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The pies have it

Posted by: Richard Abbey
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Who doesn’t love a good pie? Steak and ale, chicken and mushroom, shepherd’s pie, cottage pie, fish pie… we’re getting warm and fuzzy inside just thinking about it. It’s a British staple and the perfect winter warmer.


To mark this most momentous of occasions, we’ve had a flick back through our back catalogue of books and lift the lid on a tasty recipe from Thornbridge Brewery’s book, Craft Union: Matching Beer with Food.


Steak & Thornbridge Ale Pie

(Serves 5)



For the filling:

1kg beef chuck (ask your butcher to dice into 1-inch squares)

25g plain flour, seasoned with

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon pepper

435g onions, peeled and diced

15g garlic, peeled and crushed

20ml sunflower oil

125g carrots, peeled and diced

75g celery

2 sprigs thyme

Salt and pepper

150ml Thornbridge Lord Marples ale

25ml Henderson’s Relish

Chicken stock to cover

20g gravy granules

1 tablespoon brown sauce


For the suet pastry:

200g plain flour

200g self raising flour

65g suet

65g butter, cubed

Cold water




For the filling:

Measure all your ingredients and pre-heat the oven to 210°C.

Put a large non-stick pan on a medium heat to warm.

Coat the diced beef in the seasoned flour and gently tap off the excess.

Pour some of the sunflower oil into the pan then add the flour-coated beef (you may need to do this in batches). Keep turning it until the meat is a golden colour then de-glaze the pan with half of the beer.

Repeat this until you have done all the meat then put it all into a large heavy-bottomed pan.

Add the onions, garlic, carrots, celery and thyme and season with salt and pepper.

Add the beer. If the meat isn’t covered add to the liquid with chicken stock – you may not need it all.

Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 hours, keeping an eye on it so it doesn’t boil dry.


For the pastry:

Put the flours, salt and butter into a bowl and mix together using your hands until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add everything (except the water) and keep mixing before slowly adding the water until the mix forms a soft dough.

Completely cover the pastry in clingfilm and place in the fridge for an hour. When chilled, roll the pastry out to half a centimetre thick. Use the pie dish (a small one each, or a large one for everyone) as a base and cut around the pastry. Place it on a tray and pop it back in the fridge until later.



Check to see if the meat is tender – it may need longer – then add the Henderson’s Relish, brown sauce and gravy granules. Check the meat again (it should break apart easily) and taste for seasoning.

When happy with the taste fill the dish and roll the pastry to 1 centimetre thick before covering the pie filling with it.

Put into the oven and bake until the pasty is golden brown and the filling is hot.

Serve with roasted or mashed potatoes and mushy peas.

Have a pint of Lord Marples too!


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