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Beef, Mushroom and Marrowbone Pie

Introduction & method

This pie came about because I wanted to make something like the cow pies (Americans stop sniggering) that cartoon character Desperate Dan lives on. His pies have a pair of cow horns sticking out of the top but I can't get those. But the idea of three marrowbones sticking out of the top is borrowed from Calum Franklin's great book, The Pie Room. And, a confession - I normally insist that a pie must have pastry top and bottom. This only has pastry on top, but it's still fabulous.

Beef, Mushroom and Marrowbone Pie Recipe

About the Bones

Some recipes want you to soak the bones for 12-24 hours to get rid of the blood. I didn't do this, I just soaked them in cold salted water for 30 minutes and it turned out fine.

Make the Filling

Cut your beef into cubes about 1½cm (a bit over half an inch). Mix the flour, salt and mustard powder together and toss the beef cubes in to get them coated all over. Peel and dice the onion. Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan and sauté the onions for about five minutes. It's okay if they get a bit browned. Peel and mince the garlic, cook for a minute, then add the floured beef chunks, shaking each one remove excess flour. Cook them on fairly high heat to get them browned all over. Depending on the size of your pan, you might need to cook the meat in two batches.

Cook the Filling

You have three options for cooking this filling. You can do it in a slow cooker/crockpot overnight or for at least 8 hours. You can simmer it in a large pot on a stove for 3½ hours. Or you can use a pressure cooker for 30 minutes.
Add the sautéed onion, beef and garlic to your slow cooker, pot or pressure cooker along with all the other filling ingredients except the mushrooms and marrowbones and cook for the times specified above. Rinse the mushrooms, remove the stems and cut the caps in half if they are big. Put them all in with the rest of the stew and increase the heat to maximum to reduce and thicken the gravy. When done, taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. Set the filling aside and allow it to cool.

Make the Pastry

You could use shop-bought puff or flaky pastry, but I recommend you make this wonderful suet pastry - it's very easy and very simple. If you can't get suet pellets, you can substitute butter, frozen, grated, and tossed in flour. Mix the flour, suet and salt together in a large bowl. Stir in the water, bit by bit until it forms a ball that leaves the bowl clean. Wrap it in plastic film and put it in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.

Assemble the Pie

You'll need an ovenproof dish that you can fill to the brim with filling. Mine is a sort of rounded rectangle, xcm ( inches) x xxcm ( inches) and a capacity of xx litres. Place the bones upright in the dish and surround them with the filling. Lightly flour your worktop and roll the pastry into a rectangle that's a couple of centimetres (about an inch) bigger all round than the dish. The next bit, getting the lid to fit over the bones, is a little bit tricky. Roll the pastry over the rolling pin and unroll it across the bones and adjust its position so that it looks aligned with the tin underneath. With a sharp knife, cut a cross in the pastry centred on each each bone. Peel back the dough and work it loose so you can push it down. Straighten the pastry around the edge of the tin and let it hang down, trimming off any excess.

Bake the Pie

Heat your oven to 180°C (356°F) for a fan/convection oven, 200°C (392°F) conventional, gas 6. Make up some eggwash by beating together one egg with a splash of milk. Paint the lid all over and place the pie in the oven. Bake it for 40-50 minutes, turning it round halfway through.

The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Beef, Mushroom and Marrowbone Pie on YouTube.


Ingredients & Info

 700 grams beef skirt
 150 grams chestnut mushrooms
 1 medium onion
 250 ml red wine
 250 ml beef stock
 2 cloves garlic
 2 tbsp fresh flat parsley, chopped
 2 bay leaves
 half a tbsp ground black pepper
  salt to taste
 200 grams plain (all-purpose) flour
 100 grams suet
 150 ml water
 1 tsp salt


Oil for sautéeing. 3 lengths of marrow bone, about 15cm (6 inches).

US Customary/Imperial

Serves 4 -6
Prep time: 15 minutes.
Cooking time: 4 hours 30 minutes.
Total time: 4 hours 45 minutes.