Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Steak and Ale Pie - a Garden Chefs Challenge

Garden Chefs is the virtual cooking club born from the passion of food, cooking and entertaining all Flour Garden subscribers, readers and supporters share.  If you want to join, please visit the Garden Chefs page, read the guidelines and sign up!

The Challenge

Steak and Ale Pie
My husband's favorite. His comfort food. His time to gorge himself guiltlessly, with pure pleasure and happiness. We don't make food like this very often any more. These days we focus on fitness and heart-healthy foods. So when Justin decided to join Garden Chefs I knew I simply had to choose a recipe that he would love. Steak and ale pie was it. Between a test run, his version and my version my sweetheart was able to indulge in his favorite three times over the course of two months. Wow! Salads, tofu and lots and lots of water were the chasers over the following few weeks.

The Recipe

Steak & Ale Pie

75g/3oz plain flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper 
750g/1½lb braising steak, cut into 5cm/2in cubes
2 tbsp olive oil
125g/4½oz baby onions (or small onions), peeled
400g/14oz carrots, cut into large pieces
6-8 large field, crimini or portabella mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
4 sprigs fresh thyme

3 bay leaves
4 tbsp tomato purée
300ml/10fl oz ale
300ml/10fl oz hot beef stock
500g/1lb 2oz ready-made puff pastry, rolled to 0.5cm/½in thickness
1 egg, beaten, to glaze the pastry
The Process
1. Preheat the oven to 325F/170C. 
2. Sprinkle the flour onto a plate and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Dredge the steak pieces in the seasoned flour. 
3. Heat an ovenproof casserole dish over a high heat, add the steak pieces in batches and fry for 3-4 minutes, or until golden-brown on all sides, stirring regularly. Remove the cooked steak from the dish, transfer to a warm plate and set aside. Repeat the process with the remaining steak pieces, then set aside.

4. Add the onions and carrots to the emptied casserole and fry for 2-3 minutes, or until just softened, then add the mushrooms and fry until soft. 
5. Add the thyme, bay leaves and tomato purée and stir well to combine.
6. Add the ale and stir well, scraping any sediment up from the bottom. 
7. Return the browned steak pieces to the casserole, add the hot stock, stir well and bring the mixture to a boil.

8. Transfer the dish to the oven and cook for 1½ hours, or until the beef is tender and the gravy has thickened. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
9. Increase the heat of the oven to 425F/220C.
10. Cut the pastry to fit over the casserole dish.

11. Brush a little water around the rim of the dish, then place the pastry over the pie and press the edges to seal the pastry to the dish.
12. Brush each pie with a little beaten egg, then place in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry is pale golden-brown and has risen.

After a test pie and then a few recipe tweaks Justin and I were ready to dive into making our creations. The above recipe is the tweaked recipe and the photos are from Justin's pie. He made his in a 12" cast iron frying pan - one of the most versatile and functional kitchen items - that was just a hair too shallow for all of the liquid. I made mine in an enameled cast iron dutch oven which was far more suited to this recipe. 

Justin's Steak and Ale Pie was served with mashed potatoes and fresh garden peas. My Steak and Ale Pie was served with broccoli and cheddar mashed potatoes.
Justin's Reveal

Gina's Reveal


  1. I have made these before, they are never the prettiest things in the world, but the flavor is unbelievable!! Great post :)



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