Pub Beef Pies


2 lb boneless blade or round steak
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp prepared beef seasoning
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
3-4 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 medium onions, chopped
2-1/2 cups beef stock
1 cup water
1 cup beer
1 cup plain tomato sauce
1 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
1 tsp Tabasco sauce
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp dry basil leaves
1/4 tsp dry thyme
1 tsp fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1 cup carrots, diced
1-1/2 cup potatoes, diced
1/2 cup diced cellery
1-1/2 cup halved small mushroms

1 package frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg lightly beaten


  • Prepare onions and garlic.
  • Cut beef into small cubes and set aside.
  • In large plastic bag, combine flour, salt, beef seasoning and pepper. Add beef and shake to coat with flour mixture.
  • In a large heavy saucepan, over medium heat, heat 2 Tbsp of the oil. Add beef and brown well.
  • Add onions and garlic and cook until softened.
  • Add stock, tomato sauce, bay leaf Worchestershire and tabasco sauce. Scrape brown bits from bottom and bring to boil.
  • Add beer, 1/2 cup water, basil, thyme and parsley, cook next 5 to 10 minutes stirring well. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 1 hour or until meat is nearly tender.
  • Meanwhile prepare carrots, celery, potatoes and mushroms.
  • Add carrots, potatoes and celery; cover and simmer 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Add mushrooms and simmer next 15 to 20 minutes or until meat and vegetables are tender.
  • Mix reserved flour mixture with a remaining water until smooth and stir into beef mixture. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer about 5 minutes.
  • Adjust seasoning and remove bay leaf. Set aside.
  • Divide beef mixture among 8 individual casseroles (each about 10 oz./300 ml. and 4 inches/10 cm diameter.)
  • On lightly floured surface roll out puff pastry to 1/8 inch/3 mm thickness.
  • Cut into 8 rounds the same diameter as the casserole dishes.
  • Place on large baking sheet and chill until pastry is cold, about 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 400F (200C).
  • Brush  pastry with lightly beaten egg and bake for about 12 minutes. 
  • Top each casserole with baked puff pastry and return to oven for 5 to 7 minutes. Serve hot.

Tips: The filling and topping can both be made a day or two adead, requiring only a quick assembly and reheating before serving.

Baked pastries cover with tea towel and store at room temperature.

Beef mixture may be refrigerated, before or after filling casseroles, for up to 2 days.

To heat pies before serving: Bake foil toped casseroles for 15 minutes or until bubbling hot. Remove foil and top each with baked puff  pastry and return to oven for 5 minutes and serve hot.

Serves 8.

Real Cooking

Did You Know?
An understanding of the physical structure of meat is essential to its successful cooking.

Meat consists of muscular tissue, or lean; varying quantities of visible fat that lie between and within the membranes and tendons; and also particles of fat that are too small to be distinguished except with the aid of a microscope.

The general nature of the lean part of meat can be determined by examining a piece of it with merely the unaided eye. On close observation, it will be noted that, especially in the case of meat that has been cooked, innumerable thread-like fibers make up the structure. With a microscope, it can be observed that these visible fibers are made up of still smaller ones, the length of which varies in different parts of the animal. It is to the length of these fibers that the tenderness of meat is due.

Short fibers are much easier to chew than long ones; consequently, the pieces containing them are the most tender. These muscle fibers, which are in the form of tiny tubes, are filled with a protein substance. They are held together with a tough, stringy material called connective tissue. As the animal grows older and its muscles are used more, the walls of these tubes or fibers become dense and tough; likewise, the amount of connective tissue increases and becomes tougher. Among the muscle fibers are embedded layers and particles of fat, the quantity of which varies greatly in different animals and depends largely on the age of the animal. For instance, lamb and veal usually have very little fat in the tissues, mutton and beef always contain more, while pork contains a greater amount of fat than the meat of any other domestic animal.

The composition of meat depends to a large extent on the breed of the animal, the degree to which it has been fattened, and the particular cut of meat in question. However, the muscle fibers are made up of protein and contain more protein, mineral salts, or ash, and certain substances called extractives, all of which are held in solution by water. The younger the animal, the greater is the proportion of water and the lower the nutritive value of meat.