Steak, ale and wild mushroom pie

Soz about the picture, but when did you see the inside of a pie look good? When finished, it would obvs have pastry on top.

The key ingredients for making this pie so good are time, and dried wild mushrooms. Cooking the filling all day in a slow cooker, before transferring to a pie dish, topping with pastry and baking, allows the flavours to mature and deepen, much to the same effect of slice of lasagne that tastes better as day-old leftovers than straight from the oven.

Dried mushrooms have a much greater intensity than fresh ones, and throwing into the beef/ale mix in their dehydrated state before cooking means that as they plump up, their concentrated flavour will seep into and infuse the sauce, creating a mushroomy depth you just can’t get from fresh ones. Although dried mushrooms can be expensive, a little goes a long way, so they really are a worthwhile addition. Meaty chunks of field or portobello are also added for texture.

As such, this recipe would make a really substantial vegetarian pie, if the beef was replaced with chunks of aubergine. Simply brown it as you would the beef, replace beef stock with vegetable, and cook for about half the amount of time in the slow cooker.

If you don’t have a slow cooker, put ingredients into an oven-proof casserole dish and cook at 180c for 3hours, adding around 200mls water as it cooks if it starts to dry out.

Ingredients (serves 4)

300-400g of good quality stewing steak (or 2 large aubergines)

1 500ml(ish) bottle of dark ale or stout

15g of dried wild mushrooms (about half a supermarket packet)

3-4 field or portobello mushrooms

a few sprigs of fresh thyme and or oregano

1 onion

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 packet of all-butter puff pastry

1 tablespoon of plain flour

1 beef/vegetable stock cube




Slice onion, chop fresh mushrooms and beef into chunks, and finely chop herbs.

Heat oil in a frying pan. Cook onion, mushrooms and herbs for 5mins, stirring, to lightly brown and soften. Add to slow cooker.

In the same pan, brown beef (or aubergine) on a high heat, seasoning with salt and pepper as you go. Add to slow cooker. Stir in flour.

Deglaze frying pan with a spalsh of the ale and add to beef and mushrooms along with the rest of the ale, the crumbled stock cube and the dried mushrooms.

Cook on a low setting for up to 11 hours, or a medium heat for up to 8.  It is fine to do the frying stage the night before, and just turn the slow cooker on in the morning.

Check seasoning and transfer to an oven proof pie-dish, and top with the rolled out puff pastry. Bake for half an hour at 200c until golden.

Serve with garlickey greens and some kind of potato.




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