As the colder winter weather kicks in its time to get out that slow cooker and rustle up some winter warmers. We're kicking off with this family classic – a beef and ale pie. You'll need to make and cook the pie filling first, before then topping with puff pasty and finishing off in the oven.
Ingredients (makes 3 medium size pies)
400g diced beef
4 large mushrooms
A squirt of tomato purée
1 tbsps balsamic vinegar
30g/2 tbsps plain flour
2 beef stock cubes
150ml of ale
1 tbsp Demerara sugar
A dash of HP brown sauce or Levi Roots Reggae Reggae sauce
Ready made puff pastry
1) Add 2 tablespoons of flour plus a sprinkle of black pepper to a large sandwich bag. Add the beef and shake well so beef is coated in the mix.
2) In a large saucepan melt the butter at a medium to high heat. When bubbling, add the beef and cook for about 5 minutes until the bottom of your pan is sticky and starting to burn. This will seal the beef and make sure you lock in the great flavours.
3) Remove the beef from the heat and add to your slow cooker. If you don't have a slow cooker use a very low heat on your hob.
4) Add the tomato puree, sugar, vinegar, Reggae Reggae sauce and a good sprinkle of black pepper and give it a good stir.
5) Add the stock cubes to 550ml of boiling water in a jug. Mix until dissolved and then top up the mixture with 150ml of ale. Pour over the beef and give it another stir.
6) Leave the slow cooker on a high heat with the lid on for the first hour. Then remove the lid and cook for a further 6 – 8 hours so that the beef literally falls apart. The final consistency should be a thick gravy and cornflower is a great way to thicken it if you find it's slightly too thin.
7) Add the mushrooms to the slow cooker mix about 2 hours before you're ready to make the pies. If you add them too early they'll become too soft.
8) About 45 minutes before you’re ready to serve, add the mixture to pie dishes and top with ready made puff pastry (follow these instructions)
9) Pre-heat oven and cook at 180C (fan) for 30 minutes until the pasty is golden.
And there you have it – homemade beef and ale pies ready to be served with your choice of veg. It only takes about 20 minutes in total prep time and the pie filling can be left in the slow cooker while you’re at work, ready to be topped with the puff pastry when you get home. Enjoy!