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

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    1st Jan, 2014
    Simply outstanding, and the best steak pie I have ever had. The recipe is also versatile : I used a slow cooker overnight, and though I allowed the crock pot to cool, I didn't bother with the refridgeration step. It still worked perfectly. It takes time to prepare, but it is such an enjoyable process that it doesn't seem like effort at all. I served with boiled new potatoes and minted peas, and a glass of Rioja. In the Scottish tradition, this was my New Year's Day dish. Superb.
    6th Aug, 2013
    supertasty! but will precook the pastry a little next time, as my pie dish is quite thick and the base didn't cook through all the way. Also I skipped the sugar - and it still tasted lovely!
    28th Apr, 2013
    So good, the longer you leave it in the oven the better it gets! But super tasty and never had anything but compliments about it. I always add a splash of worcester sauce in too.
    15th Apr, 2013
    Bloomin' lovely! Only alterations i made were; no porcini and i used 1 tablespoon of redcurrant jelly in the place of the caster sugar. Really tasty and makes a lovely big pie so lots of leftovers for tonight :-)
    20th Feb, 2013
    Amazing! Made this for my husbands birthday.... He loved it! Served with mash, peas and gravy. The only thing I might do differently next time is use a lighter pastry recipe, or perhaps precook the pastry a little, as it did not cook all the way through (although I am still getting used to a new oven, so maybe this was more the problem!). Certainly the best filling I have ever found for a beef pie!!
    10th Jun, 2013
    This is probably a 5 star pie but I only made the gorgeous filling (which is definitely delicious). Didn't have any porcini and my bacon was unsmoked, although neither change seemed to spoil the outcome.
    8th Jun, 2013
    I bet this is a 5 star recipe but I didn't do the pastry... The beef filling is DELICIOUS. I used beer from the Dorset Piddle Brewery and we drank beer from The Salopian Brewery as we enjoyed the beef and mushrooms with salad to make it more summery!
    6th Feb, 2013
    Well worth the small amount. Loved by myself and my family.
    4th Jan, 2013
    I made double the quantity of this recipe (minus the porcini mushrooms and cellery, only because I did'nt have any), used one portion on the day, froze the other portion and used it two weeks later. Both were absoulty delicious, even though I cheated, and used bought puff pastry. A great recipe.
    1st Dec, 2012
    If I want to use ready made pastry which do I buy?


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