We knew that, with just the three of us eating from a 1kg piece of Silverside, there would be plenty of leftovers. So, rather than use the remainder in (albeit delicious) sandwiches, I thought we'd do something a bit more useful and make a pie.
There was a good five or six slices left - and the smaller offcuts - so I had plenty of beef and didn't need to pad the filling out with lots of veggies. So for all that it is called a "Silverside & Mushroom Pie", it was in fact a beef, onion & mushroom pie.
Now anyone who has been following this blog for a while, will know that I've had something of a chequered history with pies. The big problem, it would seem, is that I rarely get the sauce/gravy consistency right. It is either too thin, or too thick. Too much, or not enough.
I was determined, with this pie, to get it right.
As such, I'd made sure that hubby kept any leftover gravy and stock from braising the beef the day before - so I had a great base to start with.
I kicked off proceedings by cooking two sliced onions until they were soft and golden - just starting to caramelise and deliver that lovely fried onion flavour. I then added the mushrooms and quickly cooked them - not completely - but enough that they obtained a hint of colour.
Next, in went yesterday's gravy and the gravy that the sliced meat had sat in (in the fridge) since the day previous - and tasted. Mmmn, nice - but not robust enough.
So, I then added two bay leaves, a half an Oxo cube (which helped with the beefy flavour and added a little salt), a teaspoonful of Bovril to boost the beefy flavour even further, a good glug or three of Worcestershire Sauce (which always helps beef dishes along a bit) and a dessertspoonful of tomato ketchup (which delivers a mix of spices that it is very difficult to find elsewhere, plus a little sweetness).
I gave that lot time to blend together as the gravy simmered, then tasted again. Oooh yes, now we're talking - but it needed to be thicker and could do with a good grind or three of black pepper. Pepper duly added, I rummaged in the cupboard and found a jar of Bisto "best rich & roasted beef" gravy granules. Ordinarily, I'd opt for some flour or cornflour to thicken a gravy, but something made me use the gravy granules. You need to be careful about how much salt is in the gravy already, as gravy granules can really deliver an intense salty hit, if you're not careful. In this case, just a couple of tablespoonfuls made all the difference to the gravy, making it glossy, thick and oh so flavoursome. Thinking on, although I was a tad embarrassed at using gravy granules, it occurred to me that it was really no worse than using a stock cube, in the context with which I was using it. After all, I'm not exactly just adding water, stirring and calling it gravy.
Once I had the gravy where I wanted it, I added the beef (which I'd chopped into bite sized pieces) and heated it all through while the oven warmed up and I got the pastry ready.
This really was a superb pie. I think the closest I can get to it would be the Kate & Wills' Wedding Pie, but it would be close run thing to judge between them.
The beef was tender, the mushrooms delicious and the onions had just melted away into the gravy. The gravy had all the benefit of the beef having been cooked in it, plus the effect of the red wine, which boosted its depth and flavour. The consistency of the gravy was perfect in that it coated the ingredients but still had enough movement to ooze from the pie into the accompanying vegetables.
Goodness, just thinking back and remembering the flavours is making my tummy rumble - which is testimony to just how good the pie was, I think!
I won't set out a recipe for the pie, as the ingredients - particularly for the gravy - very much depend on what was used to cook the beef in to begin with. However, I hope this blog post will act as inspiration for you to give a go to making a pie with the leftovers from your next piece of roast beef - if you have any, that is!