Beef Stew and Leftover Stew Pie for Two

Monday 18 February 2019

Simple Simon met a Pie Man going to the fair, said Simple Simon to the Pie Man, let me taste your ware.  Said the Pie Man to Simple Simon, show me first your penny.  Said Simple Simon to the Pie Man, Indeed I have not any." 

Such a sad verse I think!  I can remember reading this as a child and feeling very sorry for Simple Simon.  Pies have always been one of my favourite things!

Everyone in my family is the same.  If it is between two crusts, sitting beneath a crust, or sitting on top of a crust . . .  we are ALL over it! 

Largely due in fact to  my mother's ability to make really fabulous pies, sweet or savoury.  We loved the sweet of course . . .  but we were also very fond of her savoury pies.  I don't think we had a roast dinner when I was growing up that wasn't followed by a tasty pot pie later in the week. My mother had the God given ability to make leftovers taste brand new and just as yummy, if not more yummy than the original dinner! 

I like to think I have somewhat inherited that ability in that I, too, can create wonderful things from leftovers.  Take for instance this delicious beef stew I made the other night.  My Todd really loves a stew, and I do also.  Sometimes I put potatoes in the stew, but he really likes potatoes on the side as mash, so more often that not I will do that.

So anyways I made a pretty basic stew for us for tea one night last week, using only beef, carrots, parsnips, onions, celery and swede/turnips/rutabaga . .  . leaving out the potato because Todd wanted mash.  I had in mind to serve it on two nights as there are only two of us . . .  so once again a perfect opportunity for me to make something tasty from leftovers.

This stew is pretty fabulous, and you an double it to serve more people if you would like.  Stews are pretty simple dishes to do and they basically (after the initial browning of the meat) cook themselves.

Yield: 4

A Basic Stew

prep time: 30 minscook time: 1 hour and 30 minstotal time: 1 hours and 60 mins
This is the very basic recipe for a delicious stew.  You can use beef, or pork, or lamb, or venison and it will come out perfectly every time.  The secret is in the browning.


  • 1 pound of stewing meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • (trim of any fat and gristle and discard)
  • salt and black pepper
  • flour to roll the meat in
  • a knob of butter
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery, trimmed and chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into coins
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and cut into coins
  • 1/2 a small rutabaga (swede) peeled and cut into cubes
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 TBS tomato ketchup
  • hot water to cover
  • beef stock cube
  • 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf


  1. Season your meat and roll it in flour to coat. Melt the knob of butter in a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the meat and brown it well on all sides working in batches. Don't over crowd your pan or your meat won't brown well. Browning it well is the secret to a nicely coloured gravy. Remove the meat to a bowl as it browns and repeat until all the meat has been browned. Add the onions and celery to the pan. Saute until softened. Return the meat to the pan along with any juices that have accumulated in the bowl. Add enough hot water to barely cover the meat along with the Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, stock cube, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, tightly covered at a slow simmer for about an hour. Add the carrot, parsnip and rutabaga. Cover and cook for about half an hour longer. Add the potato cubes and cover again. Cook for a further 15 to 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the meat is falling apart. Taste and adjust seasoning as required. Serve hot with plenty of crusty bread for sopping up all the juices.
  2. Note - if you wish a thick gravy you can shake a tablespoon of flour in a jar with about 110ml or 1/2 cup of cold water until smooth. Stir this into the stew and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Cook for several minutes to cook out the flavour of the flour.
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I had in mind the night after to make a simple Pie for us to enjoy, using the leftover stew.  Pretty basic really.  It was not hard.

I made my own pastry for it, but you could use any store bought ready rolled short crust pastry you can get.  Even puff pastry is pretty special. 

For myself I prefer to use my Butter Lard Pastry.  It is a beautiful pastry that always comes out very flaky and delicious.  There is something very magical and flavourful about pastry that is made with both butter and lard.  In my opinion it can't be beat! 

Yield: makes 2 (9-inch) crusts

Butter Lard Pastry

This is a beautiful pastry.  Flaky just right.  You can add a touch of sugar to it if you are making a fruit pie.


  • 2 cups all purpose flour (280g)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup butter (76g)
  • 1/3 cup lard (or white vegetable shortening) (74g)
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons of ice water
  • (note: if using for a sweet pie, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of sugar.)


  1. Mix flour with salt, and cut in butter and lard, until you have pieces of fat in the flour about the size of peas. Add ice water, one TBS at a time, tossing it in with a fork until pastry comes together. Form in to a ball and cut in two pieces. Form each into a round flat disc. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Of course I had not put any potatoes in my stew, and I wanted some in my pie. I always have tinned new potatoes in my store cupboard, which are perfect for things like this, or even just for making fried potatoes. 

I warmed the stew gently and added a bit of boiling stock to loosen it a tiny bit. You don't need much.  You just don't it to be really thick.  You want it a bit juicy. 

Then I stirred in the sliced potatoes, gently folding them into the stew so as not to break them up too much.  After that I just poured the stew into a baking dish and topped it with my pastry.  I like to get really fancy when I do a meat pie crust.  I always make fancy cuts in it and in this instance I cut out some extra pieces and stuck them on top to decorate it a bit.

You can brush it with some beaten egg (1 small egg, 1 tsp water) which really glazes it up nicely. Or you can brush it with some milk.  Heck, you can even just leave it alone.  All are great.  It just depends on how fiddly you want to be.

Then you just pop it into a hot oven (200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6) and bake until the filling is bubbling away and the pastry is crisp and golden brown.  Easy peasy.  Everyone is happy.  Obviously for a pie for two people, you will only need half the pastry.  Just wrap and freeze the other disc for another time.  For a pie for more people you can use the whole recipe and just roll it out to cover your casserole dish.  I served this with some coleslaw.  I am not bragging, but . . .  okay maybe a little bit  . . .  it was some tasty!  And it was just leftovers.  I love it when that happens!  No waste here! Happy days! 


  1. PS In case you don't see this..Jeanie made a cake of yours

  2. Mmmm..delicious ..and yes to the coleslaw too ! Marie can you give me the link to your lovely carrot coleslaw please ? I cant find it and we all loved it so much :) x

    1. Thanks Debs! I am not sure if this is the carrot salad you are talking about or not, but here is a link:

  3. Thankyou ever so much Marie..and your Christmas Coleslaw is delicious too !

    1. You are so welcome Debs. Just in case you want the link to that, here it is:

  4. I always thought that simple Simon was very cheeky to ask for a taster. I love a pie but I am lacking in the pastry skill department

    1. Yes he was quite cheeky! Lucky for you, there are some really good ready made pastry options available in the shops today! Xoxo


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