Proper beef, ale & mushroom pie

Proper beef, ale & mushroom pie

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(91 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 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

    5. 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. 

    6. 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.

    7. 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.

    8. 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.

    9. 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.

    10. 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, questions and tips

    Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
    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.
    11th Mar, 2018
    I followed the recipe exactly. Made the filling a couple of days ahead and added an extra 10 mins to the cooking time. I used a 28 cm Le Cruset ceramic pie dish and placed it on a pizza stone. No soggy bottom! Plenty of filling for 8, plus some left over filling. I will happily make again.
    Yvonne Bailey's picture
    Yvonne Bailey
    21st Feb, 2018
    Having cooked this for the first time for my son and his friend, I received feedback from them saying it was one of the best steak pies that they had ever had. A fantastic meal, easy to prepare, and just an all round crowd pleaser. Shall be doing again with variations!
    1st Jan, 2018
    Used bought puff pastry but best steak pie: Gravy was amazing!!
    26th Oct, 2017
    Seriously good pie! My family loved it.... I cheated and bought pastry though but the filling was really tasty.
    8th Dec, 2016
    I made this as a casserole with dumplings. It was amazing and I will be making it again I'm sure.
    15th Sep, 2016
    Yay this recipe! I omit the porcini & use dry herbs (including onion powder instead of whole onions because I find it less overpowering), but otherwise stick to the recipe & it's delicious. I find it takes more like 3 hours for the beef to go tender with my oven :)
    Jan M
    8th Dec, 2015
    Best ever beef pie.....even better with a suet crust lid, rather than a pastry case
    17th Nov, 2015
    I make this pie regularly and its always great. If you can get hold of the porcini mushrooms do add them as they add a great flavour. I have never left the filling to cool and have only ever put a lid on the pie and straight back in the oven and its enough pasty for my family. I tend to do a big batch and freeze the rest of the pie meat and have it with mash and veg as a quick supper.
    5th Nov, 2015
    Just made the stew component in the slow cooker - recipe is easily doubled. Freezes well in portion sizes for quick and easy meals. Will most definitely be making again and again!


    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?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    13th Feb, 2014
    Hi there, thanks for your question. The best thing to do is freeze the pie assembled but unbaked, then defrost fully and bake as directed in the recipe. Hope it works out well and your Grandad enjoys the pies.Best wishes, BBC Good Food team
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