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Preparation Time: 30
Cooking Time: 480
Turn the slow cooker on to low to pre-warm while preparing the ingredients.
If wishing to brown the ingredients: brown the meat, eggplant, capsicum and onion in a dash of oil in a hot frying-pan. This is best done in batches.
Into the pre-warmed slow cooker put the meat, eggplant, capsicum, onion, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, capers and oregano. In a jug, mix together the tomato paste, flour, stock and wine to make a smooth mix. Pour into the slow cooker and stir to mix all the ingredients evenly together and cover with the lid.
Cook on low for 6–8 hours or on high for 3–5 hours. Serve with seasonal vegetables or make into pies using the rich Parmesan pastry (see below).
Oven Cooking Option: Add an extra cup of water. Cook, covered in an ovenproof casserole dish in a pre-heated 1600C oven for 1½ - 2 hours or until the meat is tender.
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Use your fingertips to rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir through the cheese and make a well in the centre.
Mix the egg with 3 tablespoons of the water and pour into the well. Use a knife to cut the ingredients together, adding the extra water if required. Alternatively, mix in the food processor. Turn out onto a floured bench, knead lightly to bring together. Wrap and put aside until required.
Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Place the oven rack just above the centre. Transfer the Tuscan Beef Casserole to a large 6-cup capacity pie dish or 5–6 individual pie dishes.
Roll the dough out to 3mm thickness. Cut sufficient 1cm wide strips of pastry to run around the edge of the pie dish or dishes. Brush the edges with water – this ensures the pastry strips stay in place. Press the pastry strips on.
Roll the remaining pastry over the top and press firmly onto the pastry edge. Trim the edges and use the trimming to cut out decorations for the pie top if wished.
For individual pies, divide the pastry evenly into 5–6 portions before rolling each out to cover the pie dishes.
Brush with beaten egg or milk for a golden top. Bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 minutes or until the pastry is golden and cooked and the filling is hot. Serve with your favourite winter vegetables.