Steak and Ale pie is a staple of British pub fare. It was one of the first meals that I ate in England at a lovely corner pub with a pint. Pies can be filled with anything from Chicken Biryani to Steak and Kidney and are generally served with a pile of mashed potatoes, and mushy peas. The entire mound is then covered in a brown gravy. Not exactly diet food but what do you expect when eating in a pub?
Cooking with leftovers
I found myself with a lot of meat filling from a batch of Cornish Pasties I had prepared for a party. Not wanting to waste food, I decided to add a few additional ingredients and make some British Steak and Ale pie. The filling for both the pasties is chopped meat and vegetables but unlike the pasties, the pie also has a healthy dose of gravy.
I prepared the gravy from a mixture of beef broth, Guinness Stout (I didn’t have any British Ale), and Bisto. If you are unfamiliar with Bisto, it’s a granular gravy mix that my wife introduced me to after we started dating. I can’t find it locally, so whenever I’m in Nashville, I pick some up. You can make a brown gravy base with flour and butter but don’t make it too thick.
It’s all in the crust
The crust can make or break any pie. You want it flaky and light but to hold together. British pie is a bit different as it is generally served free standing (no pan), so the crust must hold together to contain all that delicious meat and gravy inside. For my pie, I used a store-bought roll out crust. It worked well and saved me some preparation time.
The pie turned out well and was served with a side of peas and carrots. I personally had three of them over a few days. These pies will keep for several days in the refrigerator and can be reheated in the microwave so if you are cooking ahead, you may want to consider having pie for dinner. Live, Laugh, Love and Eat Well.
Steak and Ale pie
Make 4 pies
By Britt Allgood
- 16oz finely chopped steak (not ground beef)
- 1 large potato, peeled and finely diced
- 1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
- ½ to ¾ cup of rutabaga, peeled and finely diced
- 1 small onion, peeled and finely diced
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 packages of prepared roll out crusts (total of 4 rounds)
- 1 cup beef stock, low sodium
- 1 – 12oz Ale or Stout
- 2 to 3 TBSP Bisto mix
Mix together all the chopped ingredients and add your seasoning. Heat a large skillet to medium hot and cook the filling until the potato and rutabaga start to get soft. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
In the same skillet, add the beef broth and ale or stout. Bring to a boil and carefully whisk in the Bisto. Once the Bisto has dissolved, the gravy should thicken but you don’t want it too thick.
If you don’t have Bisto, melt 2 TBSP butter in the skillet and add 2 TBSP flour. Cook the flour, stirring constantly until it starts to get a light brown color, then add the beef stock and ale. Whisk to remove lumps. If the gravy is too thick, add additional broth to thin it out.
Assembling the pie: Preheat oven to 425F. Take the crusts out of the packaging. Invert one of them and place on the crust. With a sharp knife, cut a round in the crust about 1 to 1 ½ inches larger than the diameter of the ramekin (see photo). Set rounds aside. With remaining crust, cut out rounds about 4 to 4 ½ inches in diameter for the top.
Coat the inside of 4 ramekins (about 4-inch diameter) with butter. Place the larger round inside the ramekin and line the bottom and up the walls with extra crust hanging over the side. Fill the inside with the meat and vegetable filling and pour enough gravy in to just below top of filling. Place the smaller round on top and pinch together the top and bottom crusts to seal. Cut two small slits in the top to vent.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 375F and continue baking for 30 to 45 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Take out of oven and allow to cool. Serve in ramekin or if feeling brave, use a knife or off-set spatula to loosen the pie and then invert onto a plate. Serve topped with gravy and a side of peas and mashed potatoes.
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