March 17th is St Patrick’s Day; the perfect opportunity to join in the craic and a chance to decorate your house in all things Irish in celebration of the Emerald Isle. Watch England play Ireland at rugby, dance like Michael Flatley or toast the occasion with a pint of Guinness. If you are hosting a get-together for friends, try out this delicious savoury beef and oyster pie recipe from Mark Hix: perfect for serving to a hungry crowd.
St Patrick’s Day Pie Recipe
- 1kg trimmed flank or shin of beef
- 3 tbsp plain flour
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- vegetable oil for frying
- 30g butter
- 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
- 1 tsp tomato purée
- 200ml dark ale, such as Hix Oyster Ale or Guinness
- 1.5 litres hot beef stock
- 1 tsp chopped thyme leaves
- 1 small bay leaf
- 1–2 tsp cornflour (if needed)
- 12 large oysters, 8 shucked, 4 left in the half-shell
For the pastry
- 225g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 tsp salt
- 85g shredded beef suet
- 60g butter, chilled and coarsely grated
- 1 free-range medium egg, beaten, to glaze
For the parsley crust
- a generous knob of butter
- 2 tbsp fresh white breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- Cut the meat roughly into 3cm cubes. Season half of the flour with salt and pepper and use to lightly flour the meat. Heat a little oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan and fry the meat in 2 or 3 batches over a high heat until nicely browned. Set aside on a plate.
- Melt the butter in a large, heavy-based pan or flameproof casserole and fry the onion and garlic for a few minutes until lightly coloured. Add the remaining flour and tomato purée. Stir over a low heat for a minute or so, then slowly add the ale and hot stock, stirring to avoid lumps forming.
- Add the beef with the thyme and bay leaf. Bring back to a simmer, cover and simmer very gently (ideally using a heat-diffuser mat or a simmer plate) for about 2 hours until the meat is tender. When the meat is cooked, the sauce should have thickened to a gravy-like consistency. If not, mix a little cornflour to a paste with 1 tbsp water, stir into the sauce and simmer, stirring, for a few minutes. Leave to cool.
- To make the pastry, mix the flour, salt, suet and butter together in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Mix in enough water (about 150ml) to form a smooth dough and knead for a minute.
- Spoon the cooled filling into 4 individual pie dishes (or a large dish) to about 1cm from the rim. Roll the pastry out on a floured surface to a 7–8 mm thickness. Cut out 4 discs to make pie lids (or one large lid for a big pie), about 2cm larger all round than the pie dish(es). Brush the edges of the pastry with a little of the beaten egg.
- Lay the pastry over the filling, pressing the egg-washed sides onto the rim of the dish(es). Cut a 2cm hole in the centre but leave the pastry circle in position. Let rest in a cool place for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Brush the pie(s) with beaten egg and bake for 30–35 minutes (or 40–50 minutes for a large one) until the pastry is golden. Meanwhile, for the parsley crust, melt the butter in a pan, mix in the breadcrumbs and parsley, and season with salt and pepper.
- Once the pie(s) are ready, remove the pastry disc(s) in the centre and pop in the shucked oysters. Return to the oven for 10 minutes. In the meantime, heat the grill. Scatter the parsley crust over the oysters in their half-shell and grill until golden. Place over the hole in the pie and serve.
Recipe from HIX OYSTER & CHOP HOUSE by MARK HIX, published by Quadrille (£25, hardback)
Photos ©JASON LOWE