This great classic, a favourite with English-speaking people around the world, is both a splendid family dish and a winner for entertaining as it can be made ahead and popped in the oven to reheat when needed.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 kg beef skirt or other braising steak, trimmed and cut into 4cm cubes
250g ox kidney, skinned, cored and sliced
3 tablespoons plain flour, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups beef stock
2 cups Guinness
125g field, flat or open-cup mushrooms, wiped and quartered
625g puff pastry, homemade or bought
1 egg, beaten
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Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a heavy-based saucepan, add the onion and fry on low heat until softened, but not browned, then remove and put on a plate.
Heat the remaining oil in the pan and fry the steak and kidney in batches until evenly browned. Remove the meat as it browns and put it with the onion.
Stir the flour into the pan, then gradually stir in the stock and Guinness. Bring to the boil, stirring and scraping any brown residue off the bottom of the pan. Return the meat and onion to the pan, adding any juices left on the plate. Bring to the boil, add the bouquet garni, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer on the lowest possible heat for 2 hours, or until the meat is tender. Add the mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes more. Remove from the heat, cool and chill overnight. The next day, remove the bouquet garni, season the meat to taste and transfer it to a 1.25 litre pie dish. Add enough of the meat juices to cover and reserve the remainder.
On a floured surface, roll out the pastry to 5cm larger than the top of the pie dish. Trim off a strip 2–3cm wide from around the edge.
Brush the edge of the pie dish with water, press the pastry strip onto it, then brush the strip with water. Cover the pie with the remaining pastry, pressing the edges together to seal. Trim and decorate the edge. Brush with the beaten egg and make a small hole in the centre of the pastry. Chill while heating the oven to 220 degrees C.
Bake the pie for 25–30 minutes, then cover loosely with foil to prevent further browning. Reduce the oven temperature to 160 degrees C, and cook for a further 20–25 minutes, or until the pastry is cooked. Reheat the reserved meat juices and serve separately with the pie. To reheat the pie, lay a sheet of foil loosely over the top to prevent it from over-browning.