These pies are best eaten on the day they are made. If you have more pies than you need, freeze them in sealed freezer bags for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat in an oven preheated to 180C (350F) for 20-25 minutes.
2 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour
600 g (1 lb 5 oz) chuck steak, cut into 1 cm (½ inch) pieces
60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) olive oil
4 brown onions, thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon caster (superfine) sugar
125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) red wine
500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) beef stock
200 g (7 oz) Swiss brown mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
1 quantity shortcrust pastry
1 egg, lightly whisked
1. Place the flour in a large bowl and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the beef, toss to coat in the flour and shake off any excess.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large heavy-based flameproof casserole over medium-high heat. Add half the beef and cook, turning often, for 5 minutes or until browned all over. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining beef, adding a little extra oil if necessary.
3. Heat half the remaining oil in the casserole. Add the onions, carrot and celery and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and sugar and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
4. Add the wine and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes or until slightly reduced. Return the beef to the casserole with the stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Uncover and cook for a further 1 hour or until the meat is very tender and the liquid has thickened.
5. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes or until browned all over. Add to the beef mixture and stir to combine. Transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature.
6. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Divide the pastry into 2 portions, one twice as big as the other. Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out the smaller portion of pastry on a lightly floured work surface until 3 mm ( 1/8 inch) thick. Use the top of an 11 cm (4¼ inch) (top diameter), 7.5 cm (3 inch) (base diameter) pie tin to cut 4 rounds from the pastry.
7. Divide the larger portion of pastry into 4 equal portions and roll each out on a lightly floured work surface, taking care not to overwork the dough or it will become too soft, into a 15 cm (6 inch) diameter round. Carefully ease each round into a pie tin, using your fingertips to press them into the base and side. Roll the rolling pin over the tops of the tins to trim the excess pastry.
8. Divide the beef mixture among the pastry-lined tins. Brush the top edges of the pastry with a little egg. Place the smaller pastry rounds on top to cover the beef mixture and use a lightly floured fork to press the edges together. Use a small sharp knife to make 2 slits in the top of each pastry lid. Brush the tops lightly with egg and bake for 40 minutes or until golden. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly, then remove from the tins. Serve hot.