Steak, Ale and Mushroom Pie

I found out yesterday that this week is British Pie Week so, even though I have not long posted a pie recipe, I just had to do another to mark the occasion. (I never need much of an excuse to make a pie!)

I decided to go for one of the most traditional British pies, and I found this very nice looking recipe on the BBC Good Food website. I really haven’t made any major changes, apart from omitting their suggestion of dried porcini mushrooms, as I didn’t have those to hand.

I also decided to have a go at making the pastry. Usually I would use frozen, ready-made pastry sheets, so feel free to substitute these. I think shortcrust pastry is best for this dish. 

This recipe does take some time, but it isn’t hard work.

Ingredients – serves 6:

  • 2 tbsp oil (vegetable or olive)
  • 1 kg/just over 2lb braising or chuck steak (I used chuck), cut into chunks
  • 2 brown onions, chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 tbsp plain/all purpose flour
  • 300ml/10 fl oz beer (a darker beer is best)
  • 2 beef stock cubes mixed with 400ml/13.5 fl oz boiling water
  • few sprigs of thyme, tied together
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 150g/5oz bacon pieces (either bacon bits or chopped bacon rashers)
  • 200g/7oz button mushrooms, chopped

Pastry (or use frozen ready-made shortcrust pastry):

  • 650g/23oz plain/all purpose flour
  • 250g/just over 2 sticks cold butter, diced
  • 200ml/6.5 fl oz ice cold water
  • a little milk or beaten egg, to glaze

Method:

  • Heat the oven to 160C/140C fan forced/320F.
  • In a large frying pan heat half the oil, then brown the steak chunks in 2 batches. Set aside on a plate.
  • Add the onions and carrots to the pan with a little more oil, then cook on a medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until they get a little colour.
  • Scatter over the sugar and the flour and stir until the flour colours.

  • Tip the meat and any juices back into the frying pan and mix with the onions and carrots.
  • Pour over the beer and the stock and add the thyme and bay leaf.
  • Bring to the boil.
  • Carefully transfer into a large casserole dish with a lid (at least 2.3 litres/10 cups size).
  • Cook, lid on, for 2 hours or until the meat is tender. (Tip: if your casserole dish is quite full, put it on a baking tray to catch any gravy if it boils out of the dish.)
  • If you have time, then the pie will work better if you can leave the stew to cool.
  • Meanwhile, make the pastry (if you are making your own). Rub the flour and butter together until it resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in the ice water and, using a flat-bladed knife, combine to make a dough. Knead the pastry, then wrap in cling film and put in the fridge to rest for an hour. (If you leave the pastry in the fridge for longer than an hour it will need to sit at room temperature for a few minutes before you roll it.)
  • Heat a little more oil in the frying pan and cook the bacon for a few minutes, or until starting to brown.
  • Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook for about 4 minutes, or until golden.

  • Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan forced/430F.
  • Heavily grease a large (24-28cm/9-11in) pie dish, and then dust with a little flour.
  • If you have made the pastry, then cut about a third off (to use as the pie lid). Roll the remaining pastry until it is big enough to line your pie dish with an overhang.
  • Mix the beef and the bacon and mushrooms, then use a slotted spoon to put into the pie dish, ensuring that you remove the remnants of the thyme and bay leaf at this point.
  • Add a little of the stew gravy to the pie, but not too much as you don’t want the pie to be too wet. (You can use the leftovers as a gravy to pour over the top of the pie.)

  • Roll the pastry for the pie lid.
  • Use a little milk or beaten egg to moisten the edges of the pie sides, then put the lid on top of the pie.
  • Crimp the edges with a fork, and decorate with any leftover pastry.
  • Glaze the pie with a little more milk or beaten egg.
  • Put a flat baking tray into the oven, and when it gets hot take it out and put the pie dish on it.
  • Cook the pie (on the baking tray) for 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Once cooked, leave the pie in the dish for about 10 minutes.
  • Serve with mashed potatoes and peas, plus the gravy left from the stew stage.
  • Enjoy!

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