braised beef cheek and green peppercorn pies
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 4 x 150g beef cheeks, trimmed
- sea salt and cracked black pepper
- 6 eschalots (French shallots), halved
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ¼ cup (60ml) vincotto
- 1 litre chicken stock
- 1 sprig bay leaves (about 6 leaves)
- 1 tablespoon green peppercorns in brine, plus 2 tablespoons brining liquid
- ⅓ cup (80ml) single (pouring) cream
- 1 cup curly parsley leaves, chopped
- 2 x 375g sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon single (pouring) cream, extra
- Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Heat the oil in a large heavy-based ovenproof saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle the beef with salt and pepper and cook for 3–4 minutes each side or until well browned. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the eschalot to the pan and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes. Add the tomato paste and vincotto and cook for 2 minutes. Add the stock and bay leaves and return the beef to the pan. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and transfer to the oven. Cook for 1 hour 30 minutes or until the beef is tender.
- Remove the beef from the liquid and set aside. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Place the liquid over high heat, bring to the boil and cook for 12–15 minutes or until reduced. Shred the beef and return to the pan with the peppercorns, brining liquid, cream and parsley. Stir to combine and set aside.
- Increase the oven temperature to 220°C (425°F). Lightly grease a 24cm round (1.25L-capacity) pie dish and line with 1 sheet of the pastry, trimming the edges. Fill with the beef mixture. Place the egg and extra cream in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Brush the edge of the pie with a little of the egg mixture and top with the remaining pastry. Trim, crimp the edges with the handle of a spoon and brush the pastry with the egg mixture. Cut 3 x 4cm petals from the excess pastry, arrange on the pie and brush with the egg mixture. Cut a small cross in the centre of the pie and place on an oven tray. Cook for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C (350°F) and cook for a further 20 minutes. Stand for 5 minutes before serving. Serves 6–8
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