The Ultimate Winter Warmer: Steak and Ale Pie

Keep warm this winter.

Considering all the snow we’ve experienced recently, I couldn’t resist sharing my ultimate winter warmer dinner – steak and ale pie.

The meat filling takes a few hours to cook, but once you have assembled it, the casserole can simply be left in the oven whilst you go about your everyday life.

The meat becomes incredibly soft and tender, whilst your whole house/flat will be filled with a comforting, mouth-watering aroma. The finished pie could rival any pub meal I have ever eaten.

The main recipe here is for a pie, but I have also included instructions of how to make dumplings. The filling can also be made into an equally tasty stew. If you prefer, a few chunks of crusty bread is an effort-free alternative accompaniment. Also note that ready-made pastry is used; it is very difficult and time-consuming to prepare from scratch, so follow the example of all the top chefs, and buy from the supermarket!

Steak and Ale Pie

Serves 4 – generously!

Ingredients;

  • Sunflower oil
  • 200g bacon, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 850g braising steak, cut into chunks
  • 500ml ale
  • 500ml beef stock
  • 1tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 250g halved button mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp cornflower
  • 500g ready-made puff pastry
  • Beaten egg, to glaze

Method

1. Fry the bacon, garlic and onion in 1tbsp oil. Remove to a casserole dish when the onion has softened and the bacon is cooked.

2. Add another tbsp oil and fry the beef until browned. Season and add to the casserole.

3. Preheat oven to 180°C.

4. Deglaze the pan with half the ale, scraping to lift the sediment from the bottom of the pan, meaning you don’t lose its flavour. Return the beef mixture to the pan, mixing well.

5. Add the remaining ale, stock, herbs and tomato puree and bring to the boil. Transfer to the casserole, cover and cook in the oven for 1.5 hours until the meat is very tender.

6. Mix the cornflour with a little cold water, and stir until smooth and add to the casserole. Continue to cook for about 15 minutes, until thickened. Leave to cool a little.

7. Turn the oven up to 200°C.

8. Fry the mushrooms in a little oil and add to the casserole.

9. Transfer everything to a pie dish.

10. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface and cover filling, pressing edges to seal and trimming neatly. Make a small hole in the centre of the pastry and glaze with egg.

11. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 30 mins until pastry is golden brown and puffed up.

The filling can be frozen or kept in fridge for up to 3 days. The pastry can be divided, uncooked, into 4 portions and frozen. Defrost it overnight in the fridge.

Dumpling ingredients;

  • 150g suet
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • Water

Method

1. Mix the suet and flour using your hands and season.

2. Make a well in the centre and add the water a little at a time.

3. Mix using hands until you get a dough that comes away from the side of the bowl.

4. On a floured surface, roll into a sausage shape, then form into golf-ball sized dumplings.

5. Add to stew and cook for about 3 hours, turning the dumplings over after 2 hours

Uncooked dumplings can be wrapped in cling film and refrigerated for up to 3 days.

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