Proper Beef and Ale Pie

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Beef and Ale Pie is a true British classic, a pie full of fabulous ingredients and lovely memories and for me, my mum’s pie was legendary.

Do not skimp on the ingredients or the time for this dish as the long slow cooking tenderises the meat and all the flavours work together to produce the tastiest pie. 

I based this recipe on one from the fabulous food writer Angela Boggiano from her book super book  Pie 


The Filling:

25g plain flour

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

900g thick braising steak (cut into 2.5cm chunks)

25g salted butter

3 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 large onions (thinly sliced)

3 carrots (roughly chopped)

2 whole garlic cloves (lightly crushed)

1 stick celery (roughly chopped)

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons tomato puree

500ml dark beer

300ml beef stock

3 bay leaves

2 tablespoons fresh parsley (roughly chopped)

The Pie:

2 quantities of shortcrust pastry

1 egg (lightly beaten)


Make the Filling:

In a roomy bowl or baking dish, place the flour and season with a generous pinch of salt and a couple of good twists of pepper.

Heat the butter and oil in an ovenproof casserole dish on high heat taking care not to burn the butter.  Add the steak in three separate batches, brown all over for a few minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, lift the steak from the pan and drop into the flour stir to coat the meat,  set aside and repeat twice more.

Once the meat is seared, add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic to the pan and cook gently for 2 minutes, then add the steak back to the pan.

Add the Worcestershire sauce, tomato puree, beer,  stock and parsley,  season well with plenty of black pepper and a little salt, stir and bring to the boil.

Cover the casserole then reduce to a gentle simmer and cook slowly for about 2 hours until the meat is tender and the sauce is thickened and glossy.

Lift off the lid, stir, then cover again leaving a small gap and cool completely.

Assemble the Pie:

Heat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6.

Roll the pastry large enough to line the bottom and create a lid for your pie dish. Line and then fill with your cooled stew, taking care to fill with meat and veg and not too much gravy, you do not want your pie to be soggy.

Sit a pie funnel in the centre of the filling to support the pastry and stop it from sinking into the filling. Lay the lid over,  trim to fit and crimp the edges to create a good, tight seal.

Brush with beaten egg and make a little hole in the centre to reveal the pie funnel. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden.

Serve your beef and ale pie piping hot with piping hot leftover gravy from the casserole dish. 

Notes on Beef and Ale Pie:

You can make the pie filling ahead of time and let it rest for 24 hours and it will only improve in flavour. 

Don’t fancy a pie? Eat as a stew with mash and root vegetables. 

Credit: © Elaine Lemm