Spiced braised beef pie

This puff pastry pie is filled with tender slow-cooked beef flavoured with cinnamon, Sichuan peppercorns, star anise and soy sauce- seriously sumptuous

  • Prep:20 mins
    Cook:2 hrs
    plus cooling
  • Serves 6
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 586
  • fat 32g
  • saturates 13g
  • carbs 34g
  • sugars 9g
  • fibre 3g
  • protein 40g
  • salt 5.6g


  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1kg good-quality braising steaks, cut into 2½ cm chunks
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • small piece ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
  • 25g plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into large chunks
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 100ml soy sauce
  • 3 red chillies, left whole, but pierced
  • 375g pack ready rolled all-butter puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten


  1. Heat half the oil in a heavy-based flameproof casserole pan on a medium heat. Fry the meat in batches until browned, then remove from the pan and set aside.

  2. Turn down the heat, add the remaining oil to the pan and cook the onion, garlic and ginger for a few mins until starting to soften. Crush the Sichuan peppercorns using a pestle and mortar, then add the flour and mix well. Add the spiced flour to the onion, mix well until all the onion is coated, then return the meat to the pan along with the tomato purée, carrots, star anise and cinnamon. Give everything a good stir, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook for 1 min.

  3. Add the soy sauce, chillies and 400ml water. Bring up to a simmer and cook very slowly – the sauce should be bubbling gently but not boiling – for 1½ hrs until the meat is really tender. Leave to cool.

  4. Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Once cool, spoon the filling into a 2-litre pie dish, removing the cinnamon stick, chillies and star anise. Roll out the puff pastry on a floured surface until it is about 2cm larger than the dish. Put a pie funnel in the middle of the pie (it will stop the pastry sinking and becoming soggy).

  5. Brush the edges of the dish with a little of the egg to help the pastry seal. Lay the pastry over the top, pressing down well. Pierce centre and trim off the excess pastry with a sharp knife. Brush liberally with egg and bake for 30-35 mins.

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