Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Bah-Humbug Steak and Ale Pie

Favourite pub food, hands down, is steak and ale pie!  There's nothing I love better (well, that's a lie...I love a lot of things and people, yes people too) than sitting in a warm pub, near an open fire, with a pint and a hot steak and ale pie, oh and with the husband too.  But let me one up that.  Being able to recreate all of that while wearing comfy pants?  H-E-double-hockey-sticks YES!

I made mine with this Bah-Humbug Ale in honour of my Grinch husband, who holds my Christmas decorations hostage in the attic until he sees fit to have them out (they're too tricky to get down on my own - and there are spiders up there).

Don't let the idea of making pastry put you off.  I have made pastry in the past (and it turned out not too bad I might add) but purely for cost and ease I buy the ready made stuff.  The cost of butter is near enough the cost of ready made pastry and it saves time and effort.  Something I learnt in teaching: decide on your objective and take the steps needed to achieve it.  If your ultimate goal is to make pastry from scratch then, by all means, go for it!  But if what you want is a homemade (bar the pastry) steak and ale pie, then cheat away.  Jamie Oliver does!

I used Jus Rol but many grocery stores do their own version. 

I cooked the filling in a large casserole dish (I love my Le Creuset dish - made possible by generous wedding guests, thanks peeps!)  and then divided it among two dishes for individual pies.  This can be made in a large pie dish or lasagna pan and cut into slices to feed a larger crew.  I like to use mushrooms to bulk out the meat (and I like mushrooms - the hubs, not so much). 

Here's a tip - If you don't need all of the pastry, cut the chunk in four and freeze any unused sections (according to packet directions).  I used a quarter section for each pie.  I rolled out my ready-made pastry, draped each sheet over the individual dishes and brushed a little milk on them.

They were in the oven for about 20 minutes.  And then, with a fire roaring and snuggled in my comfy pants (actually I think I was in full on pyjama mode, the ones with little doggies on them) we feasted!  Plates were cleared (except for a few unwanted mushrooms from a certain so and so).

Steak and Ale Pie serves 2 (double or triple on up to feed more!)
350g of stewing steak
6-8 mushrooms, quartered
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon of cornflour/cornstarch
splash of Worcestershire sauce (even though I know how to pronounce this I always say worse-esther-sher-shiiire sauce)
beef stock cube made according to directions
1 bottle of delicious ale

Brown the meat in a frying pan and then transfer to a casserole dish.
Saute the onions for a few minutes and add the garlic just as the onions begin to brown and fry for a further minute or so.  Add to the casserole dish.
Taste test the ale. (that's a very important step!)
Add mushrooms, a splash of W-sauce, the stock and ale (hopefully you haven't tested the whole bottle)
Top up the casserole dish with water so that all of the contents are covered.  The mushrooms will float ;)

Cover and cook at 180°C for about 2 hours or until meat falls apart and sauce has thickened.  Transfer to individual dishes or pie plate, cover with rolled out pastry, cut a little vent, brush a little milk and cook for a further 20 minutes, bringing the temperature up to 200°C.

Tell me, What is your favourite pub grub?  How are you kicking off the Christmas season?  When will you start decorating?  And don't tell me you started in November...

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