Making this pie is a joy as it fills the house with the smell of Moroccan spices.
If you like a bit of heat add a teaspoon of harissa with the spices. It is also fabulous served with saffron mash.
For the filling:
2 tbsp olive oil
500 g stewing steak, cut into 4cm cubes
1 tbsp flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
Knob of butter
3 onions, peeled and sliced
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground ginger
1 cinnamon stick
400 g tin plum tomatoes
150 g pitted black olives
1 tbsp tomato paste
150 m water
for the pastry:
250 g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
100 g butter, cut into cubes
½ tsp salt
2 tsp turmeric powder
100 ml milk
Preheat the oven to 220C / 425F /Gas Mark 7
For the filling:
Heat the oil in a large casserole, coat the meat in the flour and fry in the casserole until browned. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.
Dollop the butter into the pan, stir in the onions and gently stew for 10 minutes or until translucent. Keep checking and stirring making sure they do not burn. Throw in the garlic, parsley and spices and stir through for a couple of minutes. Return the meat to the pan then pour in the tomatoes, olives and water. Stir in the tomato paste thoroughly, mashing up the tomatoes and scraping the bottom of the pan making sure nothing sticks. Gently simmer for 2 hours, checking, stirring and adding more water when needed.
Meanwhile prepare the pastry. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, rub in the butter between your thumb and fingers until it looks like bread crumbs, add the milk a little at a time (as depending on the type of flour you may need a little less or even more) until you have a soft dough. Roll into a ball, cover in cling film and pop in the fridge until needed.
Remove the cinnamon stick from the beef mixture, taste, and season with salt and pepper accordingly.
Pour the mixture into a medium pie dish and brush the edges of the dish with water so the lid will stick. Roll out the pastry and cover the mixture, press down the edges and trim, cut a steam hole in the top and bake for 20 minutes.
Serve with sweet potatoes peeled and boiled until soft, tossed in butter and a little chopped parsley.
Cook the filling on a simmering plate, I use a large cast iron or ceramic casserole dish. If it is cooking too fast put a coin under the pan to reduce the heat. Bake the pie on the grid shelf on the lowest set of runners, in the roasting oven.