Proper Easy Beef & Ale Pie

This easy slow cooked pie is worth the wait with beef that is falling apart and packed with flavour. Served with potato, bacon, mushrooms and ale, it is topped with store bought puff pastry to mop up the juicy sauce.


  1. Slice, weigh and prepare all the ingredients.


  1. Heat a non-stick frying pan to a medium high heat with half the olive oil. Season the stewing beef with salt and pepper. Just as it is almost smoking, place the beef into the pan and brown the beef on all sides. Do this in batches as you do not want to overcrowd the pan.
  2. Once complete, remove the beef into a bowl and pour 100ml of water into the hot pan to deglaze it and remove all the sediment from the pan which has a lot of flavour. Taste it, if it is not bitter, reserve the liquid for the pie. This liquid is known as the deglacage.
  3. Add a quarter of the oil to the pan and cook the chopped bacon. Set aside.
  4. Add the remaining oil to the pan and add the sliced onion, celery. Cook in the pan on a low to medium heat until softened.
  5. Once soft, increase the heat to medium and add the crushed garlic cloves for 1 minute.
  6. Return the beef and bacon to the pan with the vegetables and add two teaspoons of plain flour. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring continuously.
  7. Gradually add the stock, ale and reserved deglacage, stirring. Add the sugar, vinegar and bay leaf and bring the mixture to a simmer.
  8. Simmer for 2.5 hours on a low heat, with a lid on, or until the meat is tender and falling apart.
  9. Meanwhile, turn the oven onto 200c/ 180c fan.
  10. Place the chopped potatoes into a deep saucepan of salted water. Bring to the boil and simmer until soft and cooked through. Drain and set aside.
  11. Once the meat is tender, strain the mixture. Remove the bay leaf and set the meat and vegetables aside in a bowl and place the strained liquid into a saucepan.
  12. Reduce the sauce by turning up the heat on the hob to medium-high. You are looking for a syrupy consistency and a nice, balanced flavour. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Place the reduced sauce, potatoes, raw mushrooms and reserved meat and vegetable mixture into the pie dish.
  14. Remove the puff pastry from the fridge. Wet the edges of the pie dish with water and lay the pastry on top of the pie dish. Press down on the edges so the pastry and pie dish are sealed. Cut off any excess with a knife around the edges.
  15. Place the pie into the oven onto the top shelf and bake for 25-30 minutes until puffed and golden.


  1. To serve, divide the pie into equal portions, making sure to ladle over that beautiful gravy. Serve with green vegetables.

Useful Cooking Information


Metric Imperial
10 g½ oz
20 g¾ oz
25 g1 oz
50 g2 oz
75 g3 oz
110 g4 oz
150 g5 oz
175 g6 oz
200 g7 oz
225 g8 oz
250 g9 oz
275 g10 oz
350 g12 oz
450 g1 lb
500 g (½ kg)18 oz
700 g1½ lb
900 g2 lb
1 kg2¼ lb
1.3 kg3 lb
1.8 kg4 lb
2.2 kg5 lb


Metric Imperial
50 ml2 fl oz
75 ml3 fl oz
100 ml3½ fl oz
125 ml4 fl oz
150 ml5 fl oz¼ pint
200 ml7 fl oz
250 ml9 fl oz
300 ml10 fl oz½ pint
425 ml15 fl oz¾ pint
600 ml20 fl oz1 pint
800 ml1½ pint
1 l1¾ pints
1.2 l2 pints
1.5 l2½ pints
1.8 l3 pints
2 l3½ pints


Metric Imperial
5 mm¼ inch
1 cm½ inch
2 cm¾ inch
2.5 cm1 inch
3 cm1¼ inches
4 cm1½ inches
5 cm2 inches
10 cm3 inches
15 cm4 inches
20.5 cm6 inches
23 cm9 inches
25 cm10 inches
30 cm12 inches

Spoon measures - mean level measures unless the recipe says 'heaped'

Eggs - are always large for baking, unless recipe says otherwise

Oven Temperatures

Gas °F °C
Mark 1275140

Fan assisted ovens - remember to reduce temperatures by 20°C

Most Useful US/European Conversions

ButterUS 1 cup / 2 sticks8 oz220 g
SugarUS 1 cup6 oz175 g
FlourUS 1 cup4 oz110 g
LiquidUS 1 cup8 fl oz225 ml
Prepped OnionsUS 1 cup4 oz110 g
Cheese, GratedUS 1 cup4 oz110 g
Diced FruitUS 1 cup5 oz150 g
Fresh BreadcrumbsUS 1 cup2 oz55 g

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