely snipped bacon and beaten eggs and chives, Thai chicken green curry, flaked smoked fish in a cheesy white sauce or, in this case, a beef and mushroom braise. The amount of filling required for each pie is miniscule so make sure it is very tasty and well seasoned. You will only need a generous teaspoon-full to fill each pastry case.
- Spray or brush your mini muffin trays with oil. Refrigerate the trays.
- Cut circles with an appropriate sized cookie cutter from sheets of puff pastry - 24 to make your bases and 24 to make your tops. Refrigerate the pastry discs.
- Finely dice 500g of beef, finely slice 10 button mushrooms, finely dice half a medium onion and crush 2 cloves of garlic.
- Saute the onion and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter to soften. Add the beef and toss to colour. Add the mushrooms, stir altogether and pour in a cup of beef stock and a cup of red wine.
- Season well, add a small sprig of fresh rosemary and simmer until the beef is tender. If the mix is still quite runny, thicken with a little cornflour mixed in cold water.
- Remove the rosemary sprig and allow beef mixture to cool.
- Take the chilled muffin trays and pastry from the fridge.
- When the pastry has softened a little, press the bases into each indentation. Using a cork is a gentle way to do this.
- Dice up the cold beef and mushroom mix so that it is almost shredded.
- Fill the pastry cups, place the pastry tops on the pies, make a hole with a skewer in the middle of the top, brush with egg and decorate with some cracked pepper or a couple of rosemary leaves. 1
- Put into a moderate oven and cook. Serve warm with your favourite sauce or chutney.