Sheffield Cooks: Classic pie with prime beef

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A classic pie from Walkers Nurseries, this is made with the best prime beef from Sunnyside Farm in Wadworth, a dash of Walker’s honey and Black Sheep ale.

Pie fillings need to be cold before putting the pastry on top, otherwise it can get steamy and make the pastry melt or go soggy.

If you just want to serve beef in ale without the pie lid, cook the meat for another 30 minutes. This recipe features in the Sheffield Cookbook: Second Helpings.


1kg braising steak, cut into 2.5cm chunks

3 tbsp plain flour

3 tbsp olive oil

200ml water

1 leek, chopped into chunky pieces

1 stick celery, chopped into chunky pieces

250g carrots, chopped into chunky pieces

250g small white button mushrooms, chopped into chunky pieces

1 level tbsp beef bouillon

300ml beef stock

300ml Black Sheep ale

1 tbsp Walker’s honey

1 tsp chopped parsley (optional)

Shortcrust or puff pastry (ready to roll)

Beaten egg, for brushing

Salt and pepper


Mix the beef with the flour and some salt and pepper. Heat a tablespoon of the oil in a pan up to a medium heat, then add the beef in batches.

Brown for about 10 minutes, until golden-brown all over, adding the extra oil if needed between batches.

Transfer the meat to a bowl, then add the water and ale to the pan and scrape up any meaty bits.

Tip the liquid into the bowl of meat and set aside.

Add the chopped leek, celery, carrot and mushrooms to the pan with the remaining oil and heat gently. Fry to soften for a few minutes.

Put the beef back into the pan of vegetables. Add the bouillon and stock. If necessary, add a little more stock or hot water to ensure the meat is covered in liquid (this will prevent the beef from drying out).

Bring to the boil then cover and simmer the stew for 1-1½ hours until the beef is almost tender and the sauce has thickened.

Then add the honey (and parsley if using) and stir well until blended with the meat and vegetables. Transfer to a four-portion pie dish and set aside to cool, overnight if possible.

We make our own pastry at Walkers but to save time at home you can buy a good quality read to roll pastry.

To make the pie, preheat the oven to 200°c. Flour the work surface, then roll out the pastry to the thickness of 0.5cm and wide enough to cover the pie dish with some excess.

Place the pastry lid over the filling and press down gently to seal the edges.

Make a patterned edge by pressing down gently all around the edge of the pastry using your fingertips or with a fork (this will help the pastry to puff up).

Cut a couple of slits in the top of the pie to release steam. Brush the top of the pie with the beaten egg. Chill for 10minutes, or until the pastry is firm.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and the pastry is golden-brown and puffed up all over.