Sunday, 13 March 2011

This Morning Steak and ale pie with thyme suet crust

This is the pie i last made on This Morning.  I love it best as a pie filling, however this steak and ale mixture can also be eaten on its own with some buttery mash or you can add a few dumplings to the pan for the last 20 minutes of cooking for a hearty winter stew.

It's so versatile and what's more it's economical too as all the ingredients can be bought for £5.

If you want to watch a video of me making the pie live on This Morning, click here

Serves 4
for the pie filling
800g braising steak, which is a really economical cut of beef
1 punnet of mushrooms (I like chestnut)
1 large white onion, peeled and sliced
1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 sprig each of fresh thyme and rosemary (or just one if that's all you have)
1 330ml can of your favourite ale (I like Newcastle Brown or Guinness)
½ pint of beef stock (or just a beef stock cube depending on how thin you like your gravy)
1 large carrot, chopped

Ingredients for the pastry
150g self-raising flour
75g beef suet
A few sprigs of thyme, chopped (dried is fine)
A couple of tablespoons of cold water (no more than 100ml)
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 150C/gas 2.

Start with your veg. Put a little oil into a large ovenproof pan or pot and, over a medium heat, sweat the onions and garlic (sweating means cooking without colouring, which softens the onions and makes them sweet).

Once the onions are cooked and have turned a little see-through, turn the heat up and add the carrot, mushrooms and herbs.

Fry the veg over a medium-high heat for a few minutes to get a little colour on the mushrooms. Don’t worry about the onions; as long as you keep stirring they won’t burn.

Tip everything into a bowl then turn the heat up high and add the diced meat to the pan.

Season the meat and colour on all sides. Keep the heat high to do this. You want to get a good colour on the meat which adds flavour to the finished pie.

Once you have coloured the meat (it shouldn’t take long; remember you are just getting a colour on all sides, not cooking it) add the vegetables to the pan, stir to combine and, keeping the heat high, add the ale.

Stir everything together. It’ll bubble away but that’s good!

Now if you like a thick gravy just crumble the beef stock cube into the pan and, if you like a thinner gravy add the beef stock. It’s entirely up to you.

Put a lid on the pan and put it in the preheated oven, for anything between 90 minutes and three hours. The meat will be tender after 90 minutes but the longer you leave it the better it will be.

Take the pan out of the oven and check the juices. If you like the pie filling a little dryer, put the pan on the hob and, on a high heat, boil the mixture to reduce it. Keep an eye on the pan and turn the heat off when it reaches the consistency you want. It’s usually fine straight from the oven but some people do prefer a thick gravy.

You can make the pie filling the day before or even pop it in a slow cooker while you’re at work. It will keep for three days in the fridge.

Now you’re ready to make the pastry. First preheat (or turn up the oven, if you are making it at the same time as the filling) to 190C or gas 5.

Combine the ingredients in a bowl and add the water until you have a sticky dough.

Dust the dough with flour and wrap in cling film to rest for around 10 minutes. This relaxes the gluten in the flour and stops the pastry from shrinking.

Select your pie dish, something big enough for four servings, and lightly butter the dish including the edges.

Roll the pastry out on a floured surface (using a floured rolling pin and lightly floured hands) until you have a circle that will fit over the top of the pie dish. Roll backwards and forwards, never side to side, or you will get an uneven rise on your pastry.

Add the filling to the pie dish and fit the pastry lid, pressing down round the edges to seal it.
Roll up the edges of the pastry so that you have a thick crust. Don't trim it! Well you can if you want but I like the thick crust on the pie.


  1. pity the video does not play

  2. how long do you cook pie for in oven ?

  3. This sounds so good. you can't beat recipes like this. Thanks for sharing.