Beef cobbler

This is hardly a pie – it’s really a stew with a crusty scone topping – but it does the job of a good meat pie; that is, it fills you up with warming inexpensive food.
Beef cobbler
3H 20M


Cheese and herb scones


1.Preheat oven to 170°C. Trim leeks, remove outer leaf on each, wash, shake, then cut into thick rounds. Trim celery stalks then scrub with a vegetable brush. Cut into short lengths. Peel carrots, trim and cut into thick rounds. Peel swede and cut into smallish chunks. Put prepared vegetables, including mushrooms, in the bottom of a large casserole. Sprinkle with ¾ tsp salt and grind over plenty of black pepper.
2.Remove enough parsley leaves to provide 1 Tbsp chopped parsley for the scone topping. Bundle up the rest with the bay leaves and thyme and tie with string. Put on top of the vegetables.
3.Cut beef into large cubes, removing fat where possible. Put flour in a plastic bag and add 1 tsp salt and the beef cubes. Shake the bag until all the beef is coated with flour, then tip everything on top of the vegetables.
4.Pour stock into casserole. Mix wine and tomato concentrate together and pour in. Bring everything to a gentle bubble, ensure meat cubes are tucked amongst vegetables (they can dry out on the surface), then cover casserole with a lid. Transfer to oven and cook for 2½ hours (remove casserole from oven and turn everything once or twice during cooking). When beef is ready, remove casserole from oven. Increase heat to 210°C. Keep casserole covered.
5.To make the cobbler topping, sift flour and salt into a bowl. Add butter to flour, then cut in with two knives or a pastry cutter until butter is hardly visible. Add parsley, marjoram and chives and half the cheese. Quickly mix to a dough with the milk, then finish by gently kneading with one hand. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and gently roll out to approximately 1cm thick. Cut out rounds with a 5cm cutter (you will need to re-roll the scraps to make enough cobbles).
6.Lift lid from casserole and place scone rounds on top, slightly overlapping. Scatter with remaining cheese and dust with paprika. Once oven is up to heat, return casserole to it and cook for 15-20 minutes until scones are golden and crusty. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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