10-inch ring cutter; six to eight 4 1/2-to- 5-inch foil pie tins (at least 1-inch deep)
For the beef and gravy: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Trim excess fat from the beef and cut it into about 3-inch cubes.
Measure out all the dry spices (garlic powder, mustard powder, onion powder, salt, celery seed, ginger powder and pepper) and mix together in a large mixing bowl. Coat the beef cubes liberally in the spice mix.
Bring a saute pan to medium heat and add the oil (a sufficient amount to shallow fry the beef). Fry the beef cubes, 2 or 3 pieces at a time, turning onto each side, until a deep golden brown. Place the browned beef in a deep casserole dish.
Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the leftover spice mix over the cooked beef (omit this step if all the spice mix was used to coat the beef before cooking).
Roughly chop the garlic and onion and add to the casserole dish with the beef. Tie the thyme, bay leaves and rosemary together with kitchen string (or you can use one of the thyme sprigs to do this).
Pour the red wine over the beef (enough to submerge all the beef, and reserving 1/3 cup for later). Wrap plastic film over the casserole dish and then wrap in aluminum foil and ensure a tight seal all around. Place the beef in the oven and cook until tender, about 3 hours.
Remove the beef and roughly chop into about 1/2-inch cubes. Remove the fresh herbs and discard.
Place the liquid from the casserole dish, including the onions and garlic, into a food processor and blend until smooth; this will become the gravy for the pies. Return the liquid to a saucepan and bring to a slow boil. Add the cornstarch to the water and whisk. Add to the boiling gravy, whisking while adding to avoid lumps forming. Add the reserved 1/3 cup red wine and cook the gravy, stirring regularly to avoid burning, for about 10 minutes. The gravy should be relatively thick in consistency. Add more cornstarch and water mixture if the gravy is not thick enough.
Pour the gravy over the chopped beef to liberally coat the beef cubes; you may not need all the gravy you have made. Allow to cool.
Meanwhile, for the pie dough: Add the flour and salt to an electric food mixer with a paddle attachment. Mix on slow speed so the flour doesn't spray out of the bowl, about 1 minute.
Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes and add several cubes at a time to the flour with the mixer on slow speed. Mix until pea-size crumbs have formed.
Mix the water and vinegar together in a small bowl. Change the attachment to the dough hook on the mixer and mix on slow speed while pouring in the water and vinegar mixture. Continue mixing until a dough ball has formed on the hook, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the dough ball, wrap in plastic film and chill in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes.
Remove the dough ball and sprinkle liberally with flour, as well as the work surface (countertop). Roll out the dough with a rolling pin until it is approximately 1/16-inch thick.
Use a 10-inch ring cutter to cut out circles of dough. Take the dough circles and place into six to eight 4 1/2-to- 5-inch foil pie tins (at least 1-inch deep). Work the dough around to ensure it is neatly covering the pie tin and slightly overlaps the edges.
For the cheesy potato top: Peel and cube the potatoes. Boil until soft, then drain the water and mash while adding the cubed butter. When at a smooth consistency, add the cheeses and mix thoroughly to incorporate. Add some cream if needed to ensure the mash is of a smooth consistency. Add salt to desired taste.
Spoon the beef and gravy into the dough-lined pie tins.
Using a large cooking spoon, spoon the mashed potato over the filled pies, scraping down against the rim of the foil pie tin to ensure a smooth surface of the potato topping.
Place the pies onto a baking tray and place the oven on fan or convection setting (if available) and cook for 15 minutes. Turn the tray and continue cooking until the pastry is cooked all the way through, 10 to 15 minutes (gently lift the pie out of the foil pie tin to check that the bottom of the pastry is fully cooked).
Store-bought pie dough can be used – short crust. It can also be made without pie dough (like sheppard's pie).
This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional. It has not been tested for home use.
Recipe courtesy of Banksia Bakehouse, Kansas City, Missouri