Merthyr pie

Merthyr pie
  • Serves icon Serves 6
  • Time icon Hands-on time 35 min, oven time 5 hours

Stephen Terry’s dish, made to represent Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales, tops slow-cooked beef shin with cheesy bread fried in goose fat.

Nutrition: per serving

Calories
712kcals
Fat
42.7g (21.1g saturated)
Protein
50.3g
Carbohydrates
29.7g (5.4g sugars)
Fibre
3.8g
Salt
1.8g
Calories
712kcals
Fat
42.7g (21.1g saturated)
Protein
50.3g
Carbohydrates
29.7g (5.4g sugars)
Fibre
3.8g
Salt
1.8g

Ingredients

For the beef layers

  • 1kg beef shin off the bone or 1.5kg on the bone
  • 2 medium carrots, halved
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 2 celery sticks, halved
  • 1 small garlic bulb, halved
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig

For the bread and cheese layers

  • 150g beef dripping
  • 8 thick slices good bread, preferably sourdough
  • 3-4 tbsp dijon or English mustard
  • 150g Hafod Welsh cheddar (or other good cheddar), grated

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 140°C/120°C fan/gas 1. Put the beef shin in a lidded ovenproof casserole with the vegetables and herbs. Pour over water until it comes three quarters of the way up the dish. Cut out a piece of baking paper to sit snugly on top of the beef and liquid, then put on the lid.
  2. Put in the oven and cook for about 5 hours until the meat falls apart when tested with a fork. When cooked, remove the beef and veg from the cooking liquid, set aside and allow to cool. Bubble the liquid on the hob to reduce by one third, then reserve.
  3. Meanwhile, for the bread and cheese layers, heat a third of the dripping (see tip) in a large frying pan and fry a few slices of the bread for a couple of minutes each side until golden, but not fried all the way through. Repeat with the remaining dripping and bread.
  4. Spread the fried bread with the mustard. Roughly flake the beef shin, discarding the bone if there is one. Chop the cooked vegetables and squeeze the garlic out of its skin. Increase the oven temperature to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4.
  5. Start constructing the pie. Put a third of the fried bread in the bottom of the dish, sprinkle with a third of the cheese, then add half the beef, chopped veg and garlic. Season well and repeat the process, then finish with a final layer of bread and cheese. There should be 3 bread and cheese layers and 2 beef layers.
  6. Gently pour over 200-250ml of the reserved stock (the bread should be nicely wet without drowning) and bake for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is bubbling. Leave to stand for 5 minutes. Serve with seasonal veg.

delicious. tips

  1. Beef dripping is wonderful but it does have a strong smell. If you prefer, use sunflower oil in step 3. Make sure it’s really hot so it doesn’t soak into the bread too much.

  2. Construct the pie up to the end of step 5, then keep covered in the fridge, along with the stock in a separate bowl, for up to 24 hours. Bring the dish back up to room temperature and reheat the stock to continue with the recipe.

  3. A piece of baking paper over the surface of a casserole as it cooks prevents the dish from drying out and is known as a cartouche. Run the cut paper under the tap first to make it pliable, then lay it on the surface as in step 1.

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  1. This dish was utterly divine! So rich and tasty and the bread was delicious! You didn’t notice the cheese so much but the bread tasted like fluffy dumplings with horseradish (the mustard) with a chewy crust, even more so next day! I did add a little extra thyme, couple of sprigs of rosemary and a dash of Worcestershire sauce as I was unsure how flavoursome it would be and it was lush! Definitely a keeper.

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