I recently made some individual steak and ale pies, with a hot water crust pastry. They we so good that I needed to make them again very quickly, and this time I decided to do a video too, so I could post on here and on Youtube.
These pies have a really rich and hearty flavour, from the steak, a dark ale, mushrooms and a mirepoix mix of onion, carrot and celery. Together with a rich beef stock and a little Worcestershire sauce as well as seasoning the pie filling is simply awesome in flavour. Put that into a sturdy hot water crust pastry and you have pies that are very good indeed. The sturdiness of the pastry means they can be taken on picnics, etc, and eaten cold as well as being enjoyed for dinner, hot with vegetables.
Since the filling has to be cooked before going into the pastry, and since it uses a flavoursome meat, beef skirt, or similar, it takes some time. The filling has to be cooked for about two hours for the meat to become tender and delicious. But all the effort is worth it. Family members who tasted them wanted more, and very soon too. Hence making these today, as well as for a video.
Although I used 1kg of beef, that did mean that I had some filling left over, which I have frozen to use for a separate meal later. So you can reduce the amount of meat and other ingredients for the filling if you don’t want any left over. I would suggest reducing by about 25%.
My pies turned out so well. I enjoyed one for dinner on the day they were baked and another two days later. They freeze well too, so can easily keep for a while to enjoy when the fancy takes you.
For the filling
- 1 kg(2.2 lbs) skirt steak(or similar), cut into small cubes
- 250g(9 oz) mushrooms, sliced
- 200g(7 oz) minced/grated onion
- 100g(3 1/2) or grated carrot
- 100g(3 1/2 oz) minced/grated celery
- 2 bay leaves
- 160ml(2/3 cup) beef stock
- 300ml(1 1/4 cups) dark ale
- 75g(8 tbsp) plain flour
- 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- dried rosemary to taste
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
For the pastry:
- 675g(4 1/2 cups) plain flour
- 75ml(5 tbsp) milk
- 75ml(5 tbsp)water
- 225g(16 tbsp/8 oz) lard, cubed
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 egg for egg wash, beaten
- In a large pan place the mushrooms and heat on the stove, stirring, without adding any oil, to allow the liquid in the mushrooms to evaporate and intensify the flavour.
- Remove the mushrooms to a bowl.
- Add a little oil to the pan and heat.
- Toss the meat in the flour until coated.
- Fry the meat in the pan, in batches, to brown all over and then remove to the bowl with the mushrooms.
- Place the carrots, onions and celery into the pan and cook, stirring to remove any fond from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the vegetables have reduced by at least half in volume.
- Add the meat and mushrooms back into the pan and stir to combine with the vegetables.
- Add the stock, ale, worcestershire sauce, bay leave, rosemary, salt and pepper and stir around.
- Bring to the boil and then cover and simmer for two hours until the meat is very tender. Stir from time to time to ensure nothing is sticking to the pan.
- Remove the everything to a large bowl, leaving any excess liquid which can then be reduced to a very thick sauce before being added back into the meat. (if too much liquid remains keep some to one side to use as a sauce later).
- Allow the filling to cool completely.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F.
- Place the water, milk and lard into a sauce pan and heat until the lard has melted and the mixture is just coming to a boil.
- Place the flour into a large bowl, pour in the hot liquid and stir around with a wooden spoon to begin to create a sticky dough.
- Add the egg yolk and continue to mix.
- When the mixture is not too hot to touch use your hands to work it into a smooth dough.
- Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and continue to work a little to ensure the dough is smooth enough to roll out.
- Take 1/3 of the dough and wrap in plastic wrap.
- Flour the work surface and roll the remaining dough to about 1/4 inch (6mm) or slighty thicker.
- Cut into circles and press into individual aluminium or metal pie dishes, or use a jumbo muffin pan.
- When the dough is lining the requisite pans/dishes place some parchment paper into them and fill with baking beans, or something similar, for blind baking.
- Place into the oven (on a baking tray if individual pans) and bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and take out the baking beans and parchment paper.
- Place back into the oven and bake for a further 5 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- Heat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F
- When the pastry is cooled fill each pie case with the steak mixture, almost to the top.
- Roll out the remaining pastry and cut out to use as the tops of each pie.
- Brush the edges of the pastry with beaten egg,
- Place the pastry onto the filled pie cases and press down all around the edge to seal.
- Make a hole in the centre of each pie to allow steam to escape during baking.
- Brush the tops of the pies with egg wash.
- Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, untl the pastry on top has gone a nice golden brown colour.
- Remove from the oven and serve hot, or cold, or freeze and cook again from frozen before serving.