This hearty meat and potato pie is a traditional Yorkshire dish made with steak and potatoes, covered in a soft buttery suet pastry crust. Serve with a bowl of mushy peas or your favourite vegetables for a deliciously comforting supper. Or as they say in Yorkshire ‘for a meal that will stick to your ribs’
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Yorkshire meat and potato pie
If there’s one thing you can say about Yorkshire people, it’s that we love a good meaty pie, and this meat and potato pie is one of the best. I’m never happier than when I’m presented with a plate of succulent meaty filling, covered with a layer of crispy pastry.
You can make a pie in so many different ways. Encase the whole thing in crispy shortcrust pastry, as in this Bacon and Egg Pie. Or you could just cover the filling with a layer of well-risen puff pastry, as in this Steak and Kidney Pie. You can make large pies, or individual pot pies, like these Beef Pot Pies with Pepper Sauce. Or even make a pie out of cheesy choux pastry as in Chicken and Mushroom Puff Pie.
But I’m here to tell you right now, that this old-fashioned meat and potato pie recipe that I am going to share with you today takes some beating. I’m also going to share with you my top tip for how to thicken gravy without using any flour or cornstarch.
This meat and potato pie is made from succulent cubes of beef, cooked to fork-tender perfection with lots of potatoes (it’s called meat and potato pie for a reason) and loads of thick meaty gravy. The whole thing is covered with a layer of buttery, soft suet pastry that soaks up the gravy like a sponge, as it bakes, leaving the underside of the pastry soft and full of flavour.
Believe me, experiencing a plate of meat and potato pie, with a generous helping of traditional British mushy peas, should be on everyone’s bucket list!
Just look at how the underside of the suet pastry has soaked up the gravy!!!
What you need to make a meat and potato pie
You can get the complete list of ingredients and full instructions for making this meat and potato pie on the printable recipe card at the end of this post. It is a generous recipe and will easily feed 4 hungry people. To make a large pie just increase the quantities accordingly.
For the meat filling
- Stewing steak which you chop into 1-inch cubes.
- Onions – roughly chopped. Don’t make them too small. They will soften and soak into the gravy on cooking.
- Potatoes chopped into 1-inch pieces. Reserve one potato and grate it instead of chopping it. The grated potato will serve to thicken the gravy.
- Worcestershire sauce – worcestershire sauce and meat and potato pie go together like bacon and eggs. I know people who add extra worcestershire sauce when the pie is on their plate!
- Tomato puree – tomato always enhances the flavour of gravy
- Dijon mustard – for a bit of a bite.
- Beef stock – you can dissolve 1 stock cube per cup of water to make instant stock if you don’t have real beef stock to hand.
- Salt – to your own taste
- Sunflower oil for browning the meat.
For the suet pastry
You can cheat and buy either shortcrust or puff pastry and use that to cover the pie instead, but honestly this pastry mixes in minutes and it tastes so good!!!
- Self-raising flour – if you don’t have self-raising flour just use plain all purpose flour and add 1 teaspoon baking powder to each cup of flour.
- Beef suet – you can buy this in packets from your local supermarket.
One of my US readers kindly pointed out that suet isn’t readily available in the US. I use a brand called Atora Shredded Suet. It is available in both Beef and Vegetable varieties and you can order it from Amazon. I do recommend you try to get hold of some if you possible can – the suet pastry really makes this dish.
- Butter – this is rubbed into the flour with the suet.
- Cold water – for mixing into the pastry
- Salt – if you have a problem with salt, you can leave this out, but it does enhance the flavour of the pastry.
How to make a meat and potato pie
Start by making the filling. I normally use a pressure cooker as it cooks the meat quickly and saves time. You can cook this on the stove top if you don’t have a pressure cooker. I’ve included timings for this in the instructions.
- Chop the steak into 1-inch cubes, remove any fat and discard. Set the meat aside which you peel and chop the onions. Cut the onions into approximately 1″ pieces.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan and brown the meat on all sides (image 1). Do this in batches so as not over-crowd the pan, otherwise you will end up with a lot of moisture in the pan which we don’t want. You should aim to get the pan quite hot and just sear the meat to seal it.
- Transfer the browned meat from the pan into either a pressure cooker or large saucepan.
- Use the same frying pan to fry the onions gently, until they start to brown (image 2). Remove from the frying pan and add to the meat.
- Dissolve 2 beef stock cubes in 2 cups (1 pint) boiling water. If you are using your own beef stock you can skip this step and just pour your stock into a jug.
- Now add the sauces and flavourings to the stock (this will be the worcestershire sauce, tomato puree and djion mustard).
- Pour the flavoured stock over the meat and onions in the pressue cooker ((image 3).
- If you are using salt, add 1 teaspoon of salt to the meat, onion and stock mixture.
Cooking in a pressure cooker
If you are using a pressure cooker, put the lid on and cook on the highest setting for 30 minutes. This is the ‘Stew’ function on my Pressure King Pro. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your own pressure cooker.
Cooking on the stove top
If you are making this dish on the stove, cover with a lid and simmer gently for at least 2 hours until the meat is tender. Keep your eye on it and top up with the extra cup of stock if necessary.
- Peel and chop all the potatoes except one, and add to the meat. Peel and grate the remaining potato and add that as well. This is my secret tip for getting lovely thick potato flavoured gravy. The grated potato will disintegrate as it cooks, and you will be left with a lovely thick delicious gravy. Try and use a ‘fluffy’ potato for grating if possible, so that it does its job of disintegrating and thickens the gravy nicely.
- If you are using a pressure cooker, cook on a medium setting for 10 minutes. I use the ‘Meat’ setting on my Pressure King Pro. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your own pressure cooker.
- If you are using a saucepan on the stove top, cover with a lid and allow to boil for 20 to 25 minutes until the potatoes are soft and the gravy has thickened.
- Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary.
- There should be more gravy than you would normally use for a pie, as some of the gravy will get absorbed by the pastry. If you feel there is not sufficient gravy you can top it up with extra beef stock.
- If you find the grated potato has not thickened the gravy sufficiently, make a slurry with a tablespoon or cornstarch or cornflour and a couple of tablespoons of water and drizzle that slowly into the gravy over a low heat until the gravy thickens sufficiently. You may not need all the slurry, so don’t tip it in all at once.
- Tip the meat and potatoes into a large pie dish and allow to cool while you make the pastry.
Make the suet pastry and bake
This is my favourite recipe for suet pastry. The addition of butter adds extra flavour and the pastry bakes to a crispy softness that just melts in your mouth.
The texture of unbaked suet pastry is slightly different to normal pastry. It has quite a thick texture, with knobbly bits in it where the suet hasn’t broken down. Don’t worry – it will break down as it bakes.
Pre-heat the oven to 200F / 400C
- Mix the flour, salt and suet together in a mixing bowl, to combine.
- Add the butter and rub through until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. The suet will not break down completely, but this is normal and expected. It will melt into the pastry as it bakes.
- Add sufficient water to make a soft dough. Do not add the water all at once, start with about 3/4 of the water and add more if necessary. You want the mixture to come together in a soft ball.
- Tip the pastry onto a floured surface and either roll it out with a rolling pin, or press into shape with your fingers until the pastry is large enough to fit onto the top of your pie dish.
- The pastry should be approximately 1/2 to 1cm thick. We want a nice chunky pastry on top of this pie.
- Place the pastry on top of the pie and press gently against the sides of the pie dish. The pastry should rest on the surface of the meat. As it cooks it will absorb some of the gravy from the pie.
- Using a fork, prick holes in the pastry for the steam to escape during cooking
- You can place the pie dish on a baking sheet to catch any spills should the filling bubble out during cooking.
- Place in the pre-heated oven for about 30 minutes until the pastry has turned golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and serve with mushy peas or your favourite vegetables, and plenty of gravy.
Your questions answered
Can I freeze meat and potato pie?
If you want to freeze the unbaked pie, my advice would be to assemble the pie in a large disposable aluminium pie dish. That way your baking dish can remain in your cupboard 🙂 .
Just wrap the cooled assembled pie in a layer of tinfoil and cover with one or two layers of plastic clingfilm before freezing.
You can freeze this pie for up to 3 months.
To use, remove from the freezer and allow to defrost in the refrigerator then bake according to the recipe instructions.
Alternatively, you could just freeze the cooled filling. When you are ready to make the pie, defrost the filling in the refrigerator, pour into a pie dish, cover with pastry and bake according to the recipe instructions.
Can I make this in advance?
You can make both the filling and the pastry up to 2 days in advance and store (separately and covered) in the fridge.
When you are ready to make the pie just tip the meat into a pie dish and top with the pastry and bake as per the recipe instructions.
Do I have to use suet pastry?
You don’t have to use suet pastry, but then you won’t get the lovely soaked up gravy and suet combination. You could top the pie with puff pastry instead.
Don’t forget to check out my handy Cookery Conversion Calculator if you want to convert any of your recipe measurements from grams to cups, ounces, tablespoons or millilitres and vice versa. You can also use the calculator for converting oven temperatures between Fahrenheit, Celsius and Gas marks.
If you live at a high altitude you may find you need to adjust your baking recipes to compensate for this. You can read all about it in this post on baking at high altitudes.
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Recipe – Traditional Meat and Potato Pie
Traditional meat and potato pie
(Click the stars to rate this recipe)
- Rolling Pin
- Large baking dish (8" x 12") or (9" x 9")
- 21 oz (600g) stewing steak cubed
- 2 large onions chopped
- 2 Tablespoons worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tablespoons tomato puree
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 lb (1kg) potatoes approximately
- 2 cups (1 pint) beef stock use a stock cube if necessary
- Salt to taste
- 2-3 Tablespoons Sunflower oil for browning the meat
- 1½ cups (200g) self-raising flour
- ½ cup (100g) beef suet
- 2 oz (60g) butter
- ¼ cup cold water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Cut the meat into 1-inch cubes
- Heat the sunflower oil in a frying pan and brown the meat in batches. Place browned meat in a pressure cooker or saucepan and set aside.
- Fry the onions in the same pan until they start to turn brown. Add to the meat.
- Dissolve 2 beef stock cubes in 2 cups (1pint) boiling water.
- Add 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce, 2 Tablespoons Tomato puree and 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard to the stock and stir well. Pour the stock over the meat and onions.
- Season the meat with salt to taste
- If using a pressure cooker – cook the meat on the highest setting for 30 minutes ('Stew' function on my Pressure King Pro)
- If cooking in a saucepan on the stove-top – cover with a lid and simmer for 2 hours. Check occasionally and top up with extra stock if it starts to boil dry.
- Peel the potatoes and chop all except one into chunks. Grate the remaining potato. This will help thicken the stock.
- Add the potatoes (both chopped and grated) to the meat.
- If using a pressure cooker – cook the meat and potatoes for a further 10 minutes on medium setting ('Meat' setting on my Pressure King Pro')
- If cooking in a saucepan on the stove-top – cover with a lid and boil for 20 to 25 minutes until the potatoes are soft and the gravy has thickened.
- Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary.
- Tip the meat and potato mix into a large pie dish and allow to cool.
- Preheat oven to 200°C / 400°F
- Mix the flour, salt and suet together in a mixing bowl.
- Add the butter and rub into the flour to form breadcrumbs
- Add sufficient water to make a soft dough. Do not add the water all at once. Use about 3/4 of the water and add the rest as needed.
- Place the pastry on a floured surface and roll out with a rolling pin or press out with your fingers until the pastry is large enough to cover your pie dish.
- Place the pastry on top of the pie. It should rest on the surface of the meat.
- Place in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes until the pastry has turned golden brown.
- Remove from oven and serve with mushy peas or your favourite vegetables.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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