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Photo: Patrick Young

Winter warmer: Steak and ale pie

Serves 4


2 tbsp oil — I used olive oil, but any will do

1 kg braising steak cut into large chunks

3 tbsp plain flour

2 onions, roughly chopped

4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

2 or 3 carrots, roughly chopped

1 bay leaf

A few fresh thyme sprigs

200 ml beef stock


Ground black pepper

400 ml dark ale, Guinness works perfectly

1 teaspoon sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 pack ready to roll puff pastry (should be around 300 g)


1. Put the beef, flour, and some salt and pepper in a sealed sandwich bag and shake. This should coat the beef in a layer of flour without making too much of a mess.

2. Remove the beef, shaking off excess flour. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pan on a medium heat. Brown the meat in batches, without crowding the pieces and ensuring that they are seared well on all sides. Once cooked, put the pieces in a bowl. Splash a bit of ale in the pan, removing the meaty bits stuck to the bottom. Pour the liquid into the bowl over the meat.

3. Add another tablespoon of oil and heat for a minute on a low to medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, and herbs to the pan and stir. Cook until softened, around ten minutes, making sure it doesn’t burn. If it’s catching, turn down the heat.

4. Add the beef back into the pan along with the rest of the ale and beef stock. Make sure the beef is covered, adding a little more stock if you need. Cover and simmer at a low heat for an hour to an hour and a half, until the sauce has thickened. Add more salt and pepper to taste, and a teaspoon of sugar.  Let it cool slightly and fill your pie dish.

5. If using shop bought puff pastry, cut it to fit the top of your pie dish.

6. If you’ve made your own pastry, roll it to half an inch thickness and cut it to fit the top of your pie dish.

7. Brush the rim of the pie dish lightly with the beaten egg so that the pastry sticks to the dish. Add your pastry top, pressing down at the rim. Add any pastry decoration you wish. Brush the pastry with the egg wash and cut a couple of slits on the pie to allow steam to escape.

8. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius/gas mark 6 for 30 minutes, until the pastry is puffed, golden brown and crisp, and the filling is beginning to bubble.

Photo: Esther Craven

Photo: Esther Craven

Tags: pie, steak and ale pie, winter food

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