British Pie Week is here again and this slow cooked brisket pie with a puff pastry is just the ticket, especially given the cold snap we’ve experienced the last few days. The filling can be made in advance if you don’t have time to make these beauties all the way through on the same day. If you want to bake the pastry on the pie dish, just make sure the filling is cold and bake the whole thing from cold to prevent the pastry melting before it’s risen and baked. You can also do as I did here and bake the pastry lids separately, placing them on a bowl of piping hot filling right at the end. Some people might say this isn’t a pie as the pastry wasn’t cooked on the dish. My view is that if you have a juicy and flavourful filling, and a flaky puff pastry lid – what’s not to lose yourself in when you taste the first bite?!
This pie is made using brisket bought from my local butchers. I cut the strings and cut the 1.5 kilo piece it into 4 equal size pieces. They were smoked initially to give them a hint of smokey barbecue goodness, before being transferred to the dutch oven for the long and slow cook. Brisket is a working muscle with coarse muscle texture and lots of connective tissue. To achieve the best result with this cut of meat it requires a lower, slower cook in a moist atmosphere. Cooking it in a Dutch oven with reduced red wine, stock and passata is just the ticket!
- 1.5kg brisket
- 2 tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil
- 2 sticks celery, diced
- 2 medium carrots, washed and diced
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 200ml red wine
- 6 sprigs of thyme
- 5 bay leaves
- 500ml beef stock
- 750ml passata
- 1 pkt ready rolled puff pastry
- 1 egg, beaten
- Preheat your grill for 180c indirect heat, and place your Dutch oven towards the direct heat source. Close the lid and open the vents as appropriate.
- Drizzle the rapeseed oil in the dutch oven and add the celery, carrot and onion. Place the brisket pieces over the area of indirect heat and if using charcoal or gas, add a handful of soaked hickory wood chips to the coals or smoker box. Close the lid and smoke for 20-30 minutes or until the vegetable trio has softened down. You will have to lift the lid every 5 minutes or so just to stir the vegetables, but try to do this as quickly as possible and replace the lid to keep the heat and smoke in the grill.
- Once the vegetables have softened, add the red wine, and close the lid. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the volume of the wine has reduced by half.
- Add the stock, passata, herbs and brisket pieces to the pan and replace the lid on the Dutch oven. Reduce the heat to 150c and reposition the Dutch oven to the area of indirect heat.
- Close the barbecue lid and cook for 5 hours or until the meat has reached 95c core temperature when tested using a digital temperature probe.
- With the filling cooked, remove the Dutch oven from the grill and rest for an hour. Using 2 forks fish the 4 pieces of brisket to the surface and shred them. Mix the shredded beef into the pie filling and replace the lid to keep warm.
- Unroll the puff pastry and cut out 4 lids using your pie dishes as templates. I used a 400ml ovenproof bowl with a 5 inch diamater. Use a sharp knife to cut around the lids and discard the remnants. Use the parchment to inter-leaf the pastry discs and return to the fridge for 20 minutes to chill down.
- Preheat the BBQ for 200c indirect heat and place the pastry discs on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush each one with a little beaten egg wash before placing the tray on the barbecue in the area of indirect heat.
- Close the lid and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry discs are light, crispy, and baked underneath when you lift them to take a look. No soggy bottoms here!!
- Heat 4 serving bowls in the BBQ before dividing the pie filling evenly and placing a pastry lid atop each one. Serve with with creamy mash potato, steamed carrots and greens.