Beef & beer pie

Beef & beer pie

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(20 ratings)


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Cooking time

Prep: 1 hr Cook: 4 hrs

Skill level

Moderately easy


Serves 4

A steak and ale pie is a comforting classic - this version has suet pastry and a dark rich gravy

Nutrition and extra info

  • Before baking
Nutrition info

Nutrition per serving

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  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 small celery stick, chopped
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 700g beef shin, featherblade or stewing steak, cut into large chunks
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 beef stock cubes
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 540ml can dark ale or beer

For the pastry

  • 500g plain flour, plus a little extra
  • 250g vegetarian suet
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • a few pinches poppy seeds

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  1. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Using a flameproof casserole dish with a lid, soften onion and celery in the butter. Stir in the flour until it has disappeared, then stir in the beef and Worcestershire sauce. Crumble in stock cubes and add thyme. Pour over ale, bring to a simmer, then cover and cook in the oven for 2½ hrs. Remove lid and cook for another 30 mins – this should thicken the sauce nicely.
  2. Increase oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. For the pastry, whizz the flour, suet and 1 tsp salt in a food processor until there are no suet lumps. Keeping the motor running, dribble in 1 tbsp water at a time until the pastry starts to come together, then tip onto a lightly floured surface and bring together with your hands.
  3. Roll out half the pastry and use to line a 20-22cm pie dish. Using a slotted spoon, spoon in all of the meat, then pour over some of the sauce until the meat is just coated. Put the rest of the sauce into a saucepan. Roll out the remaining pastry to cover the pie. Trim the edge with a small, sharp knife, then crimp or fork the edges to seal. Make a small heart from cuttings. Brush top of the pie and heart with beaten egg, then dip heart into poppy seeds and stick to top. Bake for 30-40 mins until golden brown and crisp. Reheat sauce and serve with the pie along with some mash and greens.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, February 2012

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joylock's picture

I have made this pie many times now but always use shin of beef and cook it slow, slow, slow... Always add mushrooms and use ready made shortcrust pastry for the top. If you freeze the filling it seems to give it more flavour when defrosted. It's a very good stand by.

LStevens78's picture
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The pie was delicious! A real all round family pleaser - usually unheard of in our house! I didn't have quite enough vegetable suet for the recipe so improvised by making it up with 50g of butter. And I think my food processor struggled a little with the pastry so I finished it by hand in a large mixing bowl, which was much more fun for me and my six year old who was helping!

CotswoldMummy's picture
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I love this recipe...don't always use thyme and have found that Snecklifter beer is great in this recipe. I don't always make it as a pie either...sometimes just a casserole and add in some sausages which always goes down well

vrog's picture

I can't work out what went wrong but this was horrible!! I often make steak pies and I agree that the filling was delicious. I haven't used suet pastry for a pie before, only for steamed puddings. It came out of the oven golden but with the fat from the suet sizzling on top. The pastry had all the delicacy of a deep fried doorstep and I could hardly cut through it. I see everyone else is full of praise, so it must have been me ;(

kieraann's picture

Made this for Sunday dinner yesterday. Added a few mushrooms at the onion/celery phase and used Newcastle Brown Ale. Took about 15 minutes longer in my oven for the pastry to brown. Served with honey roast roots and mustard mash. It was delicious! The gravy is really good!! Will definitely cook this again. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Joannalbutler's picture
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Made this for Sunday dinner and it was delicious. Used lean stewing steak and old peculiar, like some of the others. I also cooked the meat for longer too, to make it nice and tender. Will definitely make this again. Yum.

twobit's picture
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Beautiful, used puff pastry as some the others and thought it was absolutly lovely.
Also used old peculiar to go with time i might slow cook the beef for even more tender

georgidsimpson's picture

Amazing pie, made it with Theakstons Old Peculiar ale which really added flavour to the pie. Also used ready made pastry which worked a treat! YUM! Def cooking this again!'s picture

Great pie. Thank you.'s picture

Amazing pie. Really delicious.  

charlottefjordan's picture

This pie is amazing! I currently live in Kenya and have wanted to have a go at it for ages; I got hold of some excellent beef and ale is difficult to find so used a bottle of local larger (Tusker) which worked a treat. Made it for dinner guests who all loved it. Didn't make the heart for the top, but wrote 'xmas' with left over pastry instead; a perfect warm up to the festive season!

richpettz's picture

Love this recipe, ahev made it many times now and it always goes down well. Only change I made is to slow cook the filling over night before serving for lunch the following day. Makes the filling even more delicious! I make it with Theakstons Old Peculiar.

kazlouandandy's picture

This was lovely, very easy to make. Used readymade shortcrust pastry, really tasty.

cazzydance's picture

I have made this countless times and my husband and any other lucky guests absolutely love it!! The one I do though- to balance out the bitterness of the beer is to add some sugar. It makes it a lot more palatable if you find it too strong. Cranberry sauce would also be a great addition if you wanted to balance it out!

bassymum's picture

This was superb! I used Marston pedigree pale ale, (on offer at corner shop), I thought that this complimented the beef perfectly, not bitter. Also a bottle to drink with the meal!
I cheated and used ready made light puff pastry.
Will make again soon, need to review my choice in stock cubes though as 2 gave a nice beefy taste but too much salt for my palate, low salt stock cubes next time.
Great success with mash, beans & carrots. Strawberry cheesecake for pud!

toughtoplease's picture
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I found this a bit too overpowering with the ale- I used Hobgoblin. I added about 100ml extra of hot water and some chicken stock to lighten it which worked. I didn't bother with the pastry but just whacked on some puff pastry instead. Was a roaring success all round.

tartar's picture

This recipe is quite bitter with the dark ale. The recipe for the beef and veg casserole is a much better recipe for a pie. It's a very similar recipe only with no ale and the gravy is gorgeous.

sue40beck's picture

Used the filling for pasties added a few chopped carrots and drained the sauce to use as a gravy. Very tasty.

hocuspocus1949's picture
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Yummy, scrummy and delicious. Used light ale and puff pastry but everyone loved this pie. Try the blueberry cheesecake for pud - also delicious!

bella0307's picture
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This was my first time making a steak pie and I chose this recipe over the others listed on my search, because of its relative simplicity. I made it yesterday and it was absolutely delicious - rich and flavourful, and amazingly straightforward even though of course you do have to allow several hours of overall cooking/prep time. I used a middling-brown ale, not bitter but with a robust aroma, and I toyed with the idea of using a sheet of frozen puff pastry that I had on hand, but in the end decided to have a go at suet pastry, using some shredded suet that I'd got in to make a clootie dumpling ( but hadn't done:)
The pastry was tender and golden, the filling glossy and melt-in-the-mouth, and my husband really enjoyed the extra sauce which he could help himself to...truly this pie was a hit with us all. I loved the heart detail, too, it made it a bit special and I was so proud when I presented it to the family! This recipe will now be among my favourites.