A pot - pie is the best of both worlds, with a moist and delicious stew in a baking dish and a covering of pastry. This is a perfect slow cooked stew for a cooler winter night, using an old favoured technique of cooking plum or quince with red meats.
2 tablespoons plain flour
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
600 gm organic chuck steak - roughly diced, quite large
2 - 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium brown onions, peeled and thinly sliced
350 gm swiss brown mushrooms - small, but open
1 ½ tablespoons mirin
3 tablespoons approx red wine
1 teaspoon tamari
1 – 1 ½ cups chicken, beef, lamb or vegetable stock
2 cloves garlic - roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
2 – 3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 x recipe Shortcrust Pastry
Place the flour together with a little pepper and salt, into a medium size bowl. Add the meat and mix around to cover.
Heat 2 - 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large heavy – based saucepan - I like to use a 24 or 26cm French Oven.
When hot, but not smoking, add the meat. Take care not to overcrowd the meat which will make it stew - it may need to be done in batches. Keep the heat fairly high allowing the meat to brown - turning it after a minute or so.
When the meat has browned on both sides (2 - 3 mins in total), reduce the heat and add the onions and mushrooms, and give it a bit of a stir, scraping some of the bits sticking on the bottom.
After 3 - 4 mins add the mirin, red wine and tamari allowing it to sizzle and reduce, stirring and lifting all the good stuff sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Turn down the heat and add the garlic, bay leaves and thyme and enough stock to very barely cover - no more than 1 ½ cups. Stir through and add 1 tablespoon quince paste, mashing this into the liquid. Cover and cook over a very gentle heat for approx 60 mins, then remove lid.
Continue to cook over a very low heat encouraging only very gentle simmer until the liquid is nice and thick, approx 30 - 40 mins, stirring every now and then. Check for taste - it may need a little more quince paste or tamari, if so add.
Place in an ovenproof baking dish, top with pastry and bake in a hot (190c or 180c if fan forced) oven until the pastry is golden.