Rukmini Iyer’s recipe for festive spiced beef and dauphinoise potato pie

This is such a gorgeous winter one-pot dish. Don’t be alarmed by the long cooking time: the oven does the work, and this slow-cooked beef pie will look after itself with just a couple of short interventions from you. The amount of time you’ll spend in the kitchen is minimal, which is exactly what you want when you’ve got friends over for drinks and dinner to celebrate the run-up to Christmas – and it really does look spectacular when it comes bubbling out of the oven.

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Prep 15 min
Cook 3 hr 5 min
Serves 4-6

For the filling
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 inches ginger, grated
4 cloves garlic, grated
800g organic beef stewing steak
3 heaped tsp ras el hanout
1 tsp sea salt flakes
2 tbsp olive oil
400ml beef stock
1 x 400g tin tomatoes

For the topping
1kg maris piper potatoes, very thinly sliced
80g butter, melted
1 tsp sea salt flakes
100g cheddar,
grated
Freshly ground black pepper

To prepare, preheat the oven to 220C (200C fan)/425F/gas 7. Tip the onions, ginger, garlic, beef, ras el hanout, sea salt and olive oil into a wide-based casserole dish or roasting tin, and mix well. Rearrange the beef pieces so they form one layer on top, then transfer to the oven to brown for 20 minutes.

Turn the heat down to 170C (150C fan)/300F/gas 2. Remove the casserole dish from the oven, and add the beef stock and the tomatoes. Stir well, cover, then return to the oven for a further hour and a half.

Remove the dish from the oven, and turn the heat up to 190C (170C fan)/375F/gas 5. Mix the thinly sliced potatoes with the butter and salt in a large bowl, and arrange on top of the beef, pressing down gently to let the lower layers submerge in the cooking liquid.

Scatter over the grated cheese and freshly ground black pepper, and return to the oven for another hour and 15 minutes, until the potatoes are golden brown and cooked through.

Let it stand for 10-15 minutes, then serve up with some greens – I like a mix of garlicky spring greens and tenderstem broccoli. Pairs well with a bordeaux or Argentinian malbec.

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