The best steak and ale pie

The secret ingredient for this pie is Dragon Stout, from Jamaica. It used to be hard to find, but it is often in the major supermarkets now.  Last night I followed my usual recipe for the filling but a new sort of pastry and it was a great combination.

The filling recipe came from Nobby on TMF, who  wrote “If you use a modern British beer,by the time it has reduced it will be too bitter. We grow the best hops in the world and we like to use them. Even using a beer called ale today it will be too bitter. The secret is to use a style of beer that copies the beer from the days before we used hops. Somewhat surprisingly that beer comes from the Caribbean!”Label on dragon stout bottle

It’s very easy with a wonderfully inexact recipe:

  • Brown some onions and add the chopped beef. I used shin – if you use braising steak it will cook more quickly.
  • Add enough beer to cover the meat – no other cooking liquid. Don’t use any seasoning or flour at this stage.
  • simmer very gently (don’t boil!) for 2-3 hours until the meat is tender
  • mix some English mustard, tomato paste, some dried herbs two dashes of Worcester sauce and add to beef
  • take some of the cooking liquid and stir in cornflour, add back to beef and cook for a couple of minutes until it thickens a bit
  • add a knob of butter to make it glossy, then put it in a pie dish to cool

The pastry was a cross between shortcrust and suet pastry:

  • For 6: 400gr plain flour, 100gr butter, 100gr suet.
  • Put it all in a food processor blitz. Add 150ml cold water and bring it together into a ball.
  • I put it in the fridge to rest for half an hour as I usually do with pastry but suet is pretty forgiving and you could use it straight away.
  • Roll it out pretty thickly to top your now cold steak and ale and brush with some beaten egg.

Cook 45 mins at 180 (fan)

Voted the best pie by my children 🙂  The steak and ale also makes a great filling for a proper steamed suet pastry pudding.


  1. I’ve not come across hop free beer before, I shall have to keep an eye out for it.

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