Slow Cooked Steak and Ale Pie

There are no two ways about it, this time of year is pie territory. Anything pastry based and involving slow cookers in fact, and this little beaut scratches both itches. I’ve been AWOL for a while so I made this one a few weeks ago and I think that was the turning point for me, the very day I embraced Autumn and all it’s crunchy leaved orangey-ness.

Go make my lazy pie* and be all Autumnal. Or just gorge yourself on baked goods and it won’t matter what time of year it is.

*sounds weird.

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You’ll need:

500g diced braising steak
1 stick of celery
1 large carrot
1 onion
1 pint beef stock
1 bottle of ale

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I don’t know if choosing ale because it features your dogs’ name and you got a bit over excited is frowned upon in blogging circles so it may please you to know that this one is also made in Cornwall and it told me on the bottle it’d be good with steak in a pie Apparently ale bottles, like wine, now talk of bouquets and ‘would go well with…’ on the labels  as I discovered in the supermarket and promptly wasted an hour in the alcohol section reading EVERYTHING. This particular ale also has a little (slightly horrifying) folklore attached. Betty’s not that nice…but her ale is top notch.

Make it:

1) Peel and dice all the veggies and gently fry in a large pan with a little oil and a bay leaf.

2) After 6-7 minutes add the beef to brown.

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3) Chuck in the beef stock and ale and let it bubble away for a couple of minutes.

4) If it’s a school day and you want to come home to the best smelling house this would be the point at which you chuck it all in the slow cooker, season well and let it cook whilst you’re pounding the mean streets. Set to low for the day and you’ll produce the most delicious, rich, dark, moreish pie filling.

If you don’t have a slow cooker you can cover the pan and just let it simmer away for a couple of hours.

5) When it’s ready, if your sauce needs thickening you can do this with a cornflour/water paste. Otherwise set aside as much as you can bear to spare of the sauce to use as a gravy and pour the remaining filling into an ovenproof dish. Allow to cool a little before going to town with the pastry.

6) Because I’m lazy and because this is the easiest recipe in the world, I used ready made puff pastry. Sue me. Lay the pastry over the top of the filling, pressing the edges into the side of the bowl to seal it. Make a fancy little steam release slot in the middle; I’m a particular fan of the double arrows. Brush the surface with beaten egg.

7) Pop it in the oven at 180C for around 35-40 minutes until the pie is golden brown and bubbling.

Serve with the rest of the gravy, some good wintery veggies and a large glass of red whilst chatting about all things Autumnal.

What’s your favourite cold weather grub? What’s your opinion on the legitimacy of this as a pie even though it has no pastry bottom?

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