How to make beer pie

Is there anything better than a pie when it is miserable outside? Yes there is. Pie made with beer.
I’m of the opinion that pastry improves almost all food. It’s amazing stuff and it’s worth the little bit of extra time it takes to make your own for this beef and beer filled plate of comfort. (Although pre-made shortcrust will do, I don’t judge.)
Beer wise, anything dark and roasty will compliment the dish. I opted for a Black IPA (Brewdog’s Libertine Black Ale) mainly because that’s what I had knocking around when I made this. A good porter or stout would work really well too. Don’t forget to buy extra to serve with the finished pie!
You will need to procure yourself the following items:
In the knife world, bigger = better.

In the knife world, bigger = better (Photo attributed to Si Winter)

For the pastry:

  • 200g flour
  • 100g cold butter (cubed)
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 -4 tbsp cold water
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • 2 tbsp milk (optional)

For the pie filling:

  • Splash olive oil
  • 500g beef (frying steak if you are only near supermarkets or steak trimmings from your butcher are the cheapest options)
  • 2 onions, sliced thinly
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large potatoes (about 600g total weight)
  • 330ml dark beer
  • 500ml beef stock
  • Splash Worcester sauce
  • Salt & Pepper
Ideally the beef should be left to marinade overnight, but a few hours will be workable. Cut into roughly 2cm cubes before placing into a bowl or zip-top bag and covering with the beer. Put into the fridge for as long as possible before cooking.
Take beef out of the marinade, brown over a high heat in a large saucepan, then reduce the heat to low and add the sliced onions and garlic. Cook for around 10 minutes, stirring regularly, to allow the onions to soften.
Mix the beer marinade and worcester sauce with the beef stock and add to the pan. Bring to the boil, season, then turn the heat back down to low, put the lid on and leave for about an hour.
This free hour is a great time to make your pastry. A word of advice: heat, even just from your hands, is your enemy whilst making pastry, so work as fast as you can. Also, use solid butter as spreadable/light butter melts quicker than solid butter and could make your pastry fail completely.
Put the flour, salt and butter in a large mixing bowl. Rub the butter into the flour until all of the big chunks of butter are gone, and the mix looks like breadcrumbs.
Add water, a little at a time, whilst stirring with a cold metal spoon, until the mix starts to bind.
Finally, bring the pastry together, wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for about 1 hour
After your meat and gravy has been cooking away for about an hour, peel and cut the potatoes into about 2cm cubes, and add to the pan. Check your liquid levels and add more stock or beer if necessary, then replace the lid and leave for another 30 minutes. After this time the gravy should have thickened up, if not, turn up the heat a bit and keep an eye on it until it has.
Fill your pie dish with the meat, potatoes and gravy.
Roll the pastry out to around the thickness of a pound coin, then cover the dish with it. Trim and add some decoration if you fancy it and cut a hole or two in the top to let steam out. Brush on an egg wash if you want nice shiny pastry, then pop in the oven for about 40 minutes (Egg wash is just 1 beaten egg with a splash of milk in it).
Check after 20 minutes, and if the pastry is browning too quickly, cover the dish with foil. Let it stand, uncovered for around 10 minutes before serving.
The finished product, best served with good friends, and good beer!

The finished product, best served with good friends, and good beer! (Photo attributed to Si Winter)

There you go, you’ve just learned how to make a pie. Good work, you!
Did you make this? Did you change anything? Let us know in the comments or via Twitter!

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