Yesterday, I live-tweeted my invention of a beef and ale pie topped with a Colcannon mash and bacon-wrapped asparagus. While my pie filling was a conglomeration of beef mince, leftover Christmas gravy, and a splodge of cream of mushroom soup made from further festive leftovers, and a splash of Old Speckled Hen, I think I’ve come up with a method for the beef and ale component of this epic creation.
Excuse the intense close-up of the pie cooling on the stove – my pastry is always a little rustic, even when I cheat with store-bought shortcrust, as I did yesterday. Instead of serving the asparagus as a side, I’ve nestled them in a row in the bed of Colcannon mash to cook along with the pie. While Colcannon mash is about as Irish as it gets, I added a little French touch by cooking the potatoes in a stock made from pouring boiling water and tossing a stock cube into a jar of Dijon mustard. I screwed the lid back on tightly, gave it a shake and tipped it into the pot. And when I made the mash, I tossed in a heaped teaspoon of Dijon for good measure.
This is a great dish to make on a cold afternoon – there’s no point rushing this bad boy. There’s a lot of prep involved so it’s wise to get everything chopped and measured at the start. Make the mash first, set aside, then make the filling while the pastry is blind-baking. Finally, wrap the asparagus in bacon while the pastry gets an extra five minutes to firm up the bottom, then the assembly can begin.
Set aside some time, crank up the music – and a rather labour-intensive but worthwhile beef and ale pie will be yours.