Beef and oyster pie

Beef and oyster pie

Hix Oyster & Chop House
Jason Lowe

Pies are a great way to use the less expensive, yet full-flavoured meat cuts, such as flank and shin of beef, mutton shoulder and neck, and ox cheeks. Tucking in a few shucked oysters adds a touch of luxury.


Quantity Ingredient
1kg flank or shin of beef, trimmed
3 tablespoons plain flour
freshly ground black pepper
vegetable oil, for frying
30g butter
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon tomato puree
200ml dark ale
1.5 litres beef stock, hot
1 teaspoon thyme leaves, chopped
1 small bay leaf
1-2 teaspoons cornflour
12 large oysters, 8 shucked, 4 left in the half-shell

For the pastry

Quantity Ingredient
225g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
85g beef suet, shredded
60g butter, chilled and coarsely grated
1 free-range medium egg white, beaten, to glaze

For the parsley crust

Quantity Ingredient
a generous knob butter
2 tablespoons fresh white breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped


  1. Cut the meat roughly into 3 cm cubes. Season half of the flour with salt and pepper and use to lightly flour the meat. Heat a little oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan and fry the meat in 2 or 3 batches over a high heat until nicely browned. Set aside on a plate.
  2. Melt the butter in a large, heavy-based pan or flameproof casserole and fry the onion and garlic for a few minutes until lightly coloured. Add the remaining flour and tomato purée. Stir over a low heat for a minute or so, then slowly add the ale and hot stock, stirring to avoid lumps forming.
  3. Add the beef with the thyme and bay leaf. Bring back to a simmer, cover and simmer very gently (ideally using a heat-diffuser mat or a simmer plate) for about 2 hours until the meat is tender. When the meat is cooked, the sauce should have thickened to a gravy-like consistency. If not, mix a little cornflour to a paste with 1 tablespoon water, stir into the sauce and simmer, stirring, for a few minutes. Leave to cool.
  4. To make the pastry, mix the flour, salt, suet and butter together in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Mix in enough water (about 150 ml) to form a smooth dough and knead for a minute.
  5. Spoon the cooled filling into 4 individual pie dishes (or a large dish) to about 1 cm from the rim. Roll the pastry out on a floured surface to a 7–8 mm thickness. Cut out 4 discs to make pie lids (or one large lid for a big pie), about 2 cm larger all round than the pie dish(es). Brush the edges of the pastry with a little of the beaten egg.
  6. Lay the pastry over the filling, pressing the eggwashed sides onto the rim of the dish(es). Cut a 2 cm hole in the centre but leave the pastry circle in position. Let rest in a cool place for 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Brush the pie(s) with beaten egg and bake for 30–35 minutes (or 40–50 minutes for a large one) until the pastry is golden. Meanwhile, for the parsley crust, melt the butter in a pan, mix in the breadcrumbs and parsley, and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Once the pie(s) are ready, remove the pastry disc(s) in the centre and pop in the shucked oysters. Return to the oven for 10 minutes. In the meantime, heat the grill. Scatter the parsley crust over the oysters in their half-shell and grill until golden. Place over the hole in the pie and serve.
Hix Oyster & Chop House
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