Beef & Chestnut Pie

Beef and Chestnut Pie served in a white dish with some of the pastry removed to see the filling
  • 7 servings
  • 210 minutes to prepare
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  • 1kg stewing or braising beef, cut into 5cm pieces
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 4 celery sticks, thickly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 200g chestnuts, roughly chopped
  • 500ml good local ale
  • 25g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 300ml boiling water
  • 1 thick strip of orange zest
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1tsp thyme leaves
  • 3tbsp plain flour
  • 4tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1tsp dark brown sugar
  • 2tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and milled pepper
  • For the pastry
  • 250g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 125g shredded suet
  • 75g finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1½tsp thyme leaves
  • 1 large egg
  • 120ml cold water


Soak the porcini mushrooms in 300ml of boiling water for 20 minutes. Place the flour into a large bowl and season with salt and milled pepper. Toss the beef into the flour.

Heat a large frying pan over a high heat and brown the beef in 2-3 batches adding oil as you go, transfer the beef to a casserole dish.

Pre-heat the oven to 160°c / gas 3.

Drain the porcini mushrooms and reserve the liquid. In the same pan you browned the beef add a little more oil and cook the onions and celery over a low-medium heat for about 7 minutes, next add the garlic, bay leaves, orange zest, sugar and chopped porcini mushrooms and cook for a few minutes, then add the ale, thyme and mushroom liquid and bring to the boil, season with a teaspoon of salt and plenty of black pepper then pour the mixture over the beef. Pop a lid on the casserole dish and cook in the centre of the oven for 2 ½ hours.

Once removed from the oven add the chestnuts and chopped parsley, transfer the mixture to a pie dish and leave to go cold.

Tip – You can cook the pie filling the day before, once cooled store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

Pre-heat the oven to 190°c / gas 5.

To make the pastry place the flour, suet, Parmesan and thyme into a bowl. Whisk the egg with 120ml of cold water. Add only enough of the eggy water to bind the dough and reserve the remaining egg mixture. The dough shouldn’t be sticky, if it is just add a little more flour.

Tip – The pastry can also be made a day in advance, store in floured cling film in the refrigerator.

On a floured surface roll out the pastry to cover your pie dish, it should be the depth of a £1 coin. Using a rolling pin lift the pastry onto the pie, brush the edge of the dish with a little of the leftover egg mixture then press the pastry firmly around the edge with a fork to seal. Brush the last of the egg over the pastry, make a few steam holes in the lid and bake for 40 minutes until rich and golden brown. Serve hot with your favourite vegetables.