Meat and potato pie is a traditional Yorkshire dish made with steak and potatoes, covered in a suet pastry crust. Serve with a bowl of mushy peas or your vegetables of choice for a deliciously comforting winter supper. Or as they say in Yorkshire ‘for a meal that will stick to your ribs’
Yorkshire meat and potato pie
If there’s one thing you can say about Yorkshire people, it’s that we love a good pie. I’m never happier than when I’m presented with a plate of succulent 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 meat and potato pie that I am going to share with you today takes some beating.
It’s made from succulent cubes of beef, cooked to tender perfection with lots of potatoes (it’s called meat and potato pie for a reason) and gravy. The whole thing is covered with a layer of fluffy suet pastry that soaks up the gravy like a sponge, as it bakes, leaving it 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 inside of the pastry has soaked up the gravy!!!
How to make meat and potato pie
You will need ingredients for both the filling and the suet pastry. These quantities will be sufficient for 4 people.
For the filling
- 1 kg stewing steak which you chop into 1-inch cubes.
- 2 large onions – roughly chopped. Don’t make them too small. They will soften and soak into the gravy on cooking.
- 1 kg potatoes chopped into 1-inch pieces.
- 2 Tablespoons worcestershire sauce – you can use more to your own taste. I know people who add extra worcestershire sauce when the pie is on their plate!
- 2 Tablespoons tomato puree – tomato always enhances the flavour of gravy
- 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard – to give a bit of bite.
- 2 to 3 cups beef stock – you can dissolve 3 stock cubes in 3 cups of water to make this if you don’t have stock to hand.
- Salt – to your own taste
- 2 to 3 Tablespoons sunflower oil for browning the meat
For the suet pastry
- 200g 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.
- 100g beef suet – you can buy this in packets from your local supermarket.
- 50g butter
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt – if you have a problem with salt, you can leave this out, but it does enhance the flavour of the pastry.
Step by Step
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 and set aside. Peel and chop the onions.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan and brown the meat on all sides. Do this in batches and do not over-crowd the pan or 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.
- Remove the browned meat from the pan and place in a pressure cooker or large saucepan.
- Fry the onions gently in the same pan, until they start to brown. Remove from the 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.
- 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 pressur cooker.
Cooking on the stove top
If you are making this dish on the stove, cover with a lid and simmer gently for about 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. Peel and grate the remaining potato. This is my secret tip for getting lovely thick potato flavoured gravy. The grated potato will cook away into the stock and help to thicken it.
- Add the chopped and grated potatoes to the meat.
- 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 pressur 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.
- 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
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. 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 between 1/2 to 1cm thick.
- Place the pastry on top of the pie. It should rest on the surface of the meat. As it cooks it will absorb some of the gravy from the pie.
- There is no need to make any holes in the pastry for the steam to escape. This is quite a heavy pastry and the idea is for the steam to help the pastry cook from underneath.
- 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?
You can freeze the filling, but the suet pastry is unsuitable for freezing.
However, you can make both the filling and the pastry up to 2 days in advance and store (separately) in the fridge.
When you are ready to make the pie just tip the meat into a pie dish and top with the pastry as per the recipe.
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.
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You probably have all of this equipment in your kitchen already. In case you are missing something, I’ve included some handy links to items on Amazon that you may find useful.
- Pressure cooker – you can use a traditional pressure cooker to make this dish. I like to use my electric pressure cooker.
- Large saucepan – if you are not using a pressure cooker
- Mixing bowl – for mixing the pastry
- Rolling pin – for rolling the pastry to shape. I have had a marble one for years and I love it.
- Large baking dish – you will need one large enough to hold the filling and pastry. Tip – place the baking dish on a baking tray to protect your oven from any over-spills.
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Recipe – Meat and Potato Pie
Meat and Potato Pie
- 1 kg stewing steak cubed
- 2 large onions chopped
- 2 Tablespoons worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tablespoons tomato puree
- 2 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 kg 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
- 200 g self-raising flour
- 100 g beef suet
- 50 g butter
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1/2 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 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 vegtables.
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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