On Saturday, after my epic trek back from the Arctic, I had a hangover and an entirely free day. This means one thing in Sluttery HQ: PIE. Not just any pie. The King of Pie. That pie, for me at least, is the steak and ale pie.
You can put any other pie in front of me, and I refuse to believe that it's better than a steak and ale. Not when we're talking savoury (if we're talking sweet, I'll eat cherry pie until it comes out of my ears, wow that's quite gross). But I'd never actually made it before. And you know what? Aside from the fact it takes a million torturous HOURS to cook, it's pretty damn easy.
But, there was some trial and error with the recipe. I need a bigger pie dish for a start. One with a lid. I had to make two smaller pies, and the meat wasn't as tender as it should have been, because I didn't cover it properly. But, now I know and I've got the whole of winter to perfect it. Even with a few tweaks in the recipe below, you can see from the photo that it's a mighty fine pie. Boozy, rich, and meaty, with added sweetness from the shallots. This was enough to feed four people and even Alex S enjoyed it, despite not liking ale or mushrooms. I think that's a success, don't you?
- 1kg stewing or casserole steak.
- 300g wild mushrooms (I think I had chestnuts, girolles, buttons, and chanterelles, but really you can just choose your favourites and throw 'em in)
- One bottle of ale. I used Old Hooky. Choose something full of flavour, but not too rich. It's a good idea to go for a dark one that you'd probably drink yourself.
- 1 Leek (because I had one in the fridge that needed using)
- Four shallots
- Splash red wine
- 1 block puff pastry
- Two cloves of garlic
- Brown the meat on a low heat with the shallots salt, pepper and oil. Throw in the crushed garlic and the chopped up mushrooms towards the end so they go all caramelly.
- Once the meat is all brown, add half the bottle of ale and mix in a splash of red wine. Mix in the leeks (they'll fall apart if you cook them first) .
- Transfer to a pie dish (told you you'd need a big one) and add more ale if you need to make sure the meat is covered.
- Pop a lid on and place in the centre of an oven (preheated for about 150 degrees). You want to cook for at least three hours, but do check every hour and if you need to, top up with more ale to keep the meat moist. If, like me, you couldn't find a lid for your dish, you'll need to do this a lot. Which means you'll have no ale to drink while you're cooking and that's a bit rubbish.
- Once your pie filling is nearly all done, roll out the puff pastry and pop on the top of the pie. Cook for another 15-20 minutes until the pastry has gone golden.
- Serve on a plate that's far too big. Accidentally eat far too much. Plot making it all again once you've run out.