Steak and ale pie

Packed with melt-in-the-mouth beef and crunchy pickled onions, serve this pie with creamy mash and leafy greens for a showstopping weekend meal. Bone marrow provides an extra depth of flavour


  • 8cm piece (available from a butcher) marrow bone
  • 2 tbsp beef dripping
  • 1kg shin of beef, cut into chunky pieces
  • 200g pickled onions, drained well and halved, reserving 4 tbsp of the pickle juice
  • 2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a few sprigs thyme
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 500ml (we used Doom Bar) ale
  • 1 litre fresh or homemade beef stock
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp soft light brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 tbsp English mustard powder
  • 175g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • buttery mashed potatoes
  • roasted carrots
  • baby leaf greens



    1. Put the marrow bone into a large bowl of cold water for several hours to draw out any remaining blood.
    2. Heat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Heat ½ the beef dripping in a large casserole over a medium-high heat until hot. Season the beef pieces and brown, in batches, until really caramelised, adding the remaining dripping with the second batch of beef. Scoop the meat out onto a plate and put the pickled onions cut-side down in the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes or until caramelised. Scoop out into a separate bowl, allow to cool completely, cover and chill.
    3. Put the celery, bay leaf and thyme in the same pan and cook for several minutes or until the celery is softening at the edges – add 1 tbsp of water if the bottom of the pan is getting a little dark. Tip in the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring all the time. Slowly add the ale, stock and Worcestershire sauce, while stirring, then tip the beef back into the pan. Bring to the boil, put on the lid and cook in the oven for 2 hours, then remove the lid and cook for a further 2 hours or until the beef is meltingly tender. Remove from the oven, season with salt and pepper, and add the sugar and pickle juice. Stir vigorously to break up some of the beef – it will look as though there is too much gravy at this stage, but it will be fine once baked. Leave to cool completely, then pick out the thyme and bay leaves, and stir through the pickled onions.
    4. For the pastry, put the plain flour, mustard powder and butter into a food processor with a pinch of salt and pulse until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Pulse in cold water 1 tbsp at a time, until it comes together as a dough. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for an hour.
    5. Transfer the pie filling to a 30cm shallow casserole, stirring to make sure the meat and onions are evenly distributed.
    6. Roll out the pastry on a floured worksurface to the size of the casserole and cut an ‘x’ in the middle, where the bone can be pushed through. Drape the pastry over the pie dish and then gently push the bone through the x you have made. Crimp around the edges.
    7. Brush really well with beaten egg and chill for 1 hour. Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden.
    8. Serve with homemade mashed potatoes, roasted carrots and baby leaf greens.