Sam Moody’s Beef & Oyster Pies with Ale

“Oysters were once a plentiful staple of the Victorian lower classes and used to bulk out dishes such as pies, soups and stews. This recipe uses these now highly prized shellfish to create a rich, tasty and fun British classic with a twist.”

PREP: 45 mins
COOKING: 2-3 hrs

  • 500g puff pastry
  • 12 oysters
  • 1 large beef cheek trimmed
  • 1 carrot medium rough diced
  • 2 sticks of celery medium rough diced
  • 1 small onion medium rough diced
  • 1 leek medium rough diced
  • 5 ripe tomatoes chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 large glass of ale
  • chicken stock to cover

Preheat the oven to 140°C. Very lightly season the beef cheek with salt and pepper. Use an ovenproof casserole dish on the hob and caramelise all the sides of the beef cheek. Set aside the beef cheek and reduce the heat on the casserole dish. Add the vegetables to the pot and sweat over a gentle heat for 10-15 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 10 minutes. Add the ale and reduce by half. Return the caramelised beef cheek to the casserole dish and top with chicken stock.

Bring to a light simmer and cover with foil. Transfer to the oven and braise for 2-3 hours, or until the beef cheek is soft but not falling apart. Allow the cheek to cool slowly in the liquid. Once cold, remove the cheek and pull apart into small pieces. Pass the liquid through a colander and reduce in a saucepan to the consistency of a light gravy. Pour half the liquid back onto the small pieces of beef cheek. Allow to cool and then refrigerate.

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Open the oysters – clean both oysters and their shells well. Place each oyster back into its shell and top with the braised beef mix. Roll out the puff pastry and cover each shell. Lightly egg wash and then cook for 15-18 minutes, until golden.