Classic Meat Pies

5 from 5 reviews

Classic Meat Pies with a chunky beef and Guinness filling. A delicious meat pie recipe with step-by-step photos.


To make the filling

To assemble the meat pies


To make the beef filling

  1. Heat some oil in a large pan. I like to use a cast-iron pan with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Season the beef generously with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
  3. Brown the beef in small batches, and use a slotted spoon to remove the browned meat to a large bowl. Try not to over-crowd the pan, otherwise the meat will steam instead of brown; it is the caramelisation on the meat which gives a lot of flavour to the stew.
  4. Add the onions and garlic, and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add the Guinness and let everything bubble away. 
  6. Use a wooden spoon to scrape off any caramelised bits on the pan.
  7. Add the beef stock, thyme and bay leaves.
  8. Return the beef to the pan, together with any meat juices which have collected in the bowl.
  9. Turn the heat down to low, and cook gently on a low simmer for about 2 hours, or until the beef is tender. See Kitchen Notes below for instructions using a pressure cooker.
  10. Once the beef is tender, add the mushrooms.
  11. Simmer gently for a few minutes until the mushrooms have softened slightly.
  12. During this time, try to remove the thyme and bay leaves.
  13. Turn up the heat to medium-high, and slowly add the cornflour slurry. You may not need all of it – just add enough until you have a fairly thick consistency.
  14. Taste the sauce for seasoning.
  15. Add the parsley.
  16. Set the mixture aside to cool completely.

To blind-bake the pastry

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F).
  2. Cut out rounds from the shortcrust pastry to fit the pie tins.
  3. Place the shortcrust pastry rounds into each pie tin.
  4. Place the pie tins on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  5. Cut some sheets of baking paper which are large enough to sit inside the pie tins.
  6. Scrunch up the baking paper and then flatten it out again – this will make it easier to handle to the baking paper.
  7. Place the pieces of baking paper on top of the shortcrust pastry bottoms.
  8. Place a small handful of ceramic baking beans (or uncooked rice or dried beans) on top of the baking paper.
  9. Place the tray of pie tins into the oven and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the pastry looks lightly golden.
  10. Carefully remove the baking paper and baking beans from each pie tin.
  11. Place the tray of pie tins back into the oven, and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the pastry looks a nice, lightly golden colour all over.

To assemble the pies

  1. Fill each pie tin with some of the beef filling, taking care to not over-fill the pies.
  2. Cut out rounds from the puff pastry to fit as lids on the pies.
  3. Lightly brush the rim of the pastry bottoms with some egg wash.
  4. Place the lids on top of each pie.
  5. Use a fork to seal the edges of the pie together.
  6. Brush the tops of the pies with some egg wash.
  7. Use a knife or scissors to cut a vent in each pie.
  8. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.

Kitchen Notes

* This recipe produces more filling than you will need to make the pies.
* I haven’t specified the amounts of pastry needed as much depends on the size of your pie dishes, and how many pies you intend to make.
* The filling is essentially a beef stew which is delicious eaten as it is with some mashed potatoes or roast potatoes
* I also like to use the leftover filling to make a large pie in an oven-proof dish with just a pastry lid.

* Feel free to omit the mushrooms.
* Add carrots instead of the mushrooms. In which case, add them in Step 8 with the beef.
* Substitute the Guinness with a good red wine. In which case, I would also add 1-2 tablespoons of tomato paste in Step 7.

* To freeze the pies, ready for a quick snack or lunch at a later time, make the pies as per the recipe. Once you have covered each pie with some pastry, place the uncooked pies (in the pie tins) into the freezer. When the pies are frozen, remove them from the tins and place them in a zip-lock freezer bag.
* You can bake the pies when they are frozen (no need to defrost), brushing them with some egg-wash before popping them into the oven. They will need an extra 5 to 10 minutes of baking time.

If you are short on time, I recommend using a pressure cooker to make the filling. Follow Steps 1 to 8 as per the instructions above, but add only 1 cup of beef stock. Cook on high pressure for 30 minutes, and then quickly release the pressure. Remove the lid, add the mushrooms, and proceed with the rest of the recipe. If the stew needs more liquid, add some more beef stock or boiling water.

All recipes on this website state temperatures for a regular oven (i.e. a conventional oven without fan). If you have a convection oven with a fan, please consult the manufacturer’s handbook on how to adjust the temperature and baking time accordingly.

To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.