How to make the perfect Steak and Ale Pie
British Pie Week is soon upon us again, and what better way to celebrate than by making your own stunning version of Britain’s favourite pie, which is of course the steak and ale pie!
It’s not hard to see why this pie has become so popular over the years. Beef and beer are a match made in heaven.
Pies were a daily staple in Medieval Britain and were eaten regularly in households both rich and poor. Steak and Ale pie first started appearing around this time and interestingly most recipes don’t even mention how to make the pastry, as it was considered a skill that every self-respecting cook would already have!
Whilst we haven’t included a pastry recipe for you, please click here to read our previous post which will show you how to make the best pastry to go with your pie.
You will need a metal pie tin to line with pastry and bake your pie in after making the sauce. These can be bought online if you don’t have one.
Now read on to learn how to make the best steak and ale pie you have ever eaten!
Firstly, a word on the beef you should be looking to use. You don’t want to scrimp on quality here so avoid cheap supermarket stewing beef. It will only end in bitter disappointment and for the effort you will be going to here, that would be tragic!
Find yourself some top quality grass-fed beef from a proper butcher. There are some amazing butchers selling online nowadays who sell meat that is a world away from the cheap supermarket stuff. Not only will it taste better, but grass fed beef is much more environmentally friendly. As for what cut to use, aim to use diced chuck, but brisket, shin or even ox cheek will work very well. Ask your butcher for advice if you need to.
Now onto the beer. This too requires careful consideration for your perfect pie. It needs to have bags of flavour, so we are not talking lager here, it has to be a deep rich ale or stout. Guiness gives a rich and fully flavoured pie, but otherwise aim for a dark porter. It’ll make all the difference to the finished result.
Ok, you’ve got your beef and your beer sorted, so here is your perfect recipe and method for your perfect steak and ale pie.
Don't forget you also have the option to buy our award winning Yorkshire steak and ale pies delivered to your door, but for you DIY (DI-Pie?) enthusiasts we are sure you will love this recipe.
This should comfortably fill 4 pies.
500g diced beef (chuck, shin, brisket or Ox cheek)
1 x 500ml bottle of dark ale or Stout.
1 carrot, finely diced
2 medium onions, finely sliced
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 sprig of fresh thyme
3-4 fresh bay leaves
500ml of beef stock (you can also use water and a beef stock paste or cube)
1 star anise
Worcester sauce (to taste)
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
- Brown some oil in a casserole pot or Dutch oven. Add the beef and brown it for around 2 minutes until nicely browned. Remove the beef from the pan and set aside.
- Add some more oil if needed and add the diced carrot and onion along with the star anise, thyme and bay leaf. Sweat them down in the oil until nice and soft. Add the garlic once the carrots and onions are soft and cook it for around a minute, ensuring it doesn’t burn.
- Add the beer to the pot and bring it to the boil for around 1 minute.
- Add the beef back into the pot along with the beef stock and a generous splash of Worcester sauce.
- Cover the pot with a lid and bake in a pre-heated oven at around 180c for around 2-3 hours. Check the pot every 30 minutes and make sure it isn’t boiling over as this will toughen the meat. Aim for a gentle simmer.
- Once the meat is tender, remove from the oven. Taste your filling and season with salt and pepper.
- Mix the cornflour with a small amount of water and mix together to form a paste. Place the pot onto the stove and heat gently before adding the cornflour mix and whisking thoroughly for around 2-3 minutes until the sauce is nicely thickened.
- Cool the sauce completely (overnight if needed) before spooning it into your pastry lined pie tin. Dap some water around the top edge of your pastry case before sealing it with a pastry lid and glazing with egg.
- Bake your pie in the oven at around 200c before the pastry is baked through. This should take around 45 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!