A Little About The Recipe: Paleo Beef and Onion Crusty Pie
Paleo Beef and Onion Crusty Pie is typical English comfort food made a little healthier.
Beef and Onion Pie is Typical English Cuisine
We of Britain are not often thought of for our delicate cuisine. England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland and all the islands have a culture of very heavy foods. Way back when we worked from dawn to dusk out in the fields at heavy labour. We didn’t have cars. And, perhaps the most significant thing of all, we had no central heating. All of this burned an immense amount of calories in the indigenous population. We could eat those stodgy, rib-sticking foods without any weighty consequences.
Nowadays, things are different. We don’t burn the calories, but we still like our traditional foods, and those pies tend to add up when you step on the scales.
(Especially now that I have long passed the age where I could dance it off clubbing on the weekend. Dancing around the kitchen when cooking just isn’t the same.)
But, do we give up the pies? No! Absolutely not! Eating a good ole’ English pie is like snuggling under a soft blanket with a roaring fire while soft snow piles up outside.
There’s only one option here. Let’s try to make it healthier instead!
Ta-daaa! Paleo Beef and Onion Crusty Pie.
Not the First Attempt
In my last post, I patted myself on the back for making the perfect recipe first time. This did not happen here. This recipe was like the majority of recipes on this site. There were numerous and varied attempts to get this just right. Most of the effort went into the perfect combination of ingredients for the pastry. Not too crumbly, not too stiff. Can I edge out the coconut flour and reduce a few carbs? Do I need to keep it in? Can I use oil, lard, or must it be ghee?
I went through many different ideas. My husband had a lot of pies to eat. Not that I think he minded too much, to be honest.
We both decided this pastry recipe was the best tasting. I decided it was also the easiest to make. This double recommendation made it the hands-down winner of the great pastry bake-off. Now, it’s the go-to pastry recipe for every pie.
Beef and onion was less of a trial; it’s a tasty, very traditional combination, so how could I not make a pie with it.
It’s Not Complicated, But You Need to Start in the Morning
It can often be very misleading to state the total cooking time of a recipe. Using a slow cooker always increases the cooking time exponentially, but the actual time spent in the kitchen is minimal. Your time spent in the kitchen for this recipe will be about 40 minutes over the whole of the day. This includes preparing the beef and onion in the morning and making the pastry later on.
This is an uncomplicated meal, it is far easier and less time consuming than it looks, but you will need to plan ahead.
What Beef Should I Use
Basically, the cheap stuff!
I often use garetta beef for this. Garetta, also known as heel muscle, is probably a cut of beef you have never heard of. It’s one of the cheaper cuts that work well for slow cooking. Save the expensive stuff for a steak. If you are slow-cooking, this is the time to save money and use those typically ignored and set aside meats. The tougher beef really shines when you slow cook, the added sinew and fibres break down over time, giving super soft beef with great flavour. Eating it, you will never know it was cheaper; your bank balance, however, will thank you.
Other beef cuts you could use are skirt, chuck or brisket, basically anything for slow cooking.
Besides getting the ingredients for the pastry right, I will point out that I usually have problems moving the pastry. This has led to me placing taste over appearance or, instead, ease over frustration. I roll out the pastry to the size I need. I check it by measuring it against the pie dish. I cut the pastry into 2 or 4 pieces on the chopping board. Then, I use a fish slice to move the pastry pieces over to the meat. I cut off any over-flowing pastry bits and use them to fill in gaps.
I Recommend This For: Paleo Beef and Onion Crusty Pie
I use ghee in the pastry because I think it tastes better. But, I am aware it is a controversial paleo food. I do include ghee in the paleo recipes of this website. Still, I am aware many consider it to not be paleo. You can switch out the ghee for another fat such as melted lard, or duck fat in such cases. Atkins’ dieters could use butter. I do not recommend substituting the ghee with any oils.
What do you have with a meat pie?
I have to recommend Mashed Cauliflower to go with this recipe. You can chop and boil up the cauliflower in the time it takes for the pie to cook in the oven. The gravy leftover from the slow cooker is enough to cover the pie and the mash, giving you a typical English dinner. At around 26g of total carbs for the entire meal, those further along in their Atkins’ weight loss journey and in the maintenance phase can indulge. Add in some boiled veggies, and you’ll feel like you’ve gone back in time.
While keto dieters could eat paleo beef and onion crusty pie, but I’m not going to recommend it. A quarter of this pie is over 10g net carbs. While this is within keto rules, it’s too much for a main dish which requires a side dish to make it into a full meal. Check out my keto section for something else instead.
If you wish to include it, I think you would have to pair it with Garlic Butter Mushrooms and keep the carbs down. When it comes to the protein content, it’s reasonably safe at a moderate 51g. Make use of this for lunch by having something meaty with no carbs at all.
And Here It Is: Paleo Beef and Onion Pie
Paleo Beef and Onion Crusty Pie
For the Filling
- 500 g garetta/heel muscle beef (1lb)
- 250 g yellow onion (9oz)
- 450 ml beef stock (2 cups)
- 1 tbsp almond flour
- 1 tsp lard
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp dried sage
- ½ tsp dried tarragon
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp dried parsley
- 1 medium egg
- 170 g almond flour (1½ cups)
- 1½ tbsp ghee
- 1 tsp ghee
- ¼ tsp salt
Cooking the Filling
- Cut the beef into bite-sized pieces.
- Dice the onion.
- Mix the salt, pepper and almond flour on a plate. Add the beef and toss. Cover the beef with the flour on all sides.
- Turn the slow cooker onto low.
- Melt lard on high heat in medium sized frying pan. (I use number 8)
- Brown the beef on all sides, less than 1 minute.
- Remove the beef with a slotted spoon and place in the slow cooker.
- Lower the heat down to medium (I use number 6) and add the onions.
- Cook the onion until translucent, about 3 minutes, and add to the slow cooker.
- Remove the frying pan from the hob, and wait for it to cool a little before adding the beef stock. Scrape around the bottom of the pan to get all the brown bits up.
- Pour the beef stock into the slow cooker.
- Add the dried sage, thyme, tarragon and parsley into the slow cooker.
- Leave to slow cook for 6 hours.
Making the Pastry
- Mix all the ingredients.
- Roll the pastry into the approximate shape of a 23cm x 23cm (or 9x9inch) dish.
- Cut the pastry into half or quarters.
Making the Pie
- Preheat a fan-assisted oven to 180deg C (375 deg F).
- Remove the cooked beef and onion from the slow cooker with a slotted spoon and place in the pie/casserole dish.
- Scoop out 120ml (½ cup) of the stock left in the bottom and add to the dish. Leave the rest of the stock in the slow cooker on warm and cover.
- Use a fish slice to move each piece of pastry over to the pie dish. Place the pastry on top, cover all the meat. Cut away any excess pastry and use it to fill any holes that are left.
- Use a pastry brush and brush the ½tsp of ghee over the top of the pastry.
- Bake for 30 mins.
- Serve with the stock left in the slow cooker as a gravy.