Craving juicy beef stew, but you're also feeling like enjoying buttery puff pastry? This amazing Scottish steak pie is just the thing for which you're looking. It's a traditional Scottish dish served on New Year's Day, but is delicious enough to be enjoyed anytime of year.
This Scottish steak pie is a simple recipe that doesn't require a lot of special ingredients. It's made from a simple beef stew (hence the word "steak" in the title) topped with puff pastry. Fortunately, there's very little cutting of vegetables for the stew, plus you can prep the filling entirely in advance. This makes it perfect for busy days.
- Meat: using pre-cut stewing beef makes this easy. A cheap cut is fine here, as it will be cooked low and slow to make it tender.
- Aromatics: this recipe calls for sliced onions, but try adding celery and carrot if you want.
- Herbs: a simple bouquet garni of fresh thyme and parsley, accompanied by a bay leaf, is all you need here.
- Seasonings: a combination of Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, and Colman's English mustard give a rich, deep flavor to the broth. Salt and pepper are the only other spices needed.
- Other Ingredients: these consist of flour for coating the meat, olive oil for browning it, and beef stock to create the broth.
Why do Scots eat steak pie on New Year's Day?
In years past, New Year's Day wasn't an official holiday in Scotland. Those who were busy working would not have had time to prepare a large meal, so they purchased steak pies from their local butcher. It has become a traditional Scottish menu choice, probably since it's such a wonderful meal on a cold winter evening.
Can I make this in the slow cooker?
Yes, the filling can easily be cooked in the slow cooker. However, you'll need to brown the stewing beef and saute the onions on the stovetop, so follow the recipe instructions for those steps. Then, add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours, or until the beef is very tender. Be sure to remove the bouquet garni and bay leaf before topping the filling with pastry and baking.
What do you serve with Scottish steak pie?
The Scottish often serve this with a mound of mash (mashed potatoes) and boiled peas. You can spoon the juices from the stew over the mash to make them even more delicious. If you're looking for other menu ideas, try cock-a-leekie soup, haggis, neeps and tatties, black bun, or shortbread.
Can I make this steak pie in advance or freeze it?
Yes to both questions! If you're making this ahead, cook the stew and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days, then bake it into a pie when desired.
For freezing, you can either freeze the stew by itself or freeze it with the baked pastry on top. Baking the steak pie filling and pastry in two disposable 8 inch deep dish aluminum pie plates would make it easy to reheat the frozen and defrosted pies in the oven. Defrost the pies overnight in the fridge or at room temperature for a few hours. The stew will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months without pastry and 1 month with pastry.
How to Make
Gather the ingredients for the Scottish steak pie. Let the beef warm up to room temperature before you start cooking; this will take about 30 minutes.
Toss the beef chunks in the flour, salt, and pepper until coated.
Brown the beef in small batches, turning the pieces when they no longer stick to the pan.
Once the meat has browned, dump in the sliced onions with a little beef broth. Saute them until they have softened.
Pour in the remaining broth, and add the other ingredients. Tie the fresh herbs together to make a bouquet garni, then add it to the stew along with the bay leaf. Stir until well combined.
Bring the stew to a boil on medium-high heat, then turn it down to low and simmer for 2 to 2 ½ hours, or until the beef is quite tender. Tougher cuts may take 3 hours or longer.
Remove the bouquet garni and the bay leaf, then pour the stew into a 6-cup pie dish and set it aside to cool. This is important to do, because a hot filling will melt the pastry.
Brush the lip of the dish with beaten egg, then lay the pastry on top. Press down the edges and trim off any excess pastry before brushing it with more beaten egg and cutting a few vent holes. Bake the pie at 400 F for about 35 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.
Let the steak pie cool for 15 minutes before serving with mashed potatoes and boiled peas. Enjoy!
- Change up the herbs in the bouquet garni based on what you have. Sage or rosemary would be good choices.
- Add additional flavor by replacing some of the beef stock with a dark ale or red wine. The alcohol will cook off as the stew simmers.
- Want to cook the filling in the crock pot? Follow steps 1-3 as written in the recipe card, then cook the stew for 8 hours on low, or until tender. Resume with the recipe as written.
- Want to make individual pies? Use large ramekins or individual-sized aluminum pie plates.
- Don't want puff pastry? Try hot water crust or homemade shortcrust for a different taste and texture.
- Need to reduce sodium? Cut the salt back to 1 teaspoon and use reduced-sodium beef broth.
- Some readers have stated that adding mustard and tomato paste and using olive oil in the filling is not authentic, so feel free to omit them or swap out the oil if you like. If you have more information about what the traditional ingredients are, please leave a comment.
- Let the meat warm up to room temperature before cooking it.
- Keep the heat on medium-low to reduce splattering when you brown the meat.
- When browning the beef, turn the pieces when they no longer stick to the pan.
- Tougher cuts of meat may take longer than 2 ½ hours to cook. Taste as you go to see if the meat is done to your liking.
- Make the stew filling up to 3-4 days in advance and bake it with the pastry when desired.
Other Savory Pies to Try
- Chunky Beef & Potato Pie
- Minced Beef Pie
- Tourtière (French Canadian Meat Pie)
- Steak and Ale Pie
- Shepherd's Pie
- Chicken, Bacon, and Apricot Pies
- Corned Beef Pie
- Dingle Pie (Irish Lamb Pie)
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Scottish Steak Pie
For the Filling
- 1.7 pounds stewing beef, cut into bite-sized chunks
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 3 ⅓ cups beef broth
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste, optional
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons Colman's mustard, optional
- Small handful of fresh thyme
- Small handful of fresh parsley
- 1 bay leaf
For the Pastry
- 1 pound 5 ounces puff pastry, chilled
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Let the meat warm up to room temperature before cooking it, about 30 minutes. Then, toss the chunks of stewing beef with the flour, salt, and pepper until coated.
- Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering, then lower the heat to medium-low. Brown the beef in small batches, removing the browned pieces to a bowl as you go. Turn the pieces when they no longer stick to the pan.
- Turn the heat back up to medium-high and add the sliced onions and a little of the broth. Stir and cook the onions for a few minutes, until they have softened.
- Add the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and the remaining broth. Bundle together the sprigs of fresh thyme and parsley and use kitchen twine to tightly tie them into a bouquet garni. Add the herbs and bay leaf to the pot and stir well to combine the ingredients.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then turn down the heat to low and simmer for 2 to 2 ½ hours, or until the meat is very tender.
- Remove the bouquet garni and bay leaf, then pour the stew into a 6-cup pie dish and set aside to cool. This step is important, as a steaming hot filling will melt the butter in the puff pastry. You can even refrigerate the filling overnight at this stage if desired.
- Once the stew is no longer hot, brush the edge of the pie dish with beaten egg and cover the filling with the puff pastry. Press the edges down to seal and trim off the excess pastry. Brush the whole top with beaten egg and cut several vent holes.
- Bake at 400 F for about 35 minutes, or until the crust is well browned. Let the pie cool for 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy with mashed potatoes and boiled peas.
- When browning the meat, keep the heat on medium-low to reduce splattering. Use a long-handled pair of tongs to keep your hands away from the hot oil. Turn the chunks when they no longer stick to the pan.
- Taste the stew towards the end of the cooking time to see if it is tender enough for you. Tougher cuts of meat may take an additional 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- The filling can be made up to 3-4 days in advance.
- Leftovers? A baked pie can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days. Leftover stew (without the pastry) can be frozen for up to 3 months.
- Some readers have stated that adding mustard and tomato paste and using olive oil in the filling is not authentic, so feel free to omit them or swap out the oil if you like.