Grassfed Beef Rib Pie
750 g beef ribs (keep the ribs for the marrow and also decorating the pie)
2 brown onions, diced
2 x 400 g tins tomatoes
3 bay leaves
3 thyme sprigs
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup beer
salt and freshly ground black pepper
500 g plain flour
100 g butter, diced
150 g lard (or more butter), diced
thyme leaves or sprigs
salad and relish
1: Preheat the oven to 150C.
Cut the meat off the ribs, then cut into small chunks. Heat a little grapeseed oil in a large flameproof casserole dish over medium heat, add the beef and brown on all sides. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Add the onion to the dish and cook, covered, over low heat until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally.
2: Return the beef to the dish (ribs too) and add the tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, garlic, beer and enough water to cover the meat and bones. Cover and cook gently in the oven (or on the stovetop over low heat) for 3 hours or until the beef is so tender it falls apart easily and the liquid has reduced and thickened into a delicious sauce. Season to taste. Allow to cool slightly, then remove the bones and reserve them for decorating the pie.
3: Meanwhile, make your pastry (you’ll need to allow time to let it rest). Place the flour on a clean work surface, add the butter and lard and rub with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Work fast as you don’t want to melt the butter. (The idea is to coat the flour with the butter, which will help prevent the gluten from being activated when the liquid is added. If you overwork the flour and activate the gluten, your pastry will be chewy instead of short and flaky.) Add 1/2 cup water and work with your hands until it comes together in a smooth ball, adding a little more water if needed. Wrap in cling wrap and let the pastry rest for a least 1 hour.
4: Preheat the oven to 180C.
Roll out half the dough between two sheets of baking paper and use it to line your pie dish. Add the beef mixture (minus the bones). Roll out the remaining the pastry the same way and cover the pie filling. Poke the bones into the pastry, then brush with milk and scatter over some salt and fresh thyme. Bake for 45 minutes or until the pastry is golden and cooked through. Serve with salad and some homemade relish.
You can make the beef filling a few days before you need it – just make sure you reheat it before putting it in the pie.
I met Karl from Australian Grass Fed Beef in the car park of a local coffee house in Stanthorpe, Queensland. He handed me some of the most incredible grass-fed beef and, pleased as punch, I drove off into the sunset. It was a dream to cook with – the flavour was other worldly. Knowing that this came from a family that prides itself on raising and feeding the cows ethically was enough to sell me.