British Steak and Ale Pie
British Steak and Ale Pie is a classic dish found in most pubs around England, just like mum used to make. Tender pieces of steak are cooked with vegetables and English ale, then wrapped in a flaky buttery crust. This true British, stick to your ribs food. Best served with real British chips and peas.
Being British means loving a good savory meat pie, and nothing is better than this British Steak and Ale Pie.
English 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 easy shortcrust 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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/175°C degree oven, uncovered for 20 minutes and this will heat it through and get the crust nice and crispy.
Using leftover roast beef (Sunday roast)
I have been asked a few times about using beef leftover from Sunday roast or roast beef dinner. This will also tenderize any overcooked beef. Start the recipe at step 6 (cooking the vegetables) and then go on to step 7. On step 8, cook the vegetables in the beef stock (without the beef) for about 10- 15 minutes or so until the carrots are tender. Remove from the heat, then stir in the beef right before you add the filling to the pie and continue per the rest of the recipe.
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!