Steak & Ale Pie

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King George V pub in Northfield (pictured here as a restaurant)

As a creature of habit, Grandad would put on his smart overcoat and trilby hat, then walk every day to the King George pub in Northfield for a pint of bitter. My favourite treat would be to go with him on Saturday lunchtime to watch the bowls team play matches.

Sitting in this oasis of calm, my tipple was a Vimto with a packet of Walkers salt and vinegar crips. For an extra special treat, we would eat there on occasion and Steak and Ale Pie was a regular serving on the menu. So here is my tribute to the King George pub, who made my Saturday afternoons a special time with my Grandad.

Steak & Ale Pie

Serves 6
FILLING: 910g (2lb) stewing steak, cut into cubes * 1 tbsp plain flour, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper * 1 tbsp olive oil * 2 onions, sliced * 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley * 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme * salt & freshly ground black pepper * 285ml (½ pint) beef stock * 570ml (1 pint) dark ale

PASTRY: 85g (3oz) unsalted butter * 85g (3oz) lard * 310g (11oz) plain white flour * a pinch of salt * 5 tbsp cold water * 2 tbsp milk

Dust the cubed steak with the seasoned flour. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan and fry the meat, stirring frequently, until browned on all sides. Add the sliced onions, herbs, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the stock and ale, bringing it to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for an hour and a half. Add a little water, if required, to prevent it bubbling dry. While the casserole cooks, make your pastry. Rub together the flour and the fats until they are like breadcrumbs. Bind the pastry together with the water using your hands. Wrap the pastry in cling film and then rest in the fridge for about an hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5. Divide your pastry into 2/3 and 1/3. Use the larger section to line your pie dish, leaving the edges draped over the sides. Fill with the cooled casserole. Roll out the second piece of pastry. Moisten the rim of the pastry in the pie dish with water using your fingers. Drape the pastry lid over the top and seal down. Trim the edges and check the edges are fully sealed. Make some decorations using leftover pastry and prick some holes for the steam to escape. You can chill the pie until you are ready to cook it. When you are ready to cook, brush the pastry with milk. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown. Serve immediately.

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This recipe comes from the section GREAT BRITISH DISHES, a selection of the best of British food.