All thats changed now but as the saying goes...'you can take the girl out of Wigan but you can't....'
Here is my recipe for individual steak and ale pies and (unusually for me) I'm dedicating this recipe to my aunty and uncle (Irene and Eddie), now living in Northamptonshire but they did once live in Wigan for a spell. When I was a young student (not in Wigan I might add) living away from home they were very kind to me...and I know they are my family and it sort of goes with the territory, but I remember very fondly the times I spent with them and their daughters, occasionally cooking some meals in their flat at the time...
Beef skirt is best for this recipe as it makes a fabulous gravy...you might need to get this from your local butcher as its not a cut of meat you see in a lot of supermarkets. Its not an expensive cut of beef but probably snaffled for other uses.
for the filling
500g skirt beef
a glug of olive oil
sea salt and black pepper
2 carrots peeled/sliced
1 onion chopped
1 stick celery chopped
1 bottle of dark ale (I used one brewed near to me from a local micro brewery) or use a dark ale or an Irish stout is good
2 tsp cornflour + cold water
for the pastry tops
1 quantity of homemade rough puff pastry OR
a packet of fresh puff pastry
beaten egg to glaze the pies
This will make between 4 and 6 pies, depending on dish size and generosity of the cook.
1. Start well in advance with making the filling and I make mine the day before if I can as this allows the flavours to develop. You want it to be quite cold by the time you assemble the pies. You will need a lidded casserole dish to make the filling in.
3. Add the bottle of ale and bring to a simmer on the hob. Put the lid on the casserole and put in the oven at 170C fan for about an hour and a half, or until the meat is tender.
4. Remove the casserole from the oven and taste and add more seasoning if needed. If you wan to thicken the gravy with some cornflour (about 2tsp) mixed with cold water. Leave the filling to cool.
5. When the filling is cool spoon into the individual greased edged pie dishes (be generous, there is nothing worse than a mean pie!).
6. If you have been a domestic goddess and made your own pastry it'll have been made and rested by now and will be ready to go. Otherwise open the packet of puff pastry and roll it out on a floured board/worktop. Pre heat the oven to bake the pies to 180C fan.
8. Bake the pies for about 30-40 minutes, depends how brown you like them. Serve with other veggies.
With love to Aunty Irene and Uncle Eddie. xxx