2 lbs chuck or blade steak, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
5 sprigs fresh thyme
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch rounds
3 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
3 cups beef or chicken stock
2 cups mixed mushrooms, cut into bite-sized pieces
¼ cup curly parsley, finely chopped
¼ cup corn starch with enough water to make a thin paste
1 sheet GeeFree puff pastry
1 egg beaten with 2 Tablespoons of water
Season meat well with salt and pepper, and brown with olive oil in a heavy pan over moderate to high heat. Once meat is browned on all sides, remove from pan and set aside.
Add onion, garlic, and thyme to pan, and cook till onions are soft and translucent. Add the meat back in, along with the carrots and potatoes. Cover with stock and any additional water, making sure all ingredients are submerged.
Cover and continue to cook over a low to moderate heat for another hour and 20 to 30 minutes, or until meat is tender. The meat should pull apart quite easily between your fingers. Cook for longer if necessary.
Once cooked, strain the cooking liquid into a smaller pot and bring to a rolling boil. Add in the diluted corn starch and continue to cook till thickened. If you feel the consistency is not thick enough, add a little more diluted corn starch. The texture should be of a thin custard.
Add in the mushrooms, parsley, meat, and vegetables, and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Scoop the mixture into desired pots, leaving a good ¼ inch gap space from top and allow to cool.
Using a rolling pin, roll pastry out into one large piece with the addition of a little potato or cornstarch to prevent sticking. Roll until the pastry is approximately half as thick as it was when first taken out of the package.
Cut lids for each pie, making sure you leave enough to overlap the bowl. (I like to keep the lids quite rustic, not necessarily a perfect circle.)
Using a little egg wash, brush the rim of the pot and secure each piece of pastry, and then proceed with brushing the tops of each pie.
When ready, set pies to bake in a preheated oven (390F) for 20-25 minutes, remembering time will vary depending on size of pots used.
Cook pies until pastry has puffed and turned golden in color. Check that filling is hot by piercing with a small knife or metal skewer.
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