Proper Beef and Ale Pie

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Beef and Ale Pie is a true British classic, a pie full of fabulous ingredients and lovely memories – well for me for sure, my mum’s pie was legendary.

Do not skimp on the ingredients or the time for this dish, 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 Pie, another British classic.


2 quantities of shortcrust pastry

The Filling:

25g plain flour

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

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

25g salted butter

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 large onions (thinly sliced)

3 carrots (roughly chopped)

1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons tomato puree

500ml dark beer

300ml beef stock

1 egg (lightly beaten)



Season the flour with a generous pinch of salt and a couple of good twists of pepper.

Add the steak and toss well to coat the meat all over.

Heat the butter and oil in an ovenproof casserole dish, add the steak in three separate batches and brown all over, remove and set aside and repeat twice more.

Add the onions and carrots to the pan you seared the meat in and cook gently for 2 minutes, then add the steak back to the pan. Add the Worcestershire sauce, tomato puree, beer and stock and 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.

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 the 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. 

Credit: © Elaine Lemm