Midweek Recipes: Monday Louise Robinson's Scotch Beef & Ale Pie

Midweek Recipes: Monday Louise Robinson's Scotch Beef & Ale Pie

Louise Robinson is a former fashion accessories designer turned freelance recipe developer and food stylist. Now based in the Sussex countryside, she regularly writes on her food blog, Cygnet Kitchen, which combines her love of cooking, quality food produce and photography. She’s let us in on the secret to her Scotch Beef & Ale Pie, the perfect comfort food dish to enjoy at the end of a long day. The filling and pastry can be easily prepared in advance and the pie quickly assembled when you get home.


Serves 6


Pie Filling:

  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon, chopped
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 3 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 1 kg of Scotch Beef stewing steak, cut into 3cm cubes
  • 2 tablespoons of plain flour
  • 500ml of brown ale
  • Leaves from 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of flat-leaf parsley, chopped.
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper

Pastry Crust:

  • 300g of plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon of fine sea salt
  • 100g of freshly grated strong cheddar
  • 150g unsalted butter, frozen for 30 minutes before use
  • 100ml iced water
  • 1 beaten egg, to glaze.

Cooking time: 4 hours


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C. Heat up a tablespoon of olive oil in a large heatproof casserole pan and fry off the bacon pieces for three minutes.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, carrot and mushrooms to the pan and cook on a low heat for around seven minutes. Remove from the pan and set to one side.
  3. Add the remaining oil to the pan and lightly fry the beef in batches, just browning the edges.
  4. Place all the beef and vegetables back in the casserole pan and cook for two further minutes. Stir in the brown ale, thyme and bay leaves and bring to the boil.
  5. Partially cover the pan with the lid and cook in the oven for 3 hours, occasionally taking it out to stir. Remove the casserole from the oven and season with salt, pepper and the chopped parsley. If the sauce is watery, take the lid off and place it back in the oven for another 15-20 minutes.
  6. Whilst the pie filling is cooling, make the pastry crust by sifting the plain flour and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the grated cheese.
  7. Grate the frozen butter into the flour, making sure you hold it with the packet on to avoid it melting. Use a knife to gently stir the butter into the mixture but do not work it into a dough.
  8. Add the chilled water and gently bring the dough together using the flat side of the knife. Once the pastry has formed a ball, wrap it in Clingfilm and press down on it to form a disc. Refrigerate it for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  9. Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Spoon the pie filling into a large pie dish and, if you have one, insert a pie funnel into the middle to help lout out the steam.
  10. Roll out the pastry so it is large enough to cover the pie dish. Brush the edges of the dish with beaten egg and lay the pastry over the top. Press down the edges to seal and trim any excess pastry.
  11. If you are not using a pie funnel, make two small holes in the middle of the pastry lid with a knife. Decorate the pie with any leftover pastry, brush with beaten egg, and then bake for 40-45 minutes or until the pastry is golden. Serve with season vegetables.

Get some more autumn recipe inspiration from http://www.cygnetkitchen.co.uk/

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