Beef, ale & mushroom pie in a round pie dish with slice out on a plate

Proper beef, ale & mushroom pie

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(108 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

Nutrition:

  • kcal1244
  • fat70g
  • saturates29g
  • carbs105g
  • sugars15g
  • fibre7g
  • protein54g
  • salt2.61g
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Ingredients

    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 onions, roughly chopped
      Onion

      Onion

      un-yun

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

    • 4 large carrots, chopped into large chunks
      Carrot

      Carrot

      ka-rot

      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 cubes mixed with 400ml boiling water
    • small bunch each thyme, bay leaf and parsley, tied together

      Thyme

      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 mushrooms, 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

      Butter

      butt-err

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

    • 1 egg yolk, beaten, to glaze

    Method

    1. If you’re using the porcini mushrooms, cover 10g of mushrooms in boiling water for 20 mins, then squeeze out but keep the soaking water. 

    2. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a large casserole dish, brown 1kg large chunks of braising steak really well in batches, then set aside.

    3. Add 2 large onions, roughly chopped, and 4 large carrots, chopped into large chunks, to the pan. Add a drizzle more vegetable oil, then cook on a low heat for 5 mins until coloured. 

    4. Add the soaked porcini mushrooms, sizzle for 1 min more, then scatter over 2 tsp golden caster sugar and 4 tbsp plain flour, stirring until the flour turns brown.

    5. Tip the braising steak and any juices back into the pan and give it all a good stir.

    6. Pour over 300ml dark ale, 2 beef stock cubes mixed with 400ml boiling water and the porcini mushroom soaking liquid, discarding the last few drops.

    7. Season the stew, tuck in a small tied-together bunch of thyme, bay leaf and parsley, and bring everything to a simmer.

    8. Cover with a lid and place in the oven for about 2 hrs, until the braising steak is really tender.

    9. While the stew is cooking, heat a drop more vegetable oil in a frying pan and sizzle 200g smoked bacon lardons for 3 mins until crisp. 

    10. Turn up the heat, add 200g halved chestnut mushrooms and cook for 4 mins until golden. Remove from the heat and, when the stew is cooked, stir them through.


    11. 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.

    12. Make the pastry up to 2 days before you want to assemble the pie. Crumble 650g plain flour and 250g cold diced 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.

    13. 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.

    14. 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.

    15. Cut a third off the pastry and set aside. Roll out the pastry to a thickish round that will easily line the pie dish with an overhang, then line the tin.

    16. Add the braising steak 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.

    17. 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 1 beaten egg yolk, then cover with the pastry lid.

    18. Trim the edges, crimp the pastry, then re-roll your trimmings to make a decoration, for example, 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.

    19. 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 greens.

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    Comments, questions and tips

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    0182mum
    5th Oct, 2019
    1.05
    Have just made this with the intention of leaving it for 24 hrs, as it’s suppose to be better made the day before. Having read a lot of the reviews, the only two things I was concerned with was the actual dark ale and the lack of flavour in the recipe. However, with so many excellent reviews saying how wonderful the gravy was I ploughed on. So having bought ‘a dark ale’ I followed the recipe exactly and popped it covered into the oven. After 1 1/2hrs I checked and decided it definitely needed longer. At this point I also took the lid off as it was extremely watery. Giving it the benefit of the doubt again I ploughed on. The meat was farm bought braising steak, and I cut it up into quite large cubes. So if I was cooking it as I normally would I would have given it at least 2 1/2 anyway. So after the 2 hrs I decided to take one reviewers advice and cook for 3 hrs for lovely tender beef. However, At the end of cooking, I tasted it, It was horrible. So I decided to put the smoked bacon and mushrooms in there and then and give it another 1/2 hr hoping the smoked bacon would give it a lift. Everything was cooked but it still tasted bland. So I added some mustard, and stirred, a bit better, so I put in some Worcester sauce and extra stock cubes. It is now tasting a lot better. Now in all honesty it could have been the ale I used, but as it doesn’t give you any idea to which ale you should use in the recipe I thought any dark ale would be ok. (It was an expensive one) Also, given so many reviews I also thought like me that different people would have used different dark ales. So I don’t know what went wrong, I am generally a competent cook, and cook everything from scratch. But this was extremely bland with no flavour whatsoever. Having changed it I can’t comment on how it would have tasted a day later, but I will not be making it again. If looking for a rich beefy tasting gravy then this is not probably the one. I will continue to look for a tasty beefy pie.
    harsha29
    24th Sep, 2019
    5.05
    This is a fantastic recipe and off the scale!!! Although I eat anything that moves, my wife doesn't eat beef. So, substituted with lamb and used lamb shoulder. Came out really good and instead of making the pastry, used shop-bought short cut pastry. Can't wait till I try again.
    charlottemarriott
    18th Mar, 2019
    5.05
    I made this for the first time for family and was really pleased with the result. It will definitely be my go to beef pie recipe from now on. I was pretty faithful to the recipe although I didn't get to start 2 days in advance. I started it the night before, can hardly imagine it could be improved.
    ebknudsen
    27th Jan, 2019
    5.05
    The Mrs just asked for this for her birthday dinner.
    LSR103
    8th Jan, 2019
    4.05
    The filling for this is simply delicious. I tried the whole recipe, with pastry, but in a ceramic pie dish. Not only did the pastry on the base remain raw, but the top came close to burning. I'm pretty sure that had I done precisely as the recipe instructs, and used a metal pie dish, all would have been fine. It's a lovely recipe. Beware of the sugar instructions, though: under "ingredients" it correctly instructs 2 teaspoons of golden caster sugar. For some reason under "method" this correct proportion is booby-trapped to become tablespoons. Doing as instructed here would have catastrophic results. It's DEFINITELY teaspoons. This bizarre error is the only reason I am withholding one star. Otherwise a corking recipe.
    Lowenna Luke's picture
    Lowenna Luke
    3rd Jan, 2019
    Smells divine but tastes vile because I followed the method and put 2 tbsp caster sugar in, not 2 tsp as per the ingredients list. PLEASE CHANGE!
    lisacollins1977
    27th Dec, 2018
    5.05
    Made for family at Christmas and every plate was clean, even the kids. It was the best steak pie recipe I have done. I slow cooked it in the oven for longer at lower temperature (made the day before) then the day after just added a top crust to reduce pastry in a vain attempt to make it healthier so we could fit in trifle after ;) I spooned off and reserved excess gravy prior to the cooling step, as this would be difficult once cold. Added a dash of Worcester sauce, and the ale I used was Black Sheep. Definitely will be making again, yum!
    Tally75
    20th Oct, 2018
    4.05
    I blind baked the pastry for 20mins before adding the pie filling and pastry lid and cooking for another 35 -40 mins or so (not wanting a soggy bottom) The addition of a good dollop off wholegrain mustard to the pasty mix gave it that extra flavour.
    Estrella82
    22nd Sep, 2018
    5.05
    Real crowd pleaser! If cooking for fussy waters it’s hardcore to gin weing with this as it’s so tasty. I put a bit extra flour in a I prefer a thicker sauce and I don’t always put in a pie- it’s nice just as a stew or putting a little puff pastry lid on top rather than a full on pie but the flavours are delicious.
    Kasia Labaziewicz's picture
    Kasia Labaziewicz
    5th Sep, 2018
    5.05
    I'm American and we don't really have a savory pie culture here but I really wanted to try this. I figured this would be a good recipe to start with because it has the word "proper" in the title and it's from the BBC lol It is absolutely delicious! It was a huge hit with my family even though they don't typically eat much meat. I even made a vegetarian pie with mostly the same ingredients for my sister. I just fried some extra onions, carrots and mushrooms with some tofu and added just enough pasta sauce to hold everything together. Then I used the left over pastry dough to make a pretty decent single serving pie. I'm making this for guests again this week. Absolutely love it!!

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    LSR103
    4th Jul, 2019
    4.05
    If I blind bake the bottom pastry before adding the filling, can the pastry top still be attached? I've only ever blind baked the base of open flans and tarts before, which effectively bakes the pastry completely. I cannot imagine how you could attach a raw pastry top to this. Many thanks.
    goodfoodteam's picture
    goodfoodteam
    8th Jul, 2019
    Thanks for your question. You do not need to blind bake the base of the pastry in this recipe.
    Nikola Andrews's picture
    Nikola Andrews
    9th Dec, 2018
    If I make the filling then freeze it, how do I go about using it to make a pie when I want one? Do I defrost the filling in the fridge and then make the pastry case and add the filling once it's defrosted? Also, would you advise it works better to freeze the filling and make into a fresh pastry pie at a later date, or are you best to make the whole pie and freeze it? How would you cook it from frozen? Thank you!
    goodfoodteam's picture
    goodfoodteam
    11th Dec, 2018
    Thanks for your question. If you freeze just the filling, then we'd suggest defrosting fully in the fridge overnight before adding the pastry. If you want to freeze the pie - take it to step 18 but freeze before brushing with egg. When ready, remove from the freezer and brush with egg. You'll need to cook from frozen for an additional 10 - 15 mins or until the pie is piping hot throughout.
    BashiaC
    22nd Nov, 2017
    Which type of partry it is? shortcrust or puffy? I want to buy the pastry, because I don't have the time to do it myself
    goodfoodteam's picture
    goodfoodteam
    24th Nov, 2017
    Thanks for your question. It's shortcrust.
    jross2005
    14th Dec, 2015
    Hi, I'm planning to make the filling of this pie in the slow cooker which i am just new to using. Can you please recommend what I would need to adjust in the method based on using a slow cooker. Much appreciated.
    goodfoodteam's picture
    goodfoodteam
    18th Dec, 2015
    This will take you about 8 hours on the low setting. For best results reduce the liquid content by about one third, as you don’t get the same evaporation when cooking this way. For the best flavour we still like to pre-fry as in step 1 (except the mushrooms can go in at this stage too), although you could just put everything in together cold and thicken the gravy at the end of cooking.
    harkstar1
    27th Nov, 2014
    Hi, I am going to make these as individual pies for a dinner party. Would it be ok to make them in advance (before cooking)? and then cook later? If so, how far in advance could I assemble the pies? Would they go soggy if I assembled them without freezing or blind baking the pastry base? Thanks
    dog_eared
    9th Feb, 2014
    I think I am missing something from this recipe - It reads " Roll out the pastry to a thick-ish round that will easily line the pie dish with an overhang, then line the tin." What tin?

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