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This recipe is classed as easy

Rating 3.70 / 5 (142 votes)

Prep time:
45 min
Cook time:
2 hrs 10 min

James Martin's tender beef in beer with a crisp pastry crust makes a tasty treat for a family meal


1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Season the flour with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the meat and toss to coat.

2. Heat the butter in a large casserole and fry the bacon until crisp. Remove from the pan and then fry the beef until golden.

3. Add the bacon, vegetables, herbs, stock and beer and bring to a simmer on the stove. Cover and transfer to the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes (alternatively, keep cooking on the hob for 1 hour and 30 minutes). Once cooked, adjust the seasoning of the stew to taste and spoon it into an ovenproof pie dish.

4. Brush the edge of the dish with beaten egg and top with the puff pastry. Pinch the pastry to the edges of the dish so that the pastry will stick to it and trim off any excess.

5. Cut the trimmings to resemble leaves and arrange them on top of the pie. Brush the top generously with the remaining egg and place on a baking tray. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown on top. (The baking tray will prevent the mixture bubbling over and making a mess on the bottom of the oven.)


  • 25 g flour
  • 900 g stewing beef steaks, diced
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 4 slices smoked bacon, chopped, or streaky bacon lardons
  • 2 white onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 500 ml beef stock
  • 150 g button mushrooms
  • 400 ml Black Sheep ale, or other quality beer
  • 300 g ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten

Tips and suggestions

Beef in Guinness Pie
To freeze the pie, allow the filling to cool completely before topping with the pastry. Do not glaze the pastry with beaten egg but simply freeze uncovered until solid. Once frozen, cover the pie with plastic freezer wrap and heavy-duty foil and return to the freezer. Defrost the pie in the fridge overnight, then let it come to room temperature before glazing with beaten egg and baking as described left.

If you can't find Black Sheep ale from the specialist Yorkshire brewery of the same name in Masham, any other good bitter or stout will do for this recipe.

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Latest Comment


went down very well tonight, followed another's suggeation re. maing a gravy out of the excess jiuce. Scrummy! All hail the Black Sheep ale!

Scottydog Scottydog  Posted 29 Jul 2012 11:42 PM

Served this for tea tonight when all the family came. Everyone
loved it and have demanded it next time they come. Thanks James.

Beantown Babe Beantown Babe  Posted 05 Jan 2012 6:43 PM

Family loved this. Seemed to have quite a bit of liquid so drained some off before putting pastry on and thickened as a yummy gravey on the side.

DianeS63465 DianeS63465  Posted 28 Sep 2011 10:36 PM

Great Pie, now standard winter fair when doing lunch for visitors. I gave 5 stars,however only one showing.

douglasM84372 douglasM84372 Posted 16 Jun 2011 2:22 AM

The lads couldn't stop raving about it. Brilliant pie, any good beer will do, particularly when served with a side of more of that beer!

Matthew10 Matthew10 Posted 23 Oct 2010 11:31 AM

actually gave it 5 stars but for some reason only one showed up, definately a 5 star recipe

dodgeydebs dodgeydebs Posted 06 Nov 2009 2:11 PM

This recipe is brilliant! Easy to make and absolutely delicious, the whole family love it...even my fussy daughter.Have made this twice with the Black Sheep ale but couldnt get it this time so substituted with Guinness, heaven.

dodgeydebs dodgeydebs Posted 06 Nov 2009 2:10 PM

I substituted the mushrooms for some other veg but still, this recipe works a treat.

davidthomson davidthomson Posted 02 Nov 2009 1:58 PM

Always a hit...My partner has been begging for the past 6 MONTHS for me to make it again, and so have my parents!

Frenchfancy74 Frenchfancy74 Posted 15 Oct 2009 4:11 PM

Although I'm not a meat eater (James would be mortified!) I can garantee that when I've made this recipe and served it up there is nothing left on the plates! It's also an easy recipe to improvise with.

LesleyH34842 LesleyH34842 Posted 17 Jun 2009 10:33 AM

There's a step missing here - before adding the stock you need to fry and caramelise the onions and then fry the garlic.

Garlic is listed in the ingredients but not the recipe and having just watched this on TV that's what James did!

AndyT64886 AndyT64886 Posted 02 May 2009 7:11 PM

the best steak and ale pie I've ever tasted. Used leffe bruin beer to give it a more belgian taste

kateP97159 kateP97159 Posted 23 Apr 2009 4:24 PM

i'm attempting this ale pie and my fingers are crossed because i was unable to buy Black Sheep Ale so i used something else instead. Wish me luck!

anthonyB11182 anthonyB11182 Posted 13 Dec 2008 9:06 PM

I watched this on TV and it looked fab, but what happened to the onions in this recipe

Radarman Radarman Posted 02 Sep 2008 9:56 PM