Recipe: Curried Beef and Brown Ale Pie

Pub food is something that I love on a rainy day.  It’s rich, warming and it always works well with a pint in your hand. I am always a fan of steak and guinness pie and this is my twist on that. I am not much of a baker and my skills with pastry hover somewhere between shitty and disastrous. So assume that you’re better at me at using robin hood pre made pie crust mix. The filling is really what matters.


I have no business telling you how to do a pie crust. I use Robinhood mix in a pyrex pie plate with a lattice top to the pie. But do whatever you want.

2.5 lbs of beef cheek(this is usually 2 cheeks)*

1 onion rough chopped

2 cloves of garlic rough chopped

2 yukon gold potatoes 1.2 inch dice

2 carrots cut thick.

2 purple turnips 1.2 inch dice

1 star anise

1/2 ts of cumin seed

1 ts of turmeric

1 ts of coriander

1 ts of dried mustard

1 ts cracked black pepper.

1 bottle of english brown ale**

1.5 cups beef stock

1 tbs maple syrup

1 thai chili pepper(whole)

Directions: Make your pie crust and lattice and don’t ask me how to do it because you will be disappointed in my fear of pastry. In a dutch oven with oil, sear your beef cheeks at a high temp. You want to get a nice crust on the meat as the cut is quite lean and you can’t afford to lose the juices it does have. Then reduce heat to medium and add your onions and garlic, until they sweat. Deglaze with the beer. Add your potatoes, carrots, and turnips. Really let those veggies cook down for about 10 minutes stirring regularly and deglazing just a little with beer if necessary. Then add your spices, the chill pepper, the rest of the beer and enough beef stock to cover your meat and veggies. Put the dutch over in an oven at 350 for 90 minutes. Remove the dutch oven from the oven and make sure the beef is fork tender. If it’s not add a little more stock and cook for another 30 minutes. When the beef is fork tender remove it onto a cutting board and let it rest. Take the dutch oven and put it back on medium heat. You are going to want to reduce the mixture in the pot until it’s a thick gravy consistency. You then shred the beef into a pulled pork kind of consistency. Begin to add the beef to the pie shell and then ladle the veggie and curry gravy mixture to the pie shell place the lattice on top of the contents and then pour the maple syrup onto the top of the lattice. Put back into the over for 30 minutes. The maple syrup should crisp up the lattice and ooze into the filling, the sweetness should work well with the big aromatics and spice in the filling. When the top of the pie is golden brown remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes. Then cut and serve with a bottle of that beer.

This is a spicy dish so I really do advocate drinking a beer with it and do your best to fish the star anise out of the gravy as it can be unpleasant to accidentally bite into. Enjoy!

*If you’ve never had beef cheek before, it’s a fantastic and cheap cut. But here are the draw backs. It needs to be braised for a few hours, and you usually have to preorder it from your butcher. Brisket can work for this dish but the texture of the cheek works so much better.

**I like using Newcastle for this. It’s easy too find, and bang on flavour wise for what you need.