Shin of beef is one of the less expensive cuts, one of the tastiest, and, if cooked slowly one of the most meltingly tender. I like to keep the additional flavours simple and let the delicious beef flavour shine through. You can also add some sliced or diced carrot at the same time as you add the onion, it will give the pie a lovely sweetness.
Buy the beef off the bone and cut it into large chunks before tossing in plain flour. The flour coating will help thicken it to a wonderfully sticky gravy.
This recipe makes 1 large, 4 very generously sized individual pies or 6 smaller.
800g shin of beef
1 large onion, finely chopped
Half bottle of Guinness
Half pint of fresh beef stock,
1 1/2 tbsp plain flour
A little oil to brown the meat
Salt and pepper
Large pack of all butter puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten
Heat some oil over a moderate heat and brown the flour coated meat on both sides, a little at a time removing it to a bowl after each batch has browned.
When all the meat has been removed to the bowl, add the chopped onion and cook until soft. Add the meat from the bowl back into the pan and stir together with the onions.
Add the ale and stock to the pan and bring up to the boil, turn down to a very low, barely bubbling heat and simmer for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Taste and season then leave to cool.
Pre-heat the oven to 210C
Roll out the pastry and cut shapes to cover your pie dishes (I used gratin dishes). Add the meat to the pie dishes and cover with the pastry, leave a little over the edge to allow for shrinkage. Brush each pie with beaten egg and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and risen.