This is the Ultimate Steak & Ale Pie recipe, with a mustard flavoured shortcrust pastry crust and a rich beef, mushroom and ale filling. You’ll also get a jug of gravy to serve with this classic British pie, too!
For the Pie Filling
- light oil
- 400–500g (14-18 oz) diced beef
- freshly ground sea salt & black pepper
- 1 brown onion
- 2 carrots
- 50g (2 oz) smoked bacon lardons
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 1/2 tbsp plain (all purpose) flour
- 1/2 tbsp tomato puree
- 200ml (1 scant cup) ale (see note)
- 1/2 tsp malt vinegar
- 300ml (1 1/4 cup) beef stock made with 1 stock cube
- 1/2 tsp miso paste
- 120g (4 1/4 oz) chestnut button mushrooms
For the Shortcrust Pastry
- 470g (1 lb) plain (all purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 tsp dried mustard powder (optional)
- 100g (3 1/2 oz) unsalted butter, fridge cold, plus a little extra for greasing
- 100g (3 1/2 oz) lard, fridge cold
- freshly ground sea salt
- 5 tbsp ice water
- 1 egg yolk
- flaky sea salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 140 degrees (280 farenheit).
- Heat 1/2 tbsp of oil in a large, lidded casserole dish set over a high heat. Season the beef well and brown all over, working in two batches, making sure not to burn the brown patches that will be forming on the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, peel and roughly chop the onion and the carrots. Add them to the pan along with the lardons, bay leaf, thyme, and another few grinds of salt. Turn the heat down the medium and cook until the onions are just soft and starting to turn golden.
- Stir in the flour until no white patches remain, followed by the tomato puree. Cook until the paste has turned a dark, brick red.
- Add the ale and allow it to bubble away, thickening in the pan and using the wooden spoon to scrape all the browned bits off the bottom of the dish. Add the malt vinegar.
- Make up the beef stock and whisk in the miso paste. Stir into the pot along with the cooked beef and the beef resting juices and bring everything to the boil. Clap on the lid and transfer to the oven to cook for 2 hours until the meat is tender.
- Wipe the mushrooms clean and quarter them. Heat a splash of oil in another saucepan set over a high heat and sauté the mushrooms with a generous amount of salt and pepper until cooked through and slightly browned. Set aside.
- To make the pastry, combine the flour, mustard powder, and both the unsalted butter and the lard – cut into small cubes – and a generous few grinds of salt in the bowl of a large food processor. Blitz into even crumbs.
- Leaving the food processor running, gradually add the water, a tablespoon at a time until the pastry comes together into a ball. If your food processor is as bad as mine, it will just stop spinning and you’ll need to turn the mixture out and bring it together into a ball by hand, but most of the work will still have been done for you.
- Gently knead the pastry into a smooth ball (but try not to overwork it as this will make the pastry tough!) and press it down into an oval. Wrap in kitchen wrap and chill for at least an hour.
- Remove the bay leaf and the thyme sprigs from the pie filling and stir in the mushrooms. Using a ladle, a slotted spoon and a fair bit of patience (I promise you it will be worth it!) remove approximately half the cooking liquid from the beef and set aside so you have a nice thick, rich pie filling. Season to taste and allow to cool a little.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees (390 farenheit). To assemble the pie, generously grease the pie dish with butter. Flour a clean surface and unwrap the pastry, cutting it into two slightly uneven halves.
- Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the larger of these two halves so that it is just larger than the pie tin. To get an even circle, turn the pastry as you work, carefully pressing together any cracks that form.
- Carefully slide the rolling pin under the pastry sheet, and use it to lift it onto the tin. Gently push the pastry down into the grooves and, raiding the pastry up to head height with one end, use a sharp knife to slice the pastry away from the sides of the pie tin angling the blade away from the pie with the other. Fill the base with the cooled pie filling.
- Repeat the process with the other piece of pastry to make a lid. Beat the egg yolk together with a splash of cold water and brush the edge of the pastry case with it before lifting on the lid. Gently press down on the edges to seal them before cutting the edges off the pastry case using the same raising and slicing method.
- Create ‘V’ with your two four fingers and use it to drag a pastry scallop around the edge using your thumb as the guide in the middle, before brushing the top of the pie with more egg yolk wash. If you wish to use any pastry scraps to decorate the pie, now is the time to shape them, place them, and brush them again with egg wash. Cut a small incision in the middle of the pie to allow steam to escape.
- Bake the pie for 20 minutes before removing from the oven, brushing with the remaining egg wash and sprinkling with a little flaky sea salt. Return to the oven for a further 20 minutes until burnished and golden.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining pie gravy in a small saucepan, adding water until it has reached the desired consistency.
- Leave the pie for 5 minutes to rest before slicing, serving the gravy in a small warmed jug alongside.
I’m a proud Kent girl so I used a bottle of Spitfire for this, but any good flavoured, traditional British ale that is local to you will do!