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

Proper beef, ale & mushroom pie

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(105 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 onions, 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 cubes 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 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 is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

    • 1 egg yolk, beaten, to glaze


    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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    18th Mar, 2019
    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.
    27th Jan, 2019
    The Mrs just asked for this for her birthday dinner.
    8th Jan, 2019
    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!
    27th Dec, 2018
    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!
    20th Oct, 2018
    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.
    22nd Sep, 2018
    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
    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!!
    24th Aug, 2018
    Absolutely loved this recipe. Followed to the letter, was tempted to add mustard or Worcester sauce. So glad didn't play around before trying. Goes to show some times less is best will not be looking for another steak and ale recipe. Thank you very much
    20th Mar, 2018
    I live in rural South Dakota, USA, where I have to drive from 25 to 60 miles to any shopping center. Sometimes we get really bad blizzards. So, with nothing much to do and nowhere to go in the snow, I binge-watch TV shows. One of them was Pie In The Sky. Well, after that, I absolutely had to make a pie - something I have never made in my life. I found this beef and mushroom pie online. The only dark ale I could find locally was Newcastle Brown. I overworked the crust and probably mis-calculated the British measurements. I had to use regular button mushrooms and was unable to find dried mushrooms. BUT the outcome was so yummy. I served it with leafy greens and home-made blue cheese dressing and my guests (I know one isn't supposed to try out new recipes on guests) loved it. Thank you so much. I learned that it doesn't have to be perfect to be delicious. Thanks again. I gave this recipe 4 stars because I found some of the directions to be a bit vague.


    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
    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.
    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
    24th Nov, 2017
    Thanks for your question. It's shortcrust.
    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
    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.
    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
    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?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    13th Feb, 2014
    Hi there, thanks for getting in touch. You need a 24-28cm pie dish for this recipe, as stated in step 4 of the method. Hope you enjoy the pie!Best wishes, BBC Good Food team
    4th Feb, 2014
    I'm thinking of making up a couple of these pies for my elderly grandfather. I don't live local to him and my mum is quite stretched with the care he needs so I try and help out any way I can. Can I freeze the filling and pastry together? So could I cook the pie, let it cool and freeze (will it reheat well?) or can I line a pie dish with pastry, blind bake and freeze, then add the cold filling to the frozen pie base, top with pastry lid and freeze altogether so that my mum can just pop the whole pie into the oven and cook without the need to do any of the pastry assembling herself?


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