Succulent Steak & Ale Pie
If you are going to make a lot of home-made pies like this, it’s worth investing in a little china pie funnel. They help to keep the pastry off the surface of the filling so that it can puff up and go nice and crispy and it also lets out the excess steam.
Season the flour with salt and pepper, put into a bowl with the beef and toss together well until all the pieces are coated.
Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large, flameproof casserole, add half the beef and fry over a high heat until browned. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the rest of the beef. Set aside.
Add half the butter and the mushrooms to the pan and fry briskly over a high heat for 2 minutes. Set aside with the beef. Add the rest of the oil and butter, the onions and sugar to the casserole and cook over a medium-high heat for 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until nicely browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Stir any remaining seasoned flour into the onions, followed by the beef stock, brown ale, tomato purée, thyme leaves and Worcestershire sauce and bring to the boil, stirring. Return the beef and mushrooms to the pan, season with salt and pepper, part-cover and simmer for 1 1⁄2 hours until the beef is just tender and the sauce has reduced and thickened. Leave to go cold.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and then put a 1.75-litre (3-pint) pie dish upside-down in the centre of it. Cut out a lid which is about 2.5 cm (1 inch) larger than the dish and then cut a small hole in the centre to let out the steam during cooking. Cut off a thin strip from around the edge, brush it with beaten egg and press it onto the rim of the dish.
Spoon the filling into the pie dish. Brush the strip of pastry with a little more of the beaten egg and lay the pastry over the filling. Press the edge of the pastry firmly onto the top and underside of the rim to make a really good seal, trim away the excess pastry and crimp the edge to give it an attractive finish. Chill for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg and bake for 30–35 minutes until the top is golden and the filling is bubbling hot.
- 25 g (1 oz) plain flour
- 900 g (2 lb) diced stewing or braising steak
- 5 tablespoons sunflower oil
- 25 g (1 oz) butter
- 225 g (8 oz) small chestnut mushrooms, wiped clean
- 2 onions, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 300 ml (10 fl oz) beef stock
- 300 ml (10 fl oz) brown ale
- 1 teaspoon tomato purée
- leaves from 3 sprigs of thyme
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 x 500-g (1 lb 2-oz) packet chilled puff pastry
- 1 egg, beaten, to glaze
- salt and freshly ground black pepper