Proper beef, ale & mushroom pie

Proper beef, ale & mushroom pie

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(90 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

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    6th Feb, 2015
    OK Like everyone here I think I used the recipe as a base and added a few extras: I added a splash of Worcester and soy sauce (I do with most savoury dark meat sauces) I used shortcrust for the base and flaky for the top, and blind baked the base for a short time first. In addition, I added a couple of cloves of garlic, and some chopped swede (starting to be a bit cornish pasty like as a filling). I cooked the 'stew' for 4 hours in a slow cooker, having thickened the sauce a little. I then let it cool overnight in the fridge before making the pie the following day. Outstanding!! I'm currently making some more ready for the 6 nations game when 19 will be around my house for the games.... Searching out all available 'pie-like' crocks at the moment... Oven space could be interesting tomorrow!
    18th Jan, 2015
    This turned out really well, although I only made the filling and ate it as a stew - I used a 5.2% Shepherd Neame double stout, and added some swede.
    Jeff the Chef
    30th Dec, 2014
    This is a great recipe. After the beer went in the mixture tasted rather bitter, which was a worry, but it cooked out nicely and the end product was superb, especilaly thanks to Mrs Jeff's marvellous pastry-making skills.
    Ru Rua
    12th Dec, 2014
    This is a really lovely recipe! I made it to use up some leftovers (including two bottles of Guinness which gave me the search idea in the first place!) I made a meat version and a veggie one. I'm veggie and the husband is a dedicated carnivore! I used all the ingredients in the recipe for the filling with a couple of leeks added as well that I had left over and a little less beef. Oh and veggie stock as I don't have a beef one. I didn't make it into a pie as I was going for a "what's left in the fridge recipe" but used it as a stew with a little extra water and some spuds thrown in. My husband absolutely adores it. He was in heaven and he has a very fancy chef feeding him at his workplace so it's high praise indeed! I made the veggie version with a about half a pack of quorn, some firm smoked tofu and some chickpeas. Bit of a mix but thats what I had! It turned out great. I love it! For veggies I would recommend getting some some smoked tofu for it for that smokey infusion. I'll definitely be making it again although I'll do the pastry with it next time!
    8th Nov, 2014
    Used recipe as inspiration for vegetarian saitan mushroom ale pie, which also turned out brilliantly!
    29th Aug, 2014
    Use this recipe on a regular basis but recently not using pastry as we are cutting down on grain. Works well as a casserole type and serve with baby spuds or just a medley of veg. Very tasty, freezes well and children love it.
    1st Jun, 2014
    Tried this without the mushrooms and with shop bought pastry, it tasted great and it was simple to make. I cooked for longer than stated though, for around 3hrs so the meat was very tender. I served as individual pies
    24th May, 2014
    Really good pie. Made filling two days before. Just did a rim of pastry around the pie dish and then a top layer of pastry over the filling. Worked well, same timings in oven. Definitely recommend.
    13th Feb, 2014
    Had this for dinner tonight! I began yesterday with the filling and then finished today for my partner's birthday dinner. A lot of time to spend on a pie, but it was worth it! I got 10 out of 10 from him, and I think it was the nicest pie I've made. The filling was rich and flavorful (I used the suggested porcini mushrooms) and the pastry was the best I've managed to make - I did it in the food processor (half butter half lard) and it was short and flaky and rolled out well. I served with horseradish mash and broccoli.
    13th Feb, 2014
    Only made the filling but it was delicious. Will definately make it again and as the pie next time.


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