Beef and Ale Pie

Beef and Ale Pie

A couple of friends of mine recently traveled to London and their favorite dish was a pub food favorite, Beef and Ale Pie.  Over a couple cocktails I’m suddenly volunteering to recreate this English fare.  Here comes another five pounds!  I’ve never tried a meat pie other than the childhood stable Chicken Pot Pie but I had a fair idea of what I wanted to do so today was Meat Pie 101.
The outcome was really pretty tasty, I think the only step I did wrong was to create a roux to thicken up the gravy a bit.  I should have left if thinner so when I actually serve this with the side staples of mashed potatoes and peas, there is plenty of gravy to go around.   So, I admitted that step from the recipe so should have a thinner gravy which is what you want.

For the ale, I choice “Arrogant Bastard” because I liked the name and the bottle artwork and it was a hearty ale.  I was thinking of Guinness but this just caught my eye.  This ale has quite a bite but once in the braise it mellows out and you can just get a faint bitters richness in the finished product.

My friends also said that the filling of the pie was only beef chunks and gravy, but I had to put in some carrot, celery, onion and garlic to get things going.  I removed the beef at the end and blended the vegetables into the gravy and it was really good.  Meat pie 102 I might do something totally different but it seemed like most recipes had these ingredients.

Lastly, I made a simple pie crust with butter instead of shortening for the bottom crust and store-bought puff pastry for the top.  I used the large muffin tins and the size was just right.  I think this was a good combination.

I had enough filing for at least 6 – 8 pies, and one box of puff pastry is enough for 8 pies, even though I only assembled 4 for tonight’s dinner.

On to the recipe!

Meat Pies (version 1) by Debra Crawford
Makes 8

2 1/2 Pounds Boneless Beef Short ribs cut into 1″ Cubes
1 Medium Onion Diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 Stocks Celery, Diced Fine
2 Carrots, Diced Fine
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Pint Ale
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
2 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
1 Sprig Fresh Thyme
1 Can Beef Broth
1 Box Puff Pastry Sheets
2 Standard Pie Crusts
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Pat beef dry, season with salt and pepper.  In a large pot or dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and brown beef in batches, being careful not to crowd the pan  Add more oil if needed during this process.  Set aside.

Add the vegetables and cook over medium heat approximately 5 minutes.  Add the ale and using a wooden spoon, scrap the brown bits that have formed on the sides and bottom of the pan.  Cook about 2 minutes., then add the tomato paste and stir.   Add the thyme and rosemary springs, add beef back to the pan and set on low heat to braise for about 1 1/2 or 2 hours or until very tender.

Remove the stems of the rosemary and thyme.  At this point I removed the beef and blended the vegetables into the gravy, but that is not necessary.   Cool the meat mixture.  Preheat oven to 425.

Using a large muffin tin, line the bottoms with the standard pie crust letting it go up and over the rim.  Spoon the meat mixture into the crust and top with the puff pastry.  Trim any excess pastry and gently press the two crusts together to seal.  Make a small slit in the top to let the steam vent.

Bake at 425 for 1/2 hour or until thoroughly golden brown.  Let cool for about 5 – 10 minutes then gently lift the pies from the tin and plate.  Traditionally served with mashed potatoes and peas.

Meat Pie Ingredients
Meat Pies ready for the oven
Meat Pies Done!
Meat Pie Removing from Tin
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