Beef & Ale Pie

This entry is filed under Meat Recipes.


Warms you from the inside

As the cold dreary weather continues and spring remains elusive, I thought you’d appreciate a rib sticking meal to keep out the chill winds.

There’s something wonderfully old fashioned about a homemade meat pie. Just the thought of it conjures up images of mouth wateringly tender beef, bathed in a sea of rich, savoury gravy, topped with a crisp, flaky crust of golden pastry.  Mmmmm….

steak-ale-1a2puff-pastry-32Done well, meat pies must surely be in the top five of Great British dishes. And when it’s sustenance and satisfaction you need, not much can top the humble meat pie.

If you want to add a few kidneys, by all means do. I didn’t because I can’t stand the taste or smell. It goes back to when I was cooking on a charter yacht. Devilled kidneys were a popular breakfast choice, but it took all my effort not to gag when frying them.

 Instead, I prefer to add a few button mushrooms towards the end of cooking time, rather than at the beginning, that way they retain their shape and flavour.  You can also substitute red wine as an alternative to bitter ale, but you won’t get the same nutty taste that beer brings to the dish.


 If at all possible, please go the extra mile and make your own pastry. It’s cheaper and tastes nicer than bought and makes all the difference to the end result. Besides, the recipe I’m giving you here only takes 20 minutes to prep. so you could easily throw it together while the beef’s cooking…! 

The Key To Success:
Use large chunks of lean meat first coated in seasoned flour
2) Fry them uncovered in an wide pan in plenty of fat to stop sticking
3) Make sure the fat is hot but not smoking when you add the meat
4) Fry the meat in batches to prevent the temperature decreasing
5) Deglaze the pan in between batches to stop the sediment from burning

And So To The Recipe…

Serving Size: 4
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 hrs 40 minutes
Shelf Life: 3 days in fridge. 3 months in freezer

1 kg shin of beef
3 red onions
200g button mushrooms
400ml bitter ale
2 tbsp Knorr concentrated liquid stock
100g lard
4 tbsp (100g) plain flour
1 tsp each salt, mustard powder and cayenne pepper
250g rough puff pastry

1.5 litre casserole dish
wide frying pan
slotted spoon
tongs or 2 forks
plastic bag
oven gloves
tin foil
1.5 litre pie dish
pie funnel

Here’s What You Do:

Boil a little water in the kettle, then peel and chop 3 onions and put aside.

Measure 5 tbsp flour into a bag, add the salt, mustard powder and cayenne seasonings and shake to mix.

Preheat the oven to 130C/250F/Gas ½.

Cut the meat into 3.5cm cubes, removing any fat and gristle. Tip into the bag and coat all the pieces well. Shake off any surplus flour (reserve all the flour for later) and transfer the meat to a plate.

Next, add half the fat to the frying pan and place over a high heat. When hot add half the meat and brown on all sides, then using a slotted spoon, transfer to the casserole dish.

Pour off any excess fat remaining in the frying pan and deglaze with a splash of boiling water from the kettle. Scrape up the sediment from the bottom of the pan and mix well with the water then tip it into the casserole.

Return the pan to the heat and wipe dry. Add the remaining fat and repeat the process, browning the rest of the meat and transferring to the casserole.

Now tip the chopped onion into the remaining fat, reduce to a medium heat and sauté the onions for several minutes until lightly golden. Add the remaining flour from the bag and cook with the onions for a minute or so stirring constantly.

Gradually add the beer and 2 tbsp Knorr liquid beef stock and bring up to a boil, then pour over the meat. Top up with water if needed so the meat is just covered.

Cover with tin foil and a tight fitting lid and place on the middle oven shelf. Leave to cook for 2 hours. Now stir in the button mushrooms, coating them well with the beefy sauce and squashing down any meat so it’s under the surface.

Return to the oven without the lid and increase the temperature to 150ºC/300ºF/Gas 2 and cook for a further 40 minutes, then leave to cool. You can either refrigerate at this stage until ready to begin baking.

Baking The Pie:
Preheat the oven to 220ºC/425ºF/Gas 7 – slightly less for fan assisted

Position a pie funnel in the centre of a 1.5 litre pie dish (it acts as a vent for the steam to escape and prevents the pastry going soggy).

Carefully pack the cooked meat around the funnel, don’t overfill or the gravy will leak out during baking. Reserve some of the gravy and pour into a jug to serve later.

Roll out the pastry to ½ cm thick and the shape/ size of the dish. Make an incision in the pastry middle for the funnel top to go through.

Roll the pastry onto the rolling pin just up to the incision and lay it over half the pie you might want to rest it on the pie whilst you feed the top of the funnel through the pastry incision, once through finish rolling it over the pie.

Seal the edges, brush the pastry with a little beaten egg or milk and slide onto the middle shelf for 20 minutes or until golden.

9 Responses to “Beef & Ale Pie”

  1. Uma says:

    Well you know what they say Mary, the way to a mans heart is through his stomach!

  2. Mary Chiswick says:

    My boyfiend loves pie so I am def going to make this one for him and he will love me forever!!!!

  3. Uma says:

    Hello Cookin Demon
    You can use any stewing cut of beef, ask for ‘chuck’ if you can’t get shin, but i’m certain you can buy it, if in doubt ask for lower leg of cow!!!

  4. Cookin Demon says:

    Do I have to use shin of beef ??? Not sure we get this particular cut in the US.Thanking you in advance.

  5. Kathryn says:

    OMG! Don’t let Mike see this or he’ll make me cook it for him. Stop putting the rest of us to shame 🙂

  6. Uma says:

    Ha Ha! You can do it Bruce – it’s easy – just follow the instructions.
    You can cheat and buy puff pastry if you like, but thats all!

  7. Bruce says:

    Can you come by and make this for me please oh Goddess of the stove

  8. Julia says:

    Wow! I was wondering what to make for my family when the come over at the weekend and now I know. It looks totally delicious … I could eat it right now. 🙂

  9. Rita says:

    I’m soooooooo hungry! That looks delicious, Uma!

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