When it comes to a tasty pie, it's what's inside that counts - and the filling in this pie is in another league. All you need is a quick salad and Sunday lunch is served.
600g beef cheeks
salt and pepper
60ml olive oil
2 carrots, roughly chopped
½ brown onion, sliced
½ garlic head
250ml Pedro Ximenez sherry
250ml red wine
2 bay leaves1
½ tbsp thyme leaves
½ tsp salt
5 large field mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 egg, beaten
For the pastry:
375g plain flour
375g self-raising flour
170ml extra virgin olive oil
170ml fino sherry
Trim the cheeks of sinew and silver skin and season. Cook the cheeks in a hot pan with half the oil for two minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from the pan and set aside. Wipe out the pan, return to medium-high heat and heat the remaining oil.
Cook the carrot, onion and unpeeled garlic for 10-12 mins or until well browned. Stir in the sherry, wine, bay leaves, thyme, salt and 250ml water. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to low, add the cheeks, cover with a lid and cook for 3-4 hours or until the meat begins to fall apart. Remove cheeks and set aside to cool.
Strain the cooking liquid, discarding the vegetables, then return to the pan and reduce to a glaze-like thickness. Shred the cheeks into a bowl and mix in enough glaze to coat the meat, about 100ml. Set aside and cover.
To make the pastry, sift the flours with a pinch of salt. Add the oil and sherry to the flour and mix until a soft dough forms. Briefly knead until it comes together and is elastic. Cover and leave at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Divide the dough in half and line a 34x26-centimetre baking tray with paper.
Roll one pastry piece out to three millimetres thick, line the tray with it and rest for 30 minutes. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Allow to cool in the tray, roll out the other piece of pastry to the same thickness for the top and rest for 10 minutes.
To assemble the pie, spoon the beef cheek mixture into the base pastry and lay the sliced mushrooms over it.
Cover with the pastry lid, allowing a little extra for shrinkage. Press along the edges to seal.
Brush the top with the egg and bake for 35 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Cool slightly then cut and serve.
* Once you have shredded the soft cheeks and folded a little of the rich sauce through, you can pack and freeze it for later use.
* If you can't get beef cheeks try diced boneless chuck. It may take a bit less time to cook.