British Pie Week: Celebrate with Ben Tish's recipe for a cow and ale pie

 (Press Handout)
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Ben Tish is widely regarded as one of London’s finest chefs, and is best known these days for his extremely good pub food across the Cubitt House group. In a collaboration with London butcher shop The Ginger Pig, Tish below shares his recipes for a stunning dish in time for British Pie Week, which restaurants across London celebrate from March 4-10.

For those who’d rather not cook, the cow and ale pie is on the menu across the Cubitt House collection, which includes the Barley Mow in Mayfair, the Princess Royal in Notting Hill and the excellent Builders Arms in Chelsea.

It should be noted that whilst Doom Bar is given as the preferred ale of choice, any good quality ale will work. Additionally, for ease, the pastry can be substituted for the shop-bought stuff.

Cow and ale pie

Serves: 6-8


For the beef seasoning

  • 1 tbsp smoked Maldon sea salt

  • 1 pinch crushed dried red chilli

  • 1 pinch fennel seeds

  • 1 pinch coriander seeds


  1. Combine the dry ingredients.

For the pie filling

  • 250g minced beef

  • 250g diced beef cheek

  • 250g diced chuck steak

  • 200g diced onions

  • 200g diced carrots

  • 1 sticks of celery, diced

  • 5 cloves garlic

  • 3tbsp beef dripping

  • 500ml ale (Doom Bar works well)

  • 500ml beef stock

  • 50g plain flour

  • Henderson’s Relish, to taste

  • Quarter of a bunch of picked thyme

  • Half a bunch of finely chopped flat leaf parsley


  1. Season the beef with the beef seasoning (above) and leave it for 30 minutes.

  2. Next, fry the meat in half the beef dripping until its caramelized. Sprinkle in the flour, coating the meat well, and cook for a few minutes, stirring all the time to stop anything catching on the bottom. Deglaze the pan with the ale and stock, and place it all in deep oven tray.

  3. Fry the vegetables and garlic in the remaining beef dripping for 10-15 minutes, then put it in oven tray with the meat, and add in the thyme.

  4. Cover with a double layer of foil and braise gently at 160°C for two hours.

  5. Take the meat out of the stock and reduce the gravy if needed.

  6. Check the seasoning and finish with Henderson’s Relish and chopped parsley.

  7. Chill the mix until its needed to make the pies.

For the suet pastry base

  • 700g self-raising flour

  • 300g shredded vegetable suet

  • 300ml ice-cold water

  • 5g Maldon salt


  1. To make the suet crust base, put the self-raising flour, suet and a couple of pinches of salt into a bowl and use your fingers to mix it all together.

  2. Once the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, add roughly 150ml of ice-cold water to bring it together, until you have a soft dough.

  3. Cover with cling film, and place in the fridge until needed.

For the rough puff pastry top

  • 1kg unsalted butter

  • 1kg strong white bread flour

  • 600ml ice-cold water

  • 20ml white wine vinegar

  • 5g Maldon sea salt


  1. To make the rough puff top, put the plain flour and salt into a bowl and dice the butter. Rub together to mix, but there should still be small lumps of butter.

  2. Pour in the water and mix to combine to a firm dough. Be careful not to over mix.

  3. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge.

To finish the pie

  1. Turn out the puff pastry onto a floured board and roll out into a square. There should be small streaks of butter running through the pastry. Fold the right hand third halfway into the middle, and repeat with the remaining left hand side. Then roll it out again and repeat the folding process two more times. Cover with cling film and return to the fridge for half an hour.

  2. Dust a clean surface with flour and roll out the suet crust dough so it’s about 1cm thick. Line your pie dish, push and pat it in, letting a couple of centimetres hang over the edge.

  3. Press the now cool pie mixture into the lined pie mould.

  4. Roll out the rough puff pastry until it’s about 1 cm thick. Egg wash the suet crust overhang and place the layer of puff pastry on top of the filling, making a small hole to let steam out during cooking.

  5. Egg wash the pie top, trim the edges with scissors and crimp to seal.

  6. Cook for 30 minutes at 180°C.

  7. Serve with mash potato and gravy.

The cow and ale pie in partnership with The Ginger Pig butchers is being served across the Cubitt House pub group from March 4 - 10,