Sharon’s Parcels

Last night, I made a steak and kidney pie for dinner, thinking – foolishly! – it would last for two nights’ dinner. Wrong! My partner couldn’t help but go back for seconds, meaning there was only enough left for dinner tonight – my dinner! But what was I going to give him??

I opted for pasties, or as they turned out, Sharon’s Parcels! Now, for me, life is just too short to make pastry, well more to the point, it’s the one thing that I’m yet to brave making on my own. But, as I was using puff pastry on this occasion, I think I can get away with shop bought – can’t I?

Starting with some casserole steak, I diced it into bite-sized pieces and browned them in a saucepan, with a little oil, before removing the meat into a bowl and dusting with plain flour – this will help to thicken the gravy later.

Then I put a finely chopped onion and two cloves of minced garlic in the same pan and softened them for a few minutes, before adding a finely chopped carrot, finely sliced leek and a good knob of butter, along with a beef stock pot and a red wine stock pot. Allow the stock pots to melt down and keep everything moving in the pan.

Return the steak to the pan, along with any juices that have seeped out, whilst it’s been resting and give it a good stir. Add in enough water to just cover everything in the pan and turn the heat down low, add some salt, pepper, a splash of Worcestershire sauce and a pinch or oregano, stir it in and let the meat mix simmer for a good hour, stirring occasionally.

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After an hour, add a potato, cut up small and add that into the mix. I had baking potatoes to hand, so that’s what went in. I added it later, so it didn’t turn to mush. Check too at this point whether the gravy is thick enough for you – remember, it’s going in pastry, so you want a fairly thick one. If it’s not thick enough, make a slurry out of cornflour and add that in, giving it a good stir. Leave to simmer for another hour, again stirring occasionally, then take the pan off the heat and allow to cool.

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Once cool, take your pastry and roll it out – or unroll if you’re like me, using shop bought – and cut your shapes. I had two rectangles. Put a generous, but not too generous amount of filling in, put a little milk – it’s cheaper than egg wash – around the edges and make your parcels, or if you’re super neat, pasties. Brush the top with milk and put in the oven at 180C for around half an hour. Again, I’m a so-and-so for timings, I go by look and feel, so just keep checking! When the pastry is golden brown and possibly serving.

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A sturdy baking tray is a kitchen staple in my opinion.

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