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For the topping:
Cook the potatoes for 10 mins until starting to soften.
Drain & cool under cold running water then coarsely grate.
For the filling:
Melt the butter in a small pan or in the microwave.
Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3.
Season the beef with salt & pepper.
Heat the oil & butter in a heavy based pan. As soon as it's smoking, add the meat & brown on all sides. Remove & set aside.
Add the onions to the pan & brown them lightly in the fat from the meat.
Add the thyme & stir to combine. Remove the onions & set aside.
Add the flour to the pan & stir over a low flame until a dark gold roux has formed.
Pour in the beer & the stock, add a pinch of salt, pinch of pepper, sugar & vinegar. Bring to the boil, stirring all of the time & simmer over a low flame for 15 mins.
Transfer all of the meat & onions into a large ovenproof dish & strain the sauce through a fine sieve over the mixture.
Cover & place in the oven for 3 hours until the meat is tender & the sauce reduced & slightly thickened.
Turn up the oven to 190°C/ gas mark 5.
Sprinkle the grated potato over the meat filling & dot with butter.
Place in the oven for 30 mins until the crust is nice & crispy.
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