700g plain flour, sifted
350g suet, frozen
1 tsp salt
Up to 400ml cold water
1kg rump steak or chuck beef, 1cm diced
Salt and pepper
5 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 carrot, diced
2 sticks celery, diced
1 leek, chopped
¼ cup thyme, chopped
¼ cup parsley, chopped
3 cups beef stock
1 cup port
3 tbsp cornflour, mixed with water to make a paste
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten with 4 tbsp milk
Grate the suet onto your work surface and sprinkle on about 100g of the flour. Use a long, sharp knife to chop the suet with the flour; this prevents it from becoming sticky.
Transfer the suet to a large mixing bowl and stir in the remaining flour and salt. Use your fingertips to rub the suet into the flour, but leave it a little rough and lumpy; it helps to rise.
Add the water, a little at a time, until the mixture just comes together. Knead for 2-3 minutes, until elastic and springy. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes before using. When ready to use, roll the pastry out onto a lightly floured work surface.
Season the beef generously with salt and pepper and drizzle over half the olive oil, and massage it into the meat. Heat the remaining oil in a heavy based saucepan or casserole dish over a medium heat. When the oil is sizzling, brown the beef in batches, so that the heat stays high.
In the same pot, sweat the onion, garlic, carrot, leek and celery for 5 minutes, or until the onion starts to soften and colour. Add the herbs, beef stock and port and stir well. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
Stir in the cornflour paste gradually and simmer for another 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
When ready to bake the pie, preheat the oven to 185°C and lightly grease a large pie tin.
Roll out the suet pastry to around 5mm thick. Cut a circle to line the pie tin, leaving about a 2cm overhang. Spoon in the filling, so the pie is three-quarters full. From the remaining pastry cut a circle to form the pie lid. Lightly brush the rim of the pie with egg wash and place the lid on top. Press the edges firmly to seal, then trim off any surplus pastry. Make a small cut in the middle of the pastry lid so that the steam can escape as the pie bakes. Brush with a little more egg wash and bake for 30-40 minutes until the pastry top is a lovely golden brown.