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Steak and Ale Pie

For those of you who follow this blog, you’ll know that I prefer to cook ethnic cuisine from warmer regions. The fruits, spices and nuts from those areas, combined with lamb, chicken and beef make such delicious combinations of flavors in my mouth. Orange chicken with scents of cinnamon, lamb with apricots and almonds, beef with walnuts and pomegranate, spiced onions with honey….I could go on and on (if any of those sound good, check out the cooking boxes in my shop). But now the weather is getting colder, the leaves are changing color and I’m craving a taste of home. Despite my last name, I am not Italian. I am Canadian and my family is British. So yesterday I asked my husband to build a warm fire and I made a scrumptious, steak and ale meat pie.

This pie does take some time to cook so I suggest making the filling and pastry ahead of time. Then assemble the pie about 1 1/2 hours prior to dinner time.

To make the filling first mix a little flour, sea salt and cracked black pepper in a bowl. Toss in your cubed beef and stir to coat. You can use any braising type beef, but the better the cut the better the final product! I used chuck beef and it was still a little tough when done. Next time I’m going to look for sirloin or NY striploin on sale and use that instead.

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In a large, deep skillet, brown the meat with some butter and oil on medium heat. Remove the beef to a bowl and pour 1/2 cup of brown ale into the skillet. Reduce the heat to low and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Pour out into the bowl with the meat in it. Chill in the refrigerator.

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Add a little more oil to the skillet and fry the onions and carrots until the onions are translucent and starting to brown.

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Add in the rest of the ale, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer and reduce for 1 hr. Stir occasionally.

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Add in the mushrooms, garlic and lemon juice. Reduce for another 1/2 hour. You want the mixture to be fairly dry. Taste and adjust seasonings (sugar, salt, pepper).

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Add the onion mixture to the bowl with the beef. Mix and chill until ready to use.

While the sauce is reducing, make your pastry.

In a large bowl mix the flour and salt.

Cut in the shortening until its in pea size pieces. Sorry, I didn’t take a picture of this, but it should look crumbly.

In a 1 cup measuring cup beat 1 egg. Add the vinegar and then top off with milk until the cup is full.

Add to the flour and mix well with your hands. If the dough is a little sticky add 1-2 tbsp. more flour.

Roll into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge to chill for a minimum of 20 minutes.

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This recipe makes a lot of dough. I roll the leftovers into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and freeze. It will be enough pastry for a pumpkin pie.

When you’re ready to assemble the pie remove the pastry dough from the fridge. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Take a little less than 1/2 of the dough and roll out to about 1/8″ thick. Run an icing knife under the pastry to release it from the counter. Fold in half and then into quarters.  Place in a 9 inch springform pan. Let the edges hang over the top edge and gently form the dough to the shape of the pan. Any holes or rips need to be repaired with a bit of extra dough.

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Place in the filling and smooth out flat.

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Beat one egg lightly and brush on the top and inside edge of the pastry.

Take about 1/2 of the remaining dough and roll out into a circle. Place on top of the pie and pinch the top edge closed. Cut of excess dough. Roll all excess dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for later use.

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Brush the top of the pie with the egg. Cut three large slits into the top to allow steam to escape.

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Bake for 45 minutes then remove the springform sides. Cover the top with tinfoil if it is getting too brown. Bake for an additional 15 minutes and serve.

Steak and Ale Pie
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 lbs beef cubed
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil divided
  • 2 cups brown ale
  • 3 red onions chopped
  • 5-6 carrots chopped
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar more to taste
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 12 oz mushroooms chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 egg lightly beaten for wash
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sea salt and pepper.

  2. Add the cubed beef and toss to coat (sirloin or NY striploin are best)

  3. In a large, deep skillet melt together the butter and 1/2 tbsp. oil on medium heat.

  4. Add the cubed beef and brown.

  5. Remove the beef to a bowl. Add 1/2 cup of ale to the skillet and reduce heat to low. Scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the skillet and pour into bowl with beef. Refrigerate.

  6. Add the other 1/2 tbsp. oil to the skillet. Add in the chopped onions and carrots. Cook on medium heat until the onions are translucent and starting to brown. 

  7. Add in the remaining ale, beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, bay leaves and thyme. Simmer for 1 hour to reduce. Stir occasionally. (Now is a good time to make the pastry)

  8. Add in the mushrooms, garlic and lemon juice. Reduce for another 30 minutes. The mixture should be fairly dry.

  9. Mix into the bowl with the beef. Refrigerate until ready to use. (Filling must be cool prior to placing in the pie.)

Assemble the pie:
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

  2. Take a little under 1/2 of the pastry dough and roll out on a heavily floured surface to 1/8" thick. Tip: run an icing knife under the pastry to separate it from the counter.

  3. Fold pastry in half and then into quarters and unfold in a 9 inch springform cake pan.

  4. Let the excess pastry hang over the edges of the pan and gently press down on the pastry to form it to the shape of the pan. Any holes are tears need to be repaired with excess dough or the filling will leak out.

  5. Put the filling into the pie. Brush the top and inside edge of the pie with the beaten egg.

  6. Take 1/2 of the remaining dough and roll out into a circle. Place on top of the pie. Pinch the edges closed. Cut off the excess dough and mold all remaining dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for later use.

  7. Brush the top of the pie with egg wash.

  8. Cut three slits into the top of the pie to allow steam to escape.

  9. Put the springform pan on a cookie sheet and bake for 45 minutes.

  10. Remove the springform sides and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Place tinfoil over the top of the pie if it's becoming too brown.

  11. Serve hot.

 

Pastry dough
Ingredients
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/3 cups shortening
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • milk to fill 1 cup with egg and vinegar
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, mix flour and salt.

  2. Cut in the shortening until pea sized. It should look crumbly.

  3. In a 1 cup measuring cup beat the egg. Add in the vinegar and then top off with milk.

  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well with your hands. If dough is sticky, add 1-2 tbsp. flour.

  5. Roll into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for a minimum of 20 minutes prior to rolling out. Freezes well.