Beef and Ale Pie is such a classic winter dish and whilst it is far from full on winter in these parts I very much needed a hearty big dish for dinner on the weekend just past… It was wood chopping time for us, so two days, one crate of beer, two tonne of Akác wood (False Akacia if you are in the UK, Black Locust if you are in the US) and my trusty chopper… Yes I am that childish, my annual chopper jokes are among my favourite! Now I could get some one to split our winter wood for me or indeed order it already chopped but for some strange reason we view it as our end of year ritual, so we spend the whoel weekend driving ourselves into the ground and bust a gut to get our winter heat all chopped and set aside. Naturally that goes hand in hand with a hearty meal, that to me usually means a stew or in this case a pie and this simple mushroom, beef and ale pie really hit the spot.
Most pies seem to call for steak and I have no idea why for me this type of dish is calling for something like shin of beef, something really cheap and a cut of beef that just loves being cooked long and slow. So my beef and ale pie always uses shin of beef slowly cooked on the stove top, not in the slow cooker, you really need the evaporation that you just don’t get in a slow cooker, but it is all really low maintenance… Just get everything ready and then simmer for 90 minutes or so, it also smells incredible! I have to confess though that whilst I made my puff pastry for my last pie (pork pie with apple and cider), I usually decide life is way to short for that nonsense so buy it from the store. So sure this dish takes 3 hours to cook, but you are only working for maybe 30 minutes of that time so all in all it is a really simple but properly hearty dish guaranteed to please!
Mushroom, Beef and Ale Pie
Beef and ale pie is winter stalwart add some mushrooms and bake in a pot under puff pastry and I am in pie heaven.
1TbspCooking Oil.Neutral, plus extra to fry the beef.
300gShin of Beef.Cut into 1.5 cm chunks.
1/4TspCoarse Sea Salt.
1/4TspGround Black Pepper.
125gChestnut Mushrooms.Cut into quarters.
Ready Made Puff Pastry.Enough to cover the pie pots.
Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry off the onions until a dark gold colour which should take 10-15 minutes and then transfer to a medium pan.
Place the flour, salt, pepper and dried thyme in a bag along with the beef and toss it around to coat it and then batch fry off the beef in the frying pan until nicely seared and transfer to the same pot as the onions.
When the beef is seared deglaze the frying pan with the Worcestershire sauce and then pour in the stick and bring to the boil.
Pour the stout over the beef and onion mix, stir in the grainy mustard, add the bay leaf then simmer over a low heat for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally, check for seasomning and add salt and pepper as required.
Melt the butter in a frying pan and saute the mushrooms for 5 minutes and add to the beef and then continue too cook for a further 30 minutes and allow to cool, you can do this as far in advance as you wish, you can even freeze if you wish.
Preheat your oven to 200° C.
Fill the pie pots to the top.
Mix together the flour and water and brush on to the edges of the pie bowls and take a thin strip of puff pastry and stick it around the edges of the pie bowl.
Now take a larger piece of the puff pastry and cover the top of the pie pots trimming away the excess pastry and brush with beaten egg before placing in the oven and baking for 30 minutes.
My pie pots are 10cm in diameter and 5cm deep, I like to serve with honey and butter glazed carrots and roasted broccoli.
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