This steak and ale pie recipe is from Old Ogden, a venerable friend of the family and a grand old man, who liked a jar or two of Newcastle Brown Ale and ran a pie and cake shop in Northumbria, near the North Sea coast, many decades ago. This recipe has been cherished by pie bakers in the family for years, and produces a delicious, golden topped steak and ale pie.
Cuisine: Northern British Isles
Recipe Type: Main meal
Difficulty Level: Medium
Preparation Time: 30 mins
Cooking Time: 180 mins
18 oz ready-made puff pastry
5 tbsp olive oil
7 oz smoky streaky bacon rashers, cut into long strips
2 medium sized onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
30 oz marbled braising steak, trimmed of hard fat
2 cups of bottled Newcastle Brown Ale or any dark real ale
2 cups of beef stock
1 tbsp tomato paste
3 sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped from their stalks
3 bay leaves
2 tbsp cornflour, blended with 2 tbsp water
9 oz small chestnut mushrooms, wiped and halved
1 pinch salt
1 pinch black pepper
2 free range eggs
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan, then fry the smoky bacon strips with the onions until golden brown, stirring regularly. Add the chopped garlic and fry for about a minute and a half until softened. With a slotted spoon, transfer the onions, garlic and bacon to a heat-proof casserole dish.
- Cut the steak into rough 3cm cubes and season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the frying pan and fry the meat over a medium heat in 2 or 3 batches until browned all over. Add extra olive oil if the pan is dry. Transfer the beef to the casserole dish when browned.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas mark 4. Deglaze the frying pan with half of the Newcastle Brown Ale or dark ale. Bring it to the boil while stirring hard to lift and blend the congealed sediment from the bottom of the pan. Pour this over the steak in the casserole dish.
- Add the remaining Newcastle Brown or dark ale, then the stock, tomato paste and herbs to the casserole dish. Bring everything to the boil, then cover and cook in the oven for 1.5 to 2 hours or until the meat is tender. Remove the casserole dish from the oven, stir in the cornflour paste, then put it back for 5 minutes or until all the juices have thickened. Adjust the seasoning to taste and leave to cool. Turn the oven up to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas mark 6.
- Heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan and fry the chestnut mushrooms over a high heat for about 5 minutes until golden brown, then add them to the meat. Spoon everything into the pie dish around a pie bird or venting funnel.
- Roll out the pastry on a well-floured surface until about 6mm thick and at least 6cm larger than your pie dish. Cut strips that are around 1cm wide, from around the edge of the rolled pastry. Brush the rim of the pie dish with beaten free range egg and fix the strips in place round the rim of the pie dish, overlapping a little if necessary, then brush with more egg.
- Place the pastry top carefully over the filling. Trim off the excess pastry with a knife and knock up the edges. Brush the top with the beaten egg. Cut leaf designs from excess pastry and brush with egg, place firmly on pastry top.
- Place the dish on a baking tray and bake in the middle of the oven for 30–35 minutes until puffed up and golden.