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Pie & Mash

So Here's What To Do

For the filling, heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat and fry the onion until soft. Add the mince and fry gently, stirring to break up the meat, until lightly browned. Mix in the flour and stir until thick, then gradually add the beef stock and beer to make a thick gravy. Season with salt and pepper and simmer gently for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool before assembling the pies.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas mark 4. Butter 4 individual pie dishes as well.

For the pastry lid, sift the flour and salt together into a large bowl and rub in the butter and lard using your fingertips, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add enough water to bind the pastry and knead lightly until smooth. Roll out the pastry to a 2mm thickness and cut around the upturned pie dishes to make 4 lids for the pies.

For the pastry case, sift the flour into a large bowl and add the suet. Season and stir, then mix in the water to form a moist dough. Roll out to a 2mm thickness. Upturn the pie dishes on the suet pastry and cut the pastry 5cm larger all round than the dish.

Line the pie dishes with the suet pastry and spoon in the cooled meat filling. Brush the exposed pastry rim with a little water and position the pastry lids over the filling. Trim and gently pinch the two pastries together to seal. Brush the tops with a little egg glaze.

Stand the pie dishes in a roasting tin and poor enough boiling water into the tin to come halfway up the side of the dishes. (Using a bain-marie ensures the suet pastry steams and the tops bake evenly.) Bake the pies for 20 to 30 minutes until the pastry lids are golden brown.

Meanwhile, for the gravy, melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and cook, stirring, for a minute. Gradually stir in the stock, then add the parsley and vinegar and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Serve the pies with gravy and some mashed potato.