Proper Beef and Ale Pie

I love that Great British food has made a big come back recently. Us Brits are so much more patriotic about our food since the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics last year, and rightly so. We have so many wonderfully comforting and satisfying traditional dishes.

With the weather being so miserable, despite it being spring, here's a very comforting and very British recipe, which is also very easy to make. This is Proper Beer and Ale Pie - proper and traditional with no twists or additions of garlic or tinned tomatoes, the way it's meant to be made. The way my nana would have made it.

Beef and Ale Pie is a perfect for turning inexpensive cuts of meat into a feast. As the beef is slow cooked in alcohol it becomes soft and tender. Don't worry about giving this to kids as all the alcohol in the beer evaporates during the cooking.

Keep it very simple and serve with boiled or proper mashed potatoes and some simple steamed green vegetables.

Proper Beef and Ale Pie: Serves 6:

Time:  20 mins prep + 3+ hours cooking

Cost:  £1.83 per serving

Calories:  440 per serving

  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 750g diced casserole beef / stewing steak
  • 30g plain flour
  • 400ml dark ale or stout
  • 400ml strong beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon brown sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcester sauce
  • 2 – 3 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 200g whole button mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons Gourmet Garden parsley or chopped fresh parsley
  • 23cm sheet ready rolled puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten 

To make your Beef and Ale Pie filling:

Heat the sunflower oil in a large saucepan and cook the onions for around 8-10 minutes until they are soft and have some colour. Turn up the heat, add the beef and stir fry until brown. Sprinkle over the flour and stir until dissolved. Add the ale, stock, brown sauce and Worcester sauce. Give everything a good stir and season to taste. Bring to the boil then turn down the heat and simmer gently for 2 ½ hours, partially covered, stirring occasionally so it doesn't catch on the bottom. Add the mushrooms and parsley. Stir well and simmer for a further 30 minutes without a lid so they gravy can reduce a little. Leave to cool.

For best results, refrigerate the pie filling for up to two days before making the pie.

To assemble and bake your Beef and Ale Pie:

Spoon the pie filling into a large oven proof dish or 6 individual oven proof serving dishes:

Brush the edges of the pie dish with some beaten egg:

Place the puff pastry over the top and use a sharp knife to trim the excess:

Use scraps of pastry to decorate the pie and brush the pastry well with the beaten egg:

Use a fork to press the edges of the pastry onto the egg-washed edges of the pie dish to seal:

Make a little slit in the top of the pie with a sharp knife. Bake the pie for 30 – 40 minutes in a pre-heated the oven at gas mark 5 / 180 C until piping hot and golden. Leave to rest for 10 minutes before serving.