Hi, this Steak Leek and Ale Pie has a golden pastry crust, under which are chunks of melting steak and leek sitting in a thick ale gravy. Homemade pie has to be at the top of my comfort food list. While the light, fresh salads of summer have now passed. As soon as Autumn arrives, with it’s blustery gales I want proper, nourishing, hearty food.
And I want, I need, this Steak Leek and Ale Pie.
Take a look at that golden crust. It is so inviting, willing you to cut in and discover the melting chunks of steak and leek beneath, sitting in a pool of thick gravy made with the ale. While I know making pastry completely freaks some people out, it really is worth having a go. Also, you can find a recipe for the pastry here.
As soon as you have a little time, maybe at the weekend, I really encourage you to make your own pastry. While it really isn’t as difficult as some believe, the rewards are very gratifying. Yet, if you cannot bring yourself to make your own pastry, then good quality, shop bought shortcrust or puff pastry will also work very well.
Celebrating British Leeks
Although I made this Steak Leek and Ale Pie for a mid-week meal, it will be replacing the occaisional roast on a Sunday too. Because, it really is that good.
Likewise, I have to mention the Leek Colcannon a fantastic dish of creamy mashed potatoes, steamed cabbage and sauteed leeks that I made to serve alongside this pie. Amazing!
And, if you are wondering why leeks feature in both dishes, November heralds the start of the British leek growing season. So keen to use seasonal produce, I came up with these two recipes for the British Leek Growers Association.
Recipe : Makes one Steak Leek and Ale Pie, serves 6
450g/1lb Shortcrust Pastry – to make your own you will need 350g/12oz Plain White Flour, 75g/3oz Butter and 75g/3oz Vegetable shortening – I use Trex
1kg/2lb Good Quality Beef Steak – I used rump, chuck or braising steak would work well
2 Tbsp Butter
500ml/1 pint Light Ale
2 Bay Leaves
1 tsp Fresh Thyme – halve if using dried
1 Clove of Garlic
2 Tbsp Tomato Puree
1/4 tsp Nutmeg – I always use freshly grated
1 Beef Stock Cube – or I used 1 Knorr beef stockpot
2 Tbsp Flour plus extra for rolling out pastry
Sea Salt – I use Maldon
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 Medium Egg whisked with a little water for the egg wash
Method : Please read through before starting
Making The Pastry
For instructions on how to make the shortcrust pastry please see here.
If making your own pastry, make, cover in cling film and place in the fridge to chill.
Preparing The Steak
First of all, cut the steak into generous, one inch/2.5cm chunks.
Mix 2 tablespoons of flour with 1 teaspoon of sea salt and 1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper.
Toss the steak in seasoned flour.
Place 2 tablespoons of butter into a large pan and melt over a high heat.
Brown the steak in batches.
Place the browned steak onto a plate and set to one side.
Making The Slow Cooked Pie Filling
First of all, prepare all 3 leeks by cutting off the tough, dark green tops and root. Starting at the top of the leek cut almost through and down two thirds. Wash the leeks under cold, running water to remove any dirt trapped between the leaves. Shake off any excess water.
Tip : I wash the leeks and leave them to drain upside down, before prepping other meat or vegetables.
Take one, large washed leek and finely dice it.
Add the diced leek to the same pan used for browning the steak.
Saute for 2-3 minutes over a medium heat until softened.
Pour in the ale and use a wooden spoon to scrape the crusty, tasty brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
Strip the thyme from its stalk and mince the garlic.
Add the steak, herbs and garlic back to the pan. Then add an additional 500ml of water.
Slice the remains two leeks into one inch/2.5cm chunks and add to the pan.
Now add the tomato purée, stock cube and nutmeg.
Finally, bring everything up to a simmer and leave to cook on a medium/low heat, uncovered for 2-3 hours, stirring occaisionally.
At the end of the cooking time the beef should be meltingly tender and the ale gravy reduced by half. Check the sauce for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Assembling The Pie
First of all, remove the steak and leeks from the pan, using a slotted spoon. Place into a pie dish.
Increase the heat under the pan and boil the ale gravy until it is reduced by half.
Pour the thickened gravy over the pie piffling.
Brush the egg wash around the rim of the pie dish, as this enableS the pastry to stick to the dish.
Roll out the pastry into a circle that is one inch/2.5cm wider than the top of the pie dish. Trim the pastry so that it has a neat edge.
Place the pastry on top of the pie dish and crimp.
To crimp I simply pinch between my forefinger and thumb all around the pastry edge.
Make 3 slits in the pastry to allow steam to escape.
Brush the pastry with egg wash.
Cut out decorations from the leftover pastry and add place on the pie.
Finally, brush the pie crust again with egg wash.
Baking The Steak Leek And Ale Pie
Place the Steak Leek and Ale Pie on a baking sheet and place in a preheated oven, 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6, 400F. Bake for approximately 1 hour. The pie is baked when the pastry is golden brown and little bubbles of hot gravy or steam are bursting through the slits in the pie.
As soon as the pie is baked remove from the oven. Serve immediately.
While the leek in this pie lends a delicate onion flavour, it perfectly compliments the steak and ale. And, this Steak Leek and Ale Pie was thoroughly enjoyed by all in our house, including my very good friend and chief taste tester, who lives 2 doors away!
Also it would make perfect sense to double the quantities and make two pies. Since an uncooked pie will freeze beautifully, ensure it is absolutely cool before double wrapping in cling film and freezing for up to 2 months. So, why not pass the second pie onto a busy family, new mum, or friends. Because, the gift of a meal, even if there is no ‘special’ reason shows that you care.
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While I enjoy coming up with new recipes and seeing successful results, nothing beats sharing the food I make with others. Seeing the smile on my neighbours face as I pass a slice of cake over the fence fills my heart with joy. Since I know not everyone enjoys baking, it’s rare to find someone who refuses a slice of something tasty. Sharing builds friendships and breaks down boundaries. Also, it can make someone feel thought about and special. And so I will continue to share. Since it brings happiness to both parties.
So, whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens have fun preparing and sharing your feast.
While I was gifted with most of the ingredients for this recipe, all content and opinions are my own. I did not receive payment for this post. No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written consent of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.