Beef and Black Sheep ale pie

James Martin's tender beef in beer with a crisp pastry crust makes a tasty treat for a family meal
By James Martin
Beef and Black Sheep ale pie
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 2.1666666666666665 hours 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Effort: easy



  • 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

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.


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.)

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