Why is it elusive, you ask? Well, because we were initially supposed to be having it two weeks ago but it got bumped until last week owing to the fact that I just couldn't find Aduki (or Adzuki, or Azuki) beans.
Of course, I should have gone to Makkha's on the Ashley Road - the best ethnic food store in the area - straight away, but life just didn't take us that way. Hubby eventually called in there on his way to another appointment and bingo - got the beans.
So, we were all set for this last weekend, when we were due to be having the pie on Saturday. I even remembered to put the beans in to soak before going to bed on Friday evening - which was a start!
Of course, we hadn't foreseen the problems that arose with Son & heir and his sleepover guest, which culminated in said sleepover guest returning home rather earlier than previously anticipated. Not through any fault of his own - she hastened to add - but because they both ran out of things to amuse themselves with and terminal boredom set in. All of which stamped all over the time I should have been preparing the Beef "Red Dragon" Pie.
So we had bacon & egg sandwiches that night and the pie got bumped to Sunday evening. I was beginning to think that perhaps I might have stepped on a gypsy's toe and had the hex put on me - especially considering how a number of different dishes lately had failed!
Would you believe it, having woken up Sunday morning thinking we had a free day, we ultimately found ourselves heading in Bournemouth's direction for an unavoidable, emergency bit of shopping!
I was so determined to make the flipping pie, I managed to make it in stages. I put the dish together - consisting of beef brisket, it required a couple of hours of slow cooking before adding the potatoes and beans - and took advantage of the automatic cooking function on our cooker to switch the oven on at the right time to begin cooking.
Consequently, it seemed to take all day to make - but goodness me, it was worth it!
I had my first taste once I'd combined the sauce ingredients prior to putting it in the oven and it showed promise even then. I have got to say, though, that was nothing compared to how it tasted after the first 2 hours of cooking. It was rich and tasty and so very unlike a Shepherd's Pie as to be incomparable. I was relieved about that, as I had been under instructions from the recipe's source, Martin Kitcher, to make sure it went in a Stir Fried Beef direction and not in a Shepherd's Pie direction! So I felt all was as it should be.
Hey Martin - did you notice the extra ingredient? *chuckle*
Having added the beans, some more peppers and the sliced potato to the top, I put it back into the oven for another hour and felt a whole lot more confident about it than I had been!
After what seemed to be an unconscionably long time, we sat down to tuck in. I'd served it with some steamed Pak Choi and Broccoli, which seemed to go very well. Hubby had insisted on some gravy, which amazingly went absolutely perfectly with the pie too. All in all, we were very happy bunnies with our dinner that night. Everyone cleared their plates and, if I hadn't have been so full, I'd have made inroads into the leftovers!
So, Beef "Red Dragon" and Aduki Bean Pie was not only a hit, but was marked as a "Do again" recipe. Can't wait to see what Martin finds for me next!
BEEF "RED DRAGON" AND ADUKI BEAN PIE (Serves 4)
1 tbsp olive oil
500g brisket of beef, finely sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, sliced and divided into two halves
1 green pepper, sliced and divided into two halves
1.5 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
2 tsp sugar
1 flat tsp of paprika
1 tsp Tikka Masala powder
2 cups soaked & reconstituted Aduki beans, boiled for 15-20 minutes
3 or 4 par cooked peeled, sliced potatoes
olive oil to drizzle
sea salt & ground black pepper.
1. Pre-heat your oven to 160deg fan. In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil until hot and sear the beef. Remove to a large casserole dish.
2. Place the onion and half the two peppers into the pan and cook on a medium heat until everything has softened and the onion is becoming transparent.
3. Add the cumin, coriander, tomato puree, tomato ketchup, sugar, paprika and tikka masala powder into the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, before adding a little water - just enough to mobilise the spices and create a thick sauce.
4. Add to the beef and stir to combine. Add seasoning, cover and place into the oven for 2 hours. Take a look after an hour to ensure it hasn't dried out. If it is looking dry, then just add a little water to take it back to being saucy - but not runny.
5. At the end of the two hours, remove from the oven and stir in the remaining peppers and the beans. Add a little more water if necessary, bearing in mind it's got another 45 minutes at least, to go.
6. Finally, add the sliced potatoes in a neat layer on top, drizzle olive oil over, season and put back in the oven for 45-50 minutes or until the potatoes are golden.