It seems that every week is designated National This-That-And-Of-Other Week, mostly I ignore them, but I can get behind British Pie week, which this year is held from the 3rd – 9th March. My inner geek longs for it to run to the 14th March – 3/14 – or 3.14 being the mathematical pi, sadly it was not to be – and Pi Day works far better with the American method of formatting dates where the month precedes the date.
I’ve long been a fan of Le Creuset; their cast iron casseroles are a kitchen classic – I had one at university and it is still going strong, most often used now for cooking rice on the hob. Such was my love for a rich, delicious slow cooked casserole that one of my housemates, in an alcohol fuelled fit of zeal wrote “Helly’s Casserole Cupboard” on the oven door in marker pen. It caused much mirth, until the time came to move out at the end of the year, and we set about cleaning the house and found the writing almost indelible.
As well as the classic casserole Le Creuset also have a wide range of stoneware and pie birds. The new pie dishes are both deep – more filling, and have a narrower topping area – to both retain moisture and ensure a crisp topping. The bird both holds the pastry up and allows steam to escape.
Due to not being in London, and the vagaries of Parcel Force in the Cotswolds my new Le Creuset pie dish and bird did not appear in time for my pie making, but, fortunately such is the appeal of Le Creuset, Ed’s sister had one of their pie dishes in her kitchen cupboard as well as a casserole in the classic volcanic orange colour.
I was taught to make puff pastry at school in Domestic Science – as it was called in the days prior to Home Economics – and have only made it once since. Life is too short and I usually buy both ready made and ready rolled. My preferred brand is Jus Rol – they do an all butter in the gold packaging, and a diary free (and vegan) in the green packet. It is an indispensable product for topping pies, or making tarts with.
Love Ox cheeks? Check out this 60 minute version!
Recipe: Ox Cheek Pie for British Pie Week
- Beef dripping or goose fat
- 2 medium onions – roughly diced
- 2 carrots – roughly diced
- 1 clove garlic
- 800 g Ox cheeks – cut into 3 – 4 cm chunks (or stewing steak)
- 1 glass red wine
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 1 mug beef stock
- Salt & pepper
- 1 sheet ready rolled puff pastry
- Add the fat or dripping to a casserole dish and fry the the onion, carrots and garlic in the dripping or goose fat; when soft transfer to a plate.
- Cube the ox cheeks into bite-sized pieces and seal a few at a time, transferring to the plate once browned.
- Whilst the last batch of beef is frying add a little extra fat to the frying pan – we used goose fat – and add a tablespoon of plain flour and cook for a few minutes before adding back the onion, carrot, garlic and the rest of the meat.
- Add the wine, top up with water until the top of the meat is just covered and add beef stock cube.
- Season with salt and pepper, cook in a medium oven (170C / GM3) with the lid on for 2 hours.
- If the filling needs thickening, put a teaspoon or two of cornflour into a small bowl, then add a few spoons of the gravy, mix well and return to the casserole. (Never thicken by adding cornflour directly to the casserole as you will never get the lumps out.) Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Transfer the filling to a pie dish, place a pie bird in the middle, wet the edges of the dish, then cover with a sheet of puff pastry with a hole cut for the bird. If you do not have a pie bird use an upturned egg cup, and make a few small holes in the pastry to allow the steam to escape.
- Decorate the top of the pie with the leftover scrapes of pastry, and brush with a beaten egg. Return to the oven and bake at 220C / GM7 for about 40 minutes until the pastry has risen and is golden brown.
Happy National Pie Week! What pie will you be serving?
Fuss Free Flavours received products and a supermarket voucher from Le Creuset to cover the cost of ingredients, and well as product vouchers from Jus Rol. All opinions are our own and we were not required to write a positive review.
What a beautifully crimped pie, I can still the the pattern on the finished dish! I, like you have has le Creuset for years and all mine are in the volcanic orange, and will continue to be when I get myself one of those lovely pie dishes. I also adore ox cheeks, great pie filing choice.
Thank you Laura! Of course it being puff we shouldn’t have crimped it!
Jude - A Trifle Rushed
What a gorgeous pie, I love slowly cooked ox cheeks. Like Ed’s sister ( & Laura) I have a pile of volcanic orange Le Creuset, you can’t beat the classics can you?
Things have moved on in school cookery, it’s now called Food Tech! (Lottie takes food tech once a fortnight, they’re working on breakfasts this term, smoothies, porridge & muffins… I think we’ll have to wait a few more years for pastry!)
If everyone was taught to cook at school, and given a copy of Jack Monroe’s book then as a nation we would be better fed and healthier. I have a feeling the modern day food tech teaches stuff like how to design packaging?
What a gorgeous pie, I’ve never had ox cheek before so must put that right! I also have a big soft spot for the pie bird which reminds me of my English grandmother, I need one of those:-)
Thank you Camilla. I adore my pie bird. He is sitting on my desk at the moment.
Camilla, I have collected one or two bird pie funnels from car boot sales etc one of which I believe was designed by the now famous Clarice Cliff in the 1930’s. They can be found quite readily if you keep your eyes peeled!.. Great recipe this one, must admit never cooked ox cheek.
Mmmmmmmm Pie week – how did this go unnoticed by me?! I shall definitely be making a pie for the boys at the weekend. I always keep some pie filling in the freezer made with leftover roast meat so I can whip one up in a flash with ready rolled pastry. I love your pie bird – I must get one.
There is still time to make up for the lack of pie this week Katie!
Sarah, Maison Cupcake
Gorgeous pie! I don’t see ox cheeks on sale that often but would love to try this.
Mine were from Donald Russell. I think it is a matter of ordering them from your local butcher.
My hubby has fallen in love with this pie.
I am delighted Heather!
Thank you for letting me know!
Ian Morrison (O/W)
I cooked 2 good sized cheeks at 95 deg C all day yesterday with the usual seasoning in a covered casserole then swithced the grill on for 20 min. Had with lots of watercress and parsnip fries (chop coarsley, microwave 10 mins then fry off in pan).
They were great but we could only finish one cheek so after reviewing your recipe I’m going to make the other one into a pie.
So there you are.
My dear Mum used to cook her pie filling (usually st + kid) separately from the pastry then stick them together just before serving. Nobody knew!
That sounds so amazing – thanks for sharing