British Steak and Ale Pie is a classic dish found in most pubs around England. Tender pieces of steak are cooked with vegetables and English ale, then wrapped in a flaky buttery crust.
Being British means loving a good savory meat pie, and nothing is better than this British Steak and Ale Pie. Best served with real British chips and peas.
Meat pies are popular pub grub and perfect comfort food. The filling for this pie only uses onions and carrots, but you can fill meat pies with anything you like, root vegetables, mushrooms or peas, whatever is in season.
What gives British steak and ale pie its rich, characteristic richness is the use of ale. Good, dark brown English ale is a must to get a deeply infused flavor. Braising the beef in the ale and other ingredients makes it beautifully moist and tender that comes together to make a delicious, saucy filling.
The pastry is just as important as the pie filling so they come together as the perfect marriage. This pastry recipe is my go-to for all my pies, like this minced beef and onion pie, as well as homemade sausage rolls.
An easy alternative to hand mixing the dough is making it in the food processor. This serves two purposes. It’s quick and easy (we love that), and by not using my hands, it prevents the cold butter from warming up.
What is blind baking the crust?
Blind baking is a ‘pre bake’ of the bottom crust in the pan without filling. It is weighted down with dried beans to keep it from puffing and it baked until crispy, this way, you are not putting the filling on top of raw dough which doesn’t have a chance to bake and crisp up.
The key to perfectly flaky pastry
Keeping the butter cold from beginning until it goes into the oven is the key to flaky pastry. Another point I’d like to make, I do not like a soggy crust. There’s nothing worse than lifting a slice of pie from the pan and the bottom falls out, but I have a fix for this. It’s called blind baking the crust. See below.
As an alternative to using dried beans, if you place a sheet of foil over the crust and weight it with an oven-proof dish that would it in the center (picture example below).
Can you use puff pastry for the base of a pie?
Yes, if you’re not comfortable making your own pie dough, you can use frozen puff pastry. Be sure to blind bake the crust before filling (instructions below) so it doesn’t puff up and be too doughy.
How do I stop my pastry from going soggy on the bottom?
My number one rule when making a pie, is blind baking. I cannot stand when a slice of pie, being savory or sweet where the dough is soggy and almost raw on the bottom.
This pie is by no means diet-friendly, but everything is good in moderation because this is British comfort food at it’s best. But it doesn’t stop there; this pie is just a delicious warmed up the next day. Just put the leftovers in a 350°F degree oven, uncovered for 20 minutes and this will heat it through and get the crust nice and crispy.
If you’ve tried this British Steak and Ale pie or any other recipe on the blog then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how it turned out in the comments below. I love to hear from my readers!
- For the pastry:
- 3 cups (384 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, cubed and kept cold until ready to use
- 1/2 cup (118 ml) cold water
- 1 large egg beaten to brush on pastry
- For the filling:
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 pounds (907 grams) beef chuck, cut into bite size cubes
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (177 ml) dark English ale, or dark beer
- 1/2 cup (118 ml) beef stock
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 bag dried beans
- For the pastry:
- To a food processor add the flour and salt and butter. Pulse until you get the texture of fine breadcrumbs. With the processor running, slowly drizzle in cold water until it forms a ball.
- Remove and shape into a ball on a floured board. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
- For the filling:
- Add the vegetable oil and butter to a large, heavy, ovenproof saucepan or braising pan over medium high heat. Add the beef and cook, turning the pieces until brown on all sides. Remove and set aside.
- To the same pan, add the onion and carrots and cook until the onions soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to mix well and cook for 1 minute.
- Sprinkle in the flour and stir well until all the flour is well mixed. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the ale and stir until it starts to thicken. Stir in the beef, beef stock, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper.
- Cover with a lid and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer for 15 more minutes to thicken the liquid. You do not want it too runny, it should be thick.
- Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in the center of the oven. Lightly butter a 9 or 10-inch pie dish.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and cut in half. Wrap one half back in the plastic wrap and refrigerate.
- Roll out the other half onto a floured surface to a thickness of 1/8 of an inch. Cut a circle from the dough 1/2 inch larger than your pan and place into the pie dish allowing the edge to hang over.
- Cut a large circle of parchment paper or foil larger than the pan or and place on top of the pastry in the pie dish. Pour the dried beans to the center to weigh down the dough. Or, place a piece of foil on top of the dough and weigh down with an oven-proof dish that will fit inside. Bake for 12 minutes until you start to see the edges get a little golden brown.
- Remove the crust from the oven, grab the corners of the paper or foil and remove the beans. Make holes in the bottom of the pastry with a fork to prevent it puffing. If it puffs, it should go down. Return the crust to the oven for 5 more minutes to cook the bottom of the pastry.
- Once the crust is out of the oven take the rest of the dough and roll out onto a floured surface and cut a 10-inch circle.
- Fill the cooked crust with the beef filling.
- Brush the edges of the cooked pastry with the egg. Roll the pastry circle over your rolling pin, lift and place on top of the pie with the egg washed edges down so they stick to the other dough, pinch the edges or press with a fork.
- Brush with the entire top with egg wash and cut a couple of slits in the center of the crust. Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 201 Total Fat: 8g Saturated Fat: 4g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 63mg Sodium: 650mg Carbohydrates: 19g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 6g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 6g