Beef pie

Beef pie

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  • 6
  • Easy
  • 30 - 45 minutes

"Unashamedly old-fashioned, you can make men fall in love with you with this pie. It seems to have even greater seductive powers than a good cleavage." – Diana Henry


  • 1 kg braising beef, cut into large chunks
  • 30 g dried wild mushrooms
  • groundnut oil, for frying
  • 350 g baby onions, or small round shallots, peeled but left whole
  • 50 g butter
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 30 g plain flour
  • 300 ml red wine
  • 3 leaves from thyme sprigs
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 300 g fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 T flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 320 g puff pastry for 1 big pie, 600 g for 6 small pies
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

Cooking Instructions

1. Dry the meat well with kitchen paper. (If it’s wet it won’t brown properly.) Put the dried mushrooms in a heatproof bowl and pour enough boiling water over to just cover. Leave to soak for 30 minutes.

2. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a heavy-based casserole and brown the beef in batches: it is very important to cook it in batches otherwise the meat will not colour well. Remove each batch as it’s done. Add the baby onions or shallots to the pan and lightly brown them, adding a little more oil if you need it.

3. Reduce the heat, add 20g (3⁄4oz) of the butter and all the celery and garlic and sweat for 10 minutes. Return the meat, with any juices, to the casserole. Season well and, over a low heat, add the flour. Stir everything round until it is well coated.

4. Cut up the mushrooms and add to the pot with their soaking liquid (strain the liquid through muslin, as it can be gritty). Add the red wine, thyme and bay leaves and bring to the boil. Immediately reduce the heat, cover and cook over a very gentle heat for 11⁄2 hours, stirring every so often.

5. Take the lid off for the last 15–20 minutes to reduce the liquid. You need thick juices for a pie, so, if they’re too thin, remove the meat and mushrooms and boil to reduce the sauce.

6. Melt 1⁄2 tbsp oil and the remaining butter in a sauté pan and cook the fresh mushrooms briskly over a high heat so that they get well coloured. Season and let the mushrooms cook until they exude their liquid and it evaporates. Stir the parsley and the cooked fresh mushrooms into the meat and check the seasoning. Leave to cool completely.

7. Put the meat in 1 large or 6 small pie dishes and roll out the pastry to fit the dish(es). Cut a strip or strips large enough to go around the edge or edges. Brush the edge(s) with water and press the strip on.

8. Dampen this with water and cover the pie or pies with their lids, pressing the pastry down. Trim off the excess, knock up the edges and crimp them, if you like, or just press with a fork. Use the remaining pastry to decorate, making little holes in the top for steam to escape.

7. Brush with the beaten egg and chill for half an hour. Preheat the oven to 190°C fan (400°F), Gas 6. Bake in the oven for 40–45 minutes for 1 large pie, or 25–30 minutes for smaller pies. Serve immediately.

Adapted with permission from ‘Roast Figs, Sugar Snow, food to warm the soul’ by Diana Henry. It is published by Octopus Publishing and distributed by Jonathan Ball Publishers.

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Diana Henry Recipe by: Diana Henry
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Diana Henry is a British food writer. Born in Northern Ireland, she is author of nine cookery books on subjects including books on cooking chicken, healthy eating, gastropubs, preserving and Nordic cuisine.

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