Mike’s pie (beef + red wine)

My husband is a firm believer that a pie shouldn’t have any ‘bits’ in it. ‘Bits’ include carrot, celery, and god forbid, corn. In his eyes, if a pie contains any of these, it is no longer a pie. It has become a quiche. That’s why he loves this pie so much – no ‘bits’, just lots of beef and bacon in a rich red wine sauce.

You can use store bought pastry, but honestly this pastry is so easy to make, and it tastes soooo good. Make the filling the day before, it gives the flavours a chance to intensify. You can also play it fast and loose with the pie ingredients – add more bacon, more tomato paste, etc, whatever your tastes prefer.

For the filling


750g beef, cut into cubes (blade steak is good)
2 tablespoons flour
1 onion, roughly chopped
6 rashers bacon, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¾c red wine
¾c beef stock
250g button mushrooms, quartered
2 bay leaves
fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme etc)

oil, for cooking ( I use rice bran oil)


Preheat your oven to 160°C.
Toss the beef with the 2 tablespoons of flour and season well. I put it in a plastic bag and shake it.
Heat some oil in an ovenproof casserole dish (I use a Le Creuset) and quickly brown the beef over a high heat. Do this is batches so the dish doesn’t get overcrowded and you stew the meat. Set aside. (Don’t worry if bits stick to the bottom – these are little flavor bombs and will get stirred up  later.)

Turn the heat down to medium. In the same dish (you might need to add a bit more oil), add the onion, bacon and garlic and cook for a few minutes, until the onion has softened.
Add the tomato paste and Dijon mustard and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
Add the red wine and beef stock and stir so all of those lovely crunchy bits stuck to the bottom lift up.
Gently add the beef back in, and then the mushrooms and bay leaves. Stir so it’s all combined. Season well.
I just throw whatever herbs I have on top. Bring to the boil, then cover and cook for 1 hour, until the beef is tender.

Cool completely before using in the pie.

oven ready

For the pastry


250g butter, cut into cubes, cold
2½c flour
¾ teaspoon salt
ice water (around ½c)

*one egg (for the wash)


In the bowl of a food processor, add the butter, flour and salt and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

With the food processor running on a low speed, slowly drizzle in water until the dough starts to clump together.

pastry 4

Tip out onto a floured surface and gently bring it together. Split the dough into two portions, one a bit bigger than the other, flatten them into discs and wrap each one in Gladwrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

pastry 3

To assemble

Preheat the oven to 190°C and set aside a 10″ pie dish.
On a floured surface, gently roll out the bigger of the pastry portions. It needs to be big enough to overlap the sides of your pie dish.
Gently lift the dough onto your pie dish and nestle it in. There’s no need to grease your dish, the butter will do its job!
Spoon your cold pie mixture evenly onto the base.

filling in pie

In a small bowl, whisk the egg and then using a pastry brush, gently brush egg all around the rim of the pie. This will help the lid to stick on. Set aside.
Roll out the remaining piece of dough and gently place it on top of the filling. Make sure it’s sealed, then carefully cut off the excess dough, or you can gently run the rolling pin over the edges and then pull off the excess dough.
If you’re going to cut any decorations out of the excess dough, do it now, and then stick them on with a bit of beaten egg.

raw pie

Brush the whole pie with beaten egg then refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Bake for 50 minutes, or until the pie is golden brown.

whole pie


  • Chilling the pie before baking keeps the pastry nice and cold, so when you bake it, it doesn’t lose any of it’s flakiness.

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