Braised beef in bitter beer, with mushrooms and green peppercorn pie

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In this comforting beef and ale pie recipe from Paul Heathcote, beef is braised in bitter and served with a delicious flaky mushroom pie topping. This is a perfect beef dish when you're looking for some tasty comfort food. When selecting bitters to cook with, choose a British ale that has a nice malty character, such as a session bitter or mild, that will accentuate the richness of the beef as opposed to lager or pale ale.

First published in 2015




Braised bitter beer beef

Mushroom pies


  • Thermometer
  • 6 ramekins
  • Large saucepan


For the braised beef, season with salt and brown the beef in oil in a pan until golden brown all over
Add the peeled carrots, halved onions, bay leaf and garlic to the pan
Sprinkle in the sugar and allow the beef and vegetables to caramelise
  • 10g of sugar
Remove the meat and vegetables from the pan and deglaze the pan with the red wine vinegar followed by red wine
Place the meat, vegetables and sprig of thyme back into the pan. Add the bitter beer next, bring the liquid to the boil and then add the stock. Cook this for about 1 ¾ hours at 160°C until very tender
Remove the beef, lift out the carrots and onions carefully and set aside. Pass the remaining liquid through a sieve and boil in a pan until it reaches a sauce consistency. If necessary, add a few drops of cornflour to thicken, or gravy browning to colour
For the pie, fry off the button mushrooms in a few drops of oil until golden
Add the shallots and stir for about 15 seconds until golden, then remove from the heat and scrape onto a plate. Set aside
In a thick bottomed pan add the butter and leave to melt. Stir in the flour and make a roux base
  • 25g of butter
  • 25g of plain flour
On a low heat, add the hot milk (making sure the bay leaf has been removed) incrementally, and stir in well each time
  • 600ml of milk
When all the milk has been incorporated, add the mushrooms, peppercorns, parsley and season with sea salt. Take off the heat and allow to cool
Place the mix into small pie dishes, place the puff pastry on top and make a small hole. Brush the pastry with egg wash and heat in an oven set to 160°C/gas mark 3 for 15 minutes. If the beef needs reheating, place it back in the oven at the same time to warm through
  • 1 egg
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry, cut into 6 equal circles the same size as your ramekins
Serve the beef with the onions and carrots and a little of the beer sauce. Place the mushroom pie alongside, either in its ramekin or removed and served open (as in the image above)
First published in 2015

Paul Heathcote’s love affair with cooking began at home in his early teens. He went on to win two Michelin stars and own multiple restaurants in the North West.

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