2 tablespoons sunflower oil, plus extra for oiling
750 g (12 lb) lean stewing beef, cubed
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons plain flour. plus extra for dusting
300 ml (2 pint) Guinness
150 ml (4 pint) beef stock
2 teaspoons hot horseradish
1 tablespoon tomato purée
1 bay leaf
200 g (7 oz) cup mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper
beaten egg, to glaze
500 g (1 lb) puff pastry, thawed if frozen
100 g (3½ oz) Stilton cheese (rind removed), crumbled 21:


1.Preheat the slow cooker if necessary. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the beef a few pieces at a time until all the meat is in the pan, then adu ane onion and fry over a medium heat, stirring, until the meat is browned.
2.Stir the Hour, then gradually mix in the Guinness and the stock. Stir in the horseradish, tomato purée and a little salt and pepper, then add the bay leaf and bring to the boil.
3.Transfer to the slow cooker pot and press the meat below the surface of the liquid. Cover with the lid and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until the meat is cooked through and very tender.
4.When almost ready to serve, discard the bay leaf and divide the beef mixture between 4 pie dishes, each about 450 ml (4 pint). Mix in the mushrooms, then brush the top edge of the dishes with a little egg.
5.Cut the pastry into 4 and roll each piece out on a floured surface until a little larger than the dishes, then press on to the dishes.
6. Trim off the excess pastry and crimp the edges. Mark diagonal lines on top and brush with beaten egg.
7. Put on an oiled baking sheet and cook in a preheated oven, 200°C (400 F), Gas Mark 6, for 30 minutes or until golden.
8.Sprinkle with the Stilton and leave to melt for 1-2 minutes. Serve with green beans and curly kale, if liked.
9.FOR BEERY BEEF HOTPOT, make up the meat base as above, omitting the mushrooms and adding 2 diced carrots
10.Spoon then cover with 700 g (1 lb 6 oz) thinly sliced potatoes, pressing them just below the stock.
11.Cook as above. Dot 25 g (1 oz) butter over the potatoes. lift the pot out of the housing using oven gloves and brown under a preheated hot grill. the slow cooker pot,

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