Proper beef, ale & mushroom pie

Proper beef, ale & mushroom pie

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(73 ratings)

Prep: 1 hr Cook: 3 hrs Prep and cooking time is staggered

A challenge

Serves 6
Escape to your kitchen this weekend and make this comfort food classic - it's well worth the effort

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable


  • kcal1244
  • fat70g
  • saturates29g
  • carbs105g
  • sugars15g
  • fibre7g
  • protein54g
  • salt2.61g
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    For the beef

    • small handful dried porcini mushrooms (about 10g) - not essential but very tasty
    • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
    • 1kg braising steak (buy this as a whole piece and cut it yourself into large chunks)
    • 2 large onion, roughly chopped



      Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

    • 4 large carrots, chopped into large chunks



      The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

    • 2 tsp golden caster sugar
    • 4 tbsp plain flour
    • 300ml dark ale
    • 2 beef stock cube mixed with 400ml boiling water
    • small bunch each thyme, bay leaf and parsley, tied together


      This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

    • 200g smoked bacon lardons, or chopped rashers
    • 200g chestnut mushroom, halved

    For the pastry

    • 650g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
    • 250g lard or cold butter (or half of each), diced, plus extra for greasing



      Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

    • 1 egg yolk, beaten, to glaze


    1. Start by braising the beef. If you’re using the porcini, cover them in boiling water for 20 mins, then squeeze out but keep the soaking water. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Heat half the oil in a large casserole dish, brown the meat really well in batches, then set aside. Add the onions and carrots to the pan, adding a drizzle more oil, then cook on a low heat for 5 mins until coloured. Add the soaked mushrooms, sizzle for 1 min more, then scatter over the sugar and flour, stirring until the flour turns brown. Tip the meat and any juices back into the pan and give it all a good stir. Pour over the ale, stock and porcini soaking liquid, discarding the last few drops. Season stew, tuck in the herbs and bring everything to a simmer. Cover with a lid and place in the oven for about 2 hrs, until the meat is really tender.

    2. While the stew is cooking, heat a drop more oil in a frying pan and sizzle the bacon for 3 mins until crisp. Turn up the heat, add the mushrooms and cook for 4 mins until golden. Remove from the heat and, when the stew is cooked, stir them through. Leave everything to cool completely – better still, make this up to 2 days in advance and keep it in the fridge as the pie will be better if the filling is fridge-cold when added. Can also be frozen for up to 3 months and defrosted when needed.

    3. Make the pastry up to 2 days before you want to assemble the pie. Crumble the flour and lard, or butter, together with a generous pinch of sea salt until completely combined, then add up to 200ml ice-cold water to make a soft dough. This can be done in a food processor if you want. Knead the pastry, then wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 1 hr. The pastry can be made up to 2 days ahead and kept in the fridge or frozen for up to a month.

    4. When you want to make the pie, heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7 and place a flat baking tray in the oven. Heavily grease a 24-28cm pie dish and dust well with flour. Cut a third off the pastry and set aside. Roll out the pastry to a thick-ish round that will easily line the pie dish with an overhang, then line the tin. Add the beef to the dish using a slotted spoon so some gravy is left in the container, as you don’t want too much sauce in the pie. You want the filling to be slightly higher than the rim of the dish. If you have a bit too much, set it aside.

    5. Roll out the remaining pastry to a thick round big enough to cover the dish. Brush the edges of the pastry in the dish with egg yolk, then cover with the pastry lid. Trim the edges, crimp the pastry, then re-roll your trimmings to make a decoration, if you like – I always decorate my pies with pastry leaves. Brush the top heavily with egg. Make a few little slits in the centre of the pie, place on the hot baking tray, then bake for 40 mins until golden. Leave the pie to rest for 10 mins while you heat up the gravy left in the container. Serve the pie at the table with a jug of gravy and a big pile of something green and leafy.

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    Comments (66)

    loopsandco's picture

    Tried this recipe last night. Cheated a little also used the slow cooker and puff pastry but changed the ale for Guiness as had it in the house. Was a success, very rich and tasty. Will definately try it again but next time I will make double in the slow cooker and freeze some.

    salbal's picture

    Made this for dinner last night. Didn't use the porcini mushrooms but was still absolutely delicious. Made the full meat recipe, froze half; made all the pastry but only used 4/5 for the pie; used 20cm pie dish and was more than enough for 4 adults.

    cheetarawlings's picture

    very tasty. I cheated a little as missed out the porcini mushrooms and used a ready rolled puff pastry topping but I will definately be doing again. A big hit.

    adrienne317's picture

    Have made this on several occasions. Filling is best made the day before. I used puff pastry crust. I prefer not to use the bacon. I make mine in individual pie dishes as I have a fussy family. Some don't like mushrooms. I like the idea of using a slow cooker (thanks for that jellybean81) I might try that next time.

    vikkiekaye's picture

    Made a few pies in the past, but cheated with tinned stewed steak to practice with....
    This went down extremely well with me and my boyfriend! Was worried about not blind baking, but stuck to the recipe... The best pie I have ever made. Managed too create one large pie and a mini pie in a enamel dish. Well worth the effort!

    secretchef's picture

    Excellent Pie - Well worth the effort (now with rating).

    secretchef's picture

    Excellent pie - really worth the effort.

    wendy667's picture

    made this for last nights dinner it was great, will make again used red wine instead of ale.

    alisonstodd's picture

    Gorgeous pie. I was a bit worried that the pastry underneath would be soggy but it was perfectly cooked. I think the secret is to use a metal/enamel pie dish and to ensure it stands on a flat, pre-heated backing tray when in the oven. I added mustard powder to the pastry ingredients. Also, I would suggest removing the meat with a slotted spoon before it has cooled, when there is plenty of gravy. I tried to do it when it was 'fridge cold', as the recipe suggests, but there was no gravy at all left behind. I glazed the top with milk, rather than egg, because I don't like how egg makes the pastry shiney.

    alexia87's picture

    This is really time consuming but so worth it, everyone loved it.

    fuji115's picture

    Really, really nice! Don't skip dried porcini mushrooms. They make a huge difference!

    special_k's picture

    Hubby made this, he followed the recipe exactly, made it day before. Was a fantastic pie & cooked lovely. He halved the recipe & half the pie fed 2 men along with veggies & mash the other half saved for the following day.

    willmckitt's picture

    Lovely recipe - was definitely worth the effort.

    justineaguilera's picture

    I made this pie for my boyfriend to have when i was away, he really did enjoy it. I had never made a pie before and was quite worried about -how difficult it would be but it was quite easy to be honest! will be making again

    vonnie's picture

    Just a quick question: I like a pie with a pastry base as well as lid and was wondering if this pastry would be suitable for that, or if it would be at risk of going too soggy?

    ladyverte's picture

    Absolutely gorgeous! I used beef dripping for the pastry which just topped if off. Yum! A meal for champions

    chris210's picture

    Simply fantastic!

    missn1's picture

    very nice! Will definately be trying this again.

    foodielove's picture

    This is a lovely recipe and makes plenty. I froze half for later. Doesn't necessarily have to be a pie mix, this can also be topped with potatoes or served with mash.

    The recipe was an all round winner - I didn't use porcini mushrooms (I don't like them) so it didn't take anywhere near 4 hours to make. I will be making again!

    catharsist316's picture

    Made this for Christmas dinner and it was great! Had about twice as much pastry as we actually needed though - think we'll need to invest in a bigger pie dish for next time!


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