Now that we have (reluctantly) waved goodbye to the back-end of summer and the autumn is slowly starting to take over, the comfort food cravings are really starting to creep in – and what’s more comforting than pie & gravy?
This delicious steak pie, featuring Bath’s own Bath Ales Gem and a beautifully buttery flaky crust, is a tried and tested recipe that can be rustled up in a few hours with minimal fuss for maximum satisfaction. You needn’t be a culinary star to enjoy this pie – as long as you’ve got some essential equipment and a bit of time on your hands, you’re in for a treat.
Cooking time: About 2 hours 15 minutes
• Olive oil
• Knob of butter
• 450g lean casserole beef, diced into 1inch cubes
• 1 clove garlic, crushed
• 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
• 2 medium carrots, diced
• 2 stalks of celery, diced
• 1 beef stock cube, crumbled
• 1 bottle of Bath Ales Gem
• Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
• Pinch of nutmeg
• A few dashes of Worcester sauce
• Salt & pepper
• 220g plain flour (+ a little bit more for sprinkling)
• 150g salted butter, frozen
1. First off, prepare your pastry. Pop the flour into a medium mixing bowl and grate in the frozen butter. As the butter shavings begin to pile up, mix them gently into the flour with a spoon (not your warm hands!), making sure they all have a good floury coating and don’t stick together.
Once all the butter is grated and it’s nicely coated in flour, slowly add a few glugs of Bath Ales Gem, stirring in-between glugs. Once the mixture starts to come together, get your hands in the bowl to bring it into a neat ball – you know it’s done when there’s no flour left on the edge of the bowl.
Remember: Handle the pastry as little as possible so the butter doesn’t begin to melt, and be careful not to add too much Gem at a time, you’ll be surprised how little liquid you need and we don’t want a sticky gloopy pastry!
Once the pastry is done, wrap it in Clingfilm and pop it in the fridge to chill.
2. Get to work on your pie filling. In your heavy bottomed pan, heat the olive oil and butter over a high heat. Add the diced beef with some salt and pepper and fry until the edges are browned. Strain the beef from the pan and place aside in a bowl.
Now add the sliced onions and garlic to the beefy juices and fry until the onions begin to soften. Add your carrots and celery and fry for a further five minutes, stirring from time to time.
Next, add the beef back to the pan, crumble over the beef stock cube and stir. Enjoy a quick swig of Bath Ales Gem, before pouring the remainder of the bottle into the pan – it should just about cover the mix. Add your nutmeg and a few swigs of Worcester sauce (to taste), give the mix a good stir and bring to the boil. Once the mixture is bubbling away, reduce to a medium-low heat, pop the lid on, and leave to simmer away for an hour.
Now sit back and relax, whilst the flavours come together!
3. Once an hour has passed, take the lid off and stir in the parsley. Now it’s time to boil the mixture down to a thick gravy. Leave it bubbling away on the hob with the lid off whilst you get to work on your pie crust, stirring from time to time.
Remove your pastry from the fridge and divide it into two pieces (one 1/3 and one 2/3). Put the smaller piece back into the fridge (we don’t want it drying out), dust your work surface and rolling pin with a little plain flour, and role the large piece out so that it’s big enough to cover your pie dish, plus a little bit more.
Place the pastry carefully over your pie dish (we don’t want any holes) and push into any corners, so there are no air bubbles. Do not trim away any excess dough. Cover the dish with baking paper and pour in the ceramic baking beads. Pop the pie dish in the hot oven for 10 minutes, then remove the baking paper and baking beads and cook for a few more minutes, until the edges of the pasty start to turn golden. Remove from the oven and set aside.
5. By this time, your pie filling should be ready. If the gravy isn’t thick enough for your liking, simply thicken by mixing some flour and water into a runny paste and adding it gradually, stirring, until the gravy thickens up.
Pour the pie mixture into your baked pastry crust. Roll out the remaining pastry so it is big enough to cover the pie comfortably and carefully place on top. Trim away any excess pastry with a sharp knife so the pastry sits flush with the pie dish. Make a small slit in the centre of the pie for steam to escape and press the outside edges of the pie together with a fork.
Place the pie in the hot oven for 20 minutes, or until the top is browned and flaky to your liking.
Why not keep your pie local by sourcing the rest of your ingredients from Bath Farmers’ Market, or one of Bath’s local Farm Shops? Newton Farm Foods and Hartley Farm Shop both offer a fantastic range of locally sourced meat, veg & more.