The Love Pie

Prep Time:20 Mins, Cook Time: 5 - 10 Hrs, Total Time: 5 Hrs 20 mins +

February 12, 2014

Eat Your Veg | Slow Cooked Beef PieNow I don’t have a special big person to be cooking for this year but I do happen to have two very special little people. Who LOVE pie. I mean really love it. Since we returned to England in August they’ve been ecstatic about traditional English pies and until recently their outright favourite was a classic Steak & Ale from local Legges of Bromyard. I don’t blame them, it’s a truly delicious pie packed full of superior quality meat in a more than tasty gravy. They also make a tremendous Venison Pie, Rabbit Pie, Chicken & Tarragon Pie to name a few. Not only do Legges make pies but they’re a quality butchers and top drawer deli brimming with tempting local delicacies too. Handily online too!

I did say Legges’s pie was until recently their favourite. Uncle Julian’s slow cooked beef shin pie has usurped they’re pie love affections. Frannie’s not stopped talking about it since he made it just after Christmas, and was sorely disappointed when he came over on a recent trip from Mallorca and cooked up a roast chicken dinner instead. Oh she moaned about that for days, despite roast chicken ordinarily being one of her favourite dinners!. So as a Valentines treat I decided to bag the recipe off my brother and bake them a special Love Pie. Which also handily doubled up as a birthday pie for my dear Dad’s 76th celebrations on Sunday. Afterall it was him that introduced to me the wonderful world of Legges Pies! Sadly he was a bit under the weather on the big day and didn’t get to fully appreciate it, but the kids and I did.

The recipe calls for a very long slow braising of the meat, which can either be beef shin or beef (ox) cheeks, or even pig cheeks which apparently taste like beef when cooked this way. Braising in the oven covered with a cartouche (a paper layer to prevent moisture sneaking off), but as I so happened to have taken delivery of my first ever slow cooker (I know, it took me a while!) it was destined for a bit of a trial. And a trial that definitely paid off as it was equally as delicious and as tender as tender falling apart melting beef can be. Result!.

Eat Your Veg | The Love Pie | Slow Cooked Beef Braised in Red WineI should admit to you now this pie is totally out of my normal Eat Your Veg style, in that there’s practically zero veggies in there! Oh the crime. I was initially sceptical but Julian assured me you cannot achieve the same depth of flavour with more than a mere finely chopped carrot and a scant onion for the entire pot. Ouch. But on tasting I’m not going to argue. The sauce is unctuous, uber-rich, decadent, dreamy and quite possibly the best beef stew I’ve ever been lucky enough to sample. And truly the best ever vessel for my special love pie. Since it takes such a long time for the beef to cook it seems more sensible to make in a large quantity, but feel free to halve to serve just four. It’s also not the cheapest pie to make either, taking an entire litre of red wine in the making. But just pick something cheap, I really doubt you’d notice otherwise.

I used bought puff pastry for this pie, but I’ve regularly made my own rough puff in the past to glorious results. The pie can either be made in a large family size or eight smaller individual love pies, which have an added cute appeal to the little people. You can either cover all the tops in a layer of pastry and decorate with a few cut outs if you wish OR employ a quickie fun cheat and cut out eight pastry hearts (or other shapes) and bake either on top of the beef OR separately on a lined baking sheet and pop on once cooked.

Do serve with a barrage of veggies to make up for the absence of too much good stuff in the pie! I must admit to going a little wild with this and served up no less than six veggies and two types of potato.


Being as this most definitely is now our favourite winter warmer recipe I’m entering my post to The Co-operative Electrical‘s ‘Favourite Winter Warmer Recipe‘ competition.  Would you believe the winner scoops a whooping £750.00 prize to spend in store, and believe me having recently found myself living alone with the two monsters there’s genuinly a few unaffordable gaps in electrical gear around my house! There’s also a hefty runners up prize of £250.00.

As well as the Co-Operative Comp I’m also entering my Love Pie to quite a few bloggie challenges:

1. To Family Foodies which I host with Vanesther, as afterall our theme this month is Love and the foods you make to show your kids a little foodie love. I honestly couldn’t think of a dish more appropriate for my two!

2. To Four Seasons Food which I host with Anneli who happens to be hosting this month’s Food from the Heart challenge. I don’t think I need to explain my entry!

3. To Cooking with Herbs hosted by Karen at the gorgeous Lavender and Lovage blog. This month there’s a dual theme of Chinese New Year and Valentines and since I’ve just rosemary I definitely qualify.

4. To Elizabeth’s Kitchen’s Shop Local event as my beef came from local Hereford new-to-me butchers Oglebys, rosemary from my Mum’s garden, veggies (barely a plural there I’m afraid!) from my veg box supplied by local Skylark Organics and rapeseed oil from nearby Brockmanton Oils.

5. And for my first ever time I’m mightily chuffed to be entering the Slow Cooker Challenge hosted by Janice over at Farmersgirl KitchenThe first of many hopefully.

Love Pie Challenge Logos

The Good Stuff:

Ouch. To be honest not an awful lot but this pie is strictly for special occasions!. And can be served with a multitude of veggies to make up for it’s poor credentials!

Great For:

Pre-Schoolers, Big Kids, Family Dinners, Special Occasions, Dinner Parties, Valentines, Birthdays, Weekend Slowies, Pie Fanatics, Slow Cooking


Serves eight generously

Special Equipment:

A large slow cooker OR a large ovenproof casserole or Le Crueset

The Love Pie

Ingredients Prep Time:20 Mins, Cook Time: 5 - 10 Hrs, Total Time: 5 Hrs 20 mins +

For the Stew, Enough for 8:
3 tablespoons rapeseed or olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely diced
1 carrot, well scrubbed and very finely diced
1.5kg beef shin or ox cheek or pigs cheeks
3 tablespoons plain flour
salt and pepper
1 litre red wine
1 Knorr Rich Beef Stock Pot
1 heaped tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 heaped tablespoon tomato puree
1 dessertspoon Worcester sauce
2 heaped teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons soft brown sugar
1 teaspoon Marmite

For the Pie:
1 500g block puff pastry or 320g ready rolled sheet or equivalent in homemade rough puff
1 egg, lightly beaten

1) Heat one of the tablespoons of oil in a large casserole and saute the onion and carrot for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
2) Meanwhile prepare the beef by removing any tough sinewy bits from the shin if using. Cut into 3 to 4 cm chunks. Toss in the flour well seasoned with 1 teaspoon of black pepper and a generous pinch of salt.
3) Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and brown half the beef on all sides, remove from the pan and set aside. Add the remaining oil and brown the other half of the beef.
4) Pour in the wine, the carrot and onion and all the remaining ingredients. Stir up all the residue at the bottom of the pan.
5) Simmer for 5 minutes before transferring to your slow cooker pot for 10 hours on LOW or 8 hours on MEDIUM. Or cover the casserole dish with a homemade cartouche and place in an oven at 150ºc for 4 to 5 hours.
6) Taste and further season with more salt, pepper or sugar. You do end up with quite a saucy stew, which can be thickened with a little cornflour OR the beef removed and sauce further reduced. I actually chose to do neither but kept back a little sauce from the pie for additional gravy.
7) To make the pie, preheat your oven to 200ºc/180ºc fan/Gas Mark 6. Place the beef in the bottom of a very large ovenproof pie dish or 8 individuals. If there’s an excess of gravy set some of it aside to use as a separate gravy.
8) Roll out the pastry until it’s a little thicker than a pound coin. Cut to cover the dish or dishes, crimp the edges if you wish and brush with the tops with beaten egg. Use any pastry excess to cut out a few decorative shapes or hearts, place and brush with the egg. Make a hole in the top of the pie to allow the steam to escape.
An easy and quickie cheat on the pie toppings is to just cut out 8 large hearts (or any shape!) for the individuals and either place on the filling and cook OR bake on a lined baking sheet separately and add to the pie or pies once cooked. Choices, choices!
9) Bake pastry covered pies for 30 – 40 minutes until the pastry’s puffed up and golden and the filling piping hot. Bake pastry cut outs for 15 minutes.
Serve with a mountain of fluffy buttery mash and as many veggies as you can get away with.

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21 thoughts on “The Love Pie

  1. ManjiriK

    That is truely such a beautiful pie , I too am guilty on the slow cooker front , but am almost there and will have a new one soon I hope. Happy Belated 76th to ur dad and hope he is feeling better now.
    I love a good pie and this certainly is very very tempting!

    1. Louisa

      Thanks Manjiri! Don’t hesitate, get a slow cooker. I’m in love with mine already, great just to chuck everything in and leave it to works it’s magic.

  2. Karen

    As usual Lou, a WONDERFULLY tasty and imaginative meal and such a FAB recipe too! Thanks so much for entering this pie into cooking with herbs, I could eat the while pie in a heart beat! Karen

  3. Choclette

    Well pies are probably my most favourite thing ever – so comforting and delicious. I keep meaning to make up a batch and stick them in the freezer, but as pastry is not my most favourite thing to make, I usually end up with one of Grumpies, a local pie baker who does a mean mushroom and Cornish blue pie and plenty of meaty offerings for CT.

  4. Fran @ G'day Souffle'

    The ‘Love Pie’- sort of reminds me of the 1960’s when everything was full of LOVE! I have cooked Beef Cheeks before but never Pig’s Cheeks- probably tastes similar. I can just picture how rich the flavours will be with this pie, with the addition of wine, veggies and everything else!

  5. Andrea Mynard

    Looks wonderful Louisa, just the thing for this weather. I made a slow-cooked steak & kidney pie filling for my sister recently as she’d just had a baby and I thought was in need of extra iron – just an excuse for me really! I have some buffalo meat to make into a pie for my next visit – thought buffalo & kidney had a ring to it.

  6. Tina @ The Spicy Pear

    Love the look of these pies. Its making me want to invest in a slow cooker too. The flavours of worcester sauce, mustard and marmite must make for a very delicious tasting pie.. Hope you Dad had a lovely birthday.

  7. Anneli Faiers

    Y.U.M. Goodness that meat looks so rich and delicious. Lovely touch with the heart on top too! I’ll bet you start a nice love affair with your slow cooker now you have one – oh my the romance 🙂 Me and mine are very close. Lovely entry to Four Seasons Food xx

  8. Mel

    This pie looks amazing. I don’t have a slow cooker, either. Do you think that I could do a quicker version in the pressure cooker, or would you say long and slow in a conventional oven would be best?


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