Steak & ale pie
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1kg braising steak
2 large onions – chopped
4 large carrots – chopped into large chunks
2tsp golden caster sugar
4 tbsp plain flour
300ml dark ale
2 beef stock cubes with 400ml of boiling water
Bunch of thyme, parsley and a bayleaf all tied together
200g smoked bacon lardoons or chopped rashers
- Start by braising the beef. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Heat half the oil in a large casserole dish, brown the meat really well in batches, then set aside. Add the onions and carrots to the pan, adding a drizzle more oil, then cook on a low heat for 5 mins until coloured, then scatter over the sugar and flour, stirring until the flour turns brown.
- Tip the meat and any juices back into the pan and give it all a good stir. Pour over the ale and stock. Season stew, tuck in the herbs and bring everything to a simmer. Cover with a lid and place in the oven for about 2 hrs, until the meat is really tender.
- While the stew is cooking, heat a drop more oil in a frying pan and sizzle the bacon for 3 mins until crisp. Turn up the heat. Remove from the heat and, when the stew is cooked, stir them through.
- Leave everything to cool completely – better still, make this up to 2 days in advance and keep it in the fridge as the pie will be better if the filling is fridge-cold when added.
- When you want to make the pie, heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Heavily grease a 24-28cm pie dish and dust well with flour. Roll out the pastry to a thick-ish round that will easily line the pie dish with an overhang, then line the tin. Add the beef to the dish using a slotted spoon so some gravy is left in the container, as you don’t want too much sauce in the pie. You want the filling to be slightly higher than the rim of the dish.
- Roll out the remaining pastry to a thick round big enough to cover the dish. Brush the edges of the pastry in the dish with egg yolk, then cover with the pastry lid. Trim the edges, crimp the pastry, then re-roll your trimmings to make a decoration, if you like. Brush the top heavily with egg. Make a few little slits in the centre of the pie, place on the hot baking tray, then bake for 40 mins until golden. Leave the pie to rest for 10 mins while you heat up the gravy left in the container.
- I served my pie with long stemmed broccoli and potatos wedges and it was lovely. Perfect for a Sunday dinner.