Apologies to vegetarians, but this wonderful dish was cooked regularly by my Granny. On a Friday evening we would all arrive at Granny and Grandad’s house in Levenshulme, in Manchester and at tea time we would cram together around the small dining room table – often propped up on all sorts of improvised chairs. And then Granny would bring out this tasty pie.
It is simple, but needs to be made with love and patience. It tastes of happiness.
Ingredients for filling
1 large onion
500g of braising steak
1 pint of beef stock
Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees C (Gas mark 4). Cook onion gently in lard until translucent. Increase heat and cook meat that has been cut up into smallish pieces until nicely caramelised. Add beef stock, bay leaf, thyme and parsley, season and then transfer to oven.
Chop up carrots into small pieces and potatoes into fairly small lumps (similar size to meat pieces). After meat has cooked for 30 minutes add the carrots and potatoes to the pan. Cook for a further hour and 30 minutes or until meat is tender.
When filling is ready fill pie dish and cover with short crust pastry. Cook for a further half hour until pastry is ready.
Ingredients for pastry
220g Plain flour
50g of lard
50g of butter
Serve with red cabbage or baked beans.
After eating all go out to the pub. At least that’s what we all used to do.
Chop up and gently fry a large onion until translucent, add fresh chilli (or powder would do, but add it early on and don’t over heat). Add chopped garlic and then a chopped bell pepper and again fry but not to brownness, just to take the crispness out. Add a can of tomatoes, salt and pepper and cook very slowly.
You can also add chopped pickled jalapeno peppers and tomato sauce or a very a little sugar. You can also add chicken stock. The main thing is to taste it and neither over-cook it at the beginning nor rush the simmering – the slower and longer the better.
Towards the end add chopped fresh (the green leaves not the brown seeds) coriander (you can live without this but it really gives it the authentic Mexican feel).
This can be used as an accompaniment to tacos, tortillas or fajitas or it can be used to cover baked enchiladas. A little sugar or ketchup can help – but only a little.
Oh yes – and of course – lots of lemon or lime juice really helps.