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21st Jan, 2022

Recipes From My Travel - Paul's chilli beef pie with spicy kale gravy

Rugby Editorial 4th Dec, 2021

CHEF and blogger Paul James writes for our paper.

OKAY, this is a dish that has not been recreated from my travels, unless you count coming from the living room to the kitchen wondering what’s left in the fridge.

It’s that time a year again where you use up everything the fridge freezer has to offer so it’s emptied in time for all your Christmas fare.

Or as I like to call it the pre-Christmas buffet!

I’m hoping this kale gravy dish is uniquely mine – I mean who would come up with a dish like this?

I wandered into the kitchen really fancying a chilli, but seeing the packet of ready rolled pastry, half a block of Greek feta cheese and sorrowful bag of kale that was – to be honest – hours away from being out of date, lying in state on the middle shelf of the fridge, I thought why not let’s throw this concoction together.

I’ve now had this spicy kale gravy numerous times since, I absolutely love it.

I’ve even had it on its own, served up in a bowl with a couple of rounds of bread and butter….(How old am I sounding).

Honestly it’s really lovely and healthy (ish)

Visit for more on Paul’s blog and his recipes.


Chilli beef pie with spicy kale gravy


For the chilli

1 large onion finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

500g Best Steak mince

1tbsp ground cumin

1tsp smoked paprika

1tsp of chilli powder

1tsp ground cinnamon

400g tin chopped tomatoes

250ml beef stock

400g Tinned red kidney beans.

Half a block of Greek feta cheese.

For the Spicy kale gravy

Bag of kale

1 onion finely sliced

2 potatoes, boiled whole with skins on the diced.

1 red pepper, diced

1 de-seeded chilli

1 finely sliced garlic clove

1/2 tsp of ginger paste.

2tbsps of mild curry powder

200ml of water

1 good knob of unsalted butter.

For the pastry lid

A pack of ready rolled puff pastry.


1. For the chilli, In a large frying pan, dry fry the steak mince until cooked.

2. There shouldn’t be any liquid to drain if you are using good quality mince.

3. Add the onion, garlic and the spices for the chilli ingredients.

4. Fry until the onions are soft, stirring to make sure the spices don’t catch on the pan.

5. Add the tomatoes, beef stock and kidney beans.

6. Bring to the boil, then reduce until the liquid has turned into a thick sauce.

7. Tip the chilli into a casserole dish, I used a large non-stick loaf tin.

8. Once the mince has cooled, push in cubes of feta (trust me on this) then roll the pastry lid on top. Tuck in the edges or crimp and make a slight insertion with a knife in the centre of your pie.

9. Cook in a preheated oven at 180c until the pastry is cooked and golden.

10. In the meantime, in a clean frying pan add the onion and quickly fry until soft, add the garlic, ginger, cooked potato, chilli and pepper. Stir well and fry for a minute or so.

11. Then add the curry powder and continue to cook for another couple of minutes.

12. Now add the water, turn down the heat and simmer.

13. Reduce the sauce by half. Season to taste, remember you don’t want the rawness of the curry powder to come through.

14. Rinse the kale and add to the pan, Don’t worry about the excess water, it will make up the gravy. Add a knob of butter on top, cover with a lid and cook for about four minutes until the kale has wilted but still has bite and colour.

15. The gravy should be smooth and slightly thickened.

16. Serve the spicy kale gravy on a plate with a good portion of the chilli beef pie and a small bowl of your favourite fruit crumble.


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