I don’t have much time for recipes like engagement chicken. Mainly because cooking to get hitched is slightly archaic and ridiculous, and also because if any recipe could do that it wouldn’t involve chicken. It would involve steak, ale and cheese. In a pie.
3 red onions
3 cloves garlic
2 sticks celery
1 kg beef brisket
a few sprigs rosemary
440 ml dark ale (I went for Hobgoblin but most things work)
2 heaped tablespoons plain flour
150 g extra mature Cheddar cheese (the stronger the better)
500 g block puff pastry
1. Dice the onions, then fry gently in a large ovenproof pan until soft. Meanwhile, roughly chop vegetables and cut beef into 1 inch cubes.
2. Turn the heat up and add all the vegetables. Give it a good stir then add the beef, rosemary, and plenty of salt and pepper.
3. Fry fast for 3 or 4 minutes, then pour in the ale , stir in the flour and add just enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer, cover the pan with a lid and cook at 190C for 2½ hours, stirring halfway through. If it seems a bit liquidy, reduce on the hob until nice and thick. Stir in half the grated cheese and set aside to cool slightly.
4. Roll out 2/3 of the pastry and use this to line a deep pie dish. Add the filling and sprinkle over the remaining cheese. Use the remainder to top the pie – score gently with a knife, crimp the edges and use the off cuts to make a comic design. Brush with beaten egg and return to the oven for another 45 minutes.