Coorong Angus beef pie with red wine, fennel and green olives

These warming, comforting beef pies will go down an absolute storm on any night, but especially as the weather gets a bit chillier. The slow-cooked meat is melt-in-the-mouth, and is sure to be a winner. The recipe features in Maggie Beer's cookbook, "Autumn".

  • 9 hrs cooking
  • Serves 8
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  • plain flour, for dusting
  • sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 kilogram coorong angus beef chuck, or other quality beef chuck, cut in to 3cm cubes
  • extra virgin olive oil, for cooking
  • 400 millilitre shiraz
  • 1 medium-large fennel bulb, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 400 gram golden shallots, peeled
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cup (500 ml) veal or chicken stock
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • rind of one orange, finely chopped
  • 16 green olives, pitted
  • 1 quantity of sour-cream pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten
Sour-cream pastry
  • 200 gram chilled unsalted butter, chopped into small pieces
  • 250 gram plain flour
  • 120 gram sour cream


  • 1
    Season the flour with salt and pepper, then toss the meat in the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess. In a large deep frying pan, seal the meat in olive oil over high heat in small batches until all the meat is browned.
  • 2
    Heat a crockpot to its highest setting, then transfer the sealed meat to it. Deglaze the frying pan with the wine, reducing it by three-quarters over high heat, then add the wine to the crockpot.
  • 3
    Return the frying pan to the stove, then add more olive oil and sauté the fennel and shallots over medium heat for 6–8 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes.
  • 4
    Transfer the vegetables to the crockpot, then add stock to the frying pan, bring to a rapid boil over high heat then add it to the crockpot with the herbs.
  • 5
    Cook on the highest setting for 30 minutes, then turn to the lowest setting and cook at this low temperature for about 6 hours (or even overnight), until the meat is melt-in-the-mouth tender, adding the orange rind and olives in the last 20 minutes. Let the beef mixture cool.
  • 6
    Meanwhile, make the pastry by putting the butter and flour into the bowl of a food processor, then pulsing until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the sour cream and pulse again until the dough just forms a ball. If shrinkage worries you, gather the dough into a ball with your hands and bounce it on the bench. Carefully wrap the dough in plastic film and leave to rest in the refrigerator for 15–20 minutes.
  • 7
    To assemble the pies, roll pastry to a 5 mm thickness and cut to fit the bases of 8 individual pie tins (you can buy standard-sized disposable foil pie tins from the supermarket).
  • 8
    Make sure the pastry bases overhang the lips of the pie tins, and brush the bases with beaten egg, to help seal in the juices. Cut out the pastry tops.
  • 9
    Divide the beef mixture among the pie tins and cover with the pastry tops. Fold the edges of the pastry to seal, then brush the tops of the pies with beaten egg. Return the pies to the refrigerator for the pastry to really set; about 15 minutes.
  • 10
    Preheat the oven to 220°C. Place the pie tins on a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.