In keeping with the wet and windy month of January, today’s recipe is on one of England’s savoury staples, the pie!
More specifically, the steak and ale pie with mushrooms and bacon!
This one gave me almost as much pleasure in the making as in the eating though not quite, it was extremely tasty!
It was so easy too, the steak filling is made the day before, cooked until the meat is meltingly tender, then refrigerated to let the flavours marry.
The next day all that’s needed is a quick assembly!
A pre-made shortcrust pastry can be used to speed up the process even more though your own recipe can be made alongside the filling and left to cool in the fridge until the next day with minimal effort.
You will need a pot that is oven and stove proof or an oven-proof pot with a lid to transfer the filling to the oven.
For best results, take your beef from the fridge while you are preparing your other ingredients, cold steak will be harder to brown than room temperature steak!
Beef, Ale and Bacon Pie
Serves 2-4 depending on accompaniments
1-2 tablespoon vegetable oil
500g braising steak
1 large onion, chopped finely
2 large carrots cut into thick rounds
1 teaspoon caster sugar
2 tablespoons plain flour
200ml dark ale
200ml beef stock
Sprig of thyme
2 bay leaves
Small bunch of parsley, leaves and stalks attached
100g smoked bacon lardons or cooking bacon diced evenly sized
100g chestnut or button mushrooms halved
Salt and pepper
400g shortcrust pastry
Butter & flour to grease
1 egg yolk to glaze
Heat oven to 160oc.
Heat the oil in a large oven and stove proof dish.
Brown the braising steak well until deeply coloured, in batches if needed, then set aside in a bowl.
Add the onions and carrots to the pan and cook on a low heat until the onions are soft, tender and golden.
Sprinkle over the sugar and flour.
Mix it in and keep stirring until the flour takes on a golden hue and the aroma of flour is gone.
Place the meat back into the pan, along with any juices that remain in the bowl then pour in the ale and beef stock.
Stir thoroughly then season with salt (if the stock isn’t very salty itself) and black pepper.
Place the thyme, bay leaves and parsley into the pot making sure they stay submerged and bring to a simmer.
When simmering, place over the lid and place in the oven for about 90 minutes, until the meat breaks apart with ease.
When complete set aside and place a frying pan on a high heat, adding a small amount of oil.
Place in the bacon lardons and cook until crisp and golden.
Add in the mushrooms and cook until golden.
Stir the mushrooms and bacon into the steak mix and leave the entire mix to cool.
When cooled, fish out the thyme stalks, bay leaves and parsley and place in a container in the fridge.
When the pie is needed, preheat the oven to 220oc/200oc and place a baking tray into the oven to heat.
Grease your pie dish with butter then a thin layer of flour and roll out the pastry.
Use three quarters of the rolled pastry to line the inside of the pie dish, cutting off any trimmings that are unneeded.
Next, spoon in the preprepared pie filling evenly.
Lay the last quarter of a piece of pastry over the top of the filling and crimp the edges with your fingers, removing and extra pastry with a knife.
Optionally, you can now create a little decoration out of the remaining pastry!
Make a few slits in the top of the pie to let out steam and brush with egg evenly.