Last Saturday, I set out to make a Steak & Ale pie. It’s a British classic and one of my all-time pub favourites, so I grabbed a bottle of Bath Ale and set to work.
For the filling:
- 1 lb braising steak
- 1/8 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2-3 tablespoons butter
- 6 shallots
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 bottle of dark ale
- 1.5 cups beef stock
- dash of red wine vinegar
- dark brown muscovado sugar
- 2 bay leaves
For the topping:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup vegetable lard
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup cold water
First, make sure you have some fresh steak from the butcher. We buy all of our meat from the butcher now and it has made a massive difference in taste and price!
Also, make sure you get a good quality dark ale. I used locally brewed Bath Ales Dark Side.
Combine flour, salt and pepper in a bowl and use it to coat your beef.
Melt a tablespoon of buter and make sure your pan is good and hot. Add the flour-coated steak to the pan in small batches. You may have to melt more butter before each batch.
Make sure you don’t crowd the pan or your steak will stew rather than brown!
Once the steak is browned, add it to your crock pot with 1/4 of the bottle of ale. Turn the crock pot to high and cover until the ale starts bubbling.
Meanwhile, add your shallots and garlic to the pan you just used for the beef and cook them on medium heat until they soften.
Add them to the crock pot…
Now add the beef stock,
followed by the rest of the ale.
Add a dash of red wine vinegar,
… and a heaped spoonful of brown sugar.
Finally, add two bay leaves, turn the crock pot down to low and leave it for 3-4 hours.
For the pastry
Sift the flour and salt in a bowl.
Cut up the butter into cubes and add it, cutting it in with the flour mixture using two knives.
Make a well and add half of the cold water.
You won’t need all of the water, but add bit by bit until the pastry holds together.
Wrap it in plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge for a few hours.
Assembling the pie
After your beef has cooked, bring it back to room temperature and preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F). Transfer the filling to your pie dish.
Roll out your pastry.
Top your pie with the pastry and make sure you’ve cut some slits on the top. Brush the top of the pastry with milk or egg yolk. (I actually didn’t do this because I couldn’t find my brush)
Bake for 30 minutes or until your pastry is golden and puffed. Mine didn’t puff very well because I ran out of butter and had to use vegetable lard :(
This pie passed the Chris test!
Yes, I’m drinking coke out of a wine glass…