An old fashioned, warming recipe - which uses suet!


  • 225 g plain flour
  • 110 g suet, shredded (or equal mix of butter & lard)
  • pinch salt
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 675 g lean beef, cut into 1” cubes
  • 2 tblsp olive oil
  • 30 g butter
  • 2 large onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
  • 150 g mushrooms
  • 30 g plain flour
  • 2 tsp tomato puree
  • 500 ml dungarvan stout
  • 300 ml beef stock, warmed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • sea salt & ground black pepper to season


  • Drizzle some olive oil into a pan over a medium heat and add a knob of butter.
  • Add the meat to the pan in batches and quickly brown, then remove the meat from the pan and place in a casserole dish, season with salt and pepper.
  • Using the same pan add the remaining butter then add the onion, celery, garlic, mushrooms and thyme and cook until the onion is translucent approx 3 – 5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle over the flour then add the tomato puree, cook for a further few minutes then pour in the stout and warmed beef stock.
  • The trick for a good beef stock is to roast the bones first to get some caramelized flavour going, then deglaze the roasting tin with some water or wine and add to the large pan. A few veal bones will help provide gelatin to the stock.
  • Remove the thyme stems from the pan. Pour the pan contents into the casserole dish and cover with a tight fitting lid.
  • Place in a preheated oven at 150F/300F/Gas Mark 2 for 2 hours, checking occasionally to ensure there is enough liquid in the dish.
  • Once cooked remove from the oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes. (This prevents the pastry from being soggy as otherwise the hot filling will melt the fat in the pastry before the cooking process begins. The pastry cooks far better if the filling is cool.)
  • Meanwhile, to make the pastry, sieve the flour into a large bowl and add the salt.
  • Add the suet and just enough water to bind the ingredients and make a soft but not sticky dough.
  • Place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  • Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and line the individual pastry dishes, then using the top of the dish as a template cut the pastry for the lid - place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  • Fill the pastry lined pie dish with the meat and brush the edges with the egg wash.
  • Place the top on the pie and brush with the egg wash; pierce the centre to allow the steam to escape.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 30 – 35 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden.


Kevin's top tips: Instead of a Pastry Top use mashed potatoes. Wrap and Freeze the unbaked pies if not using immediately, allow to defrost before cooking. Allow the beef filling to cool for 30 minutes as the pastry cooks far better.