In fairness I couldn’t do Pie Month without including a classic Irish Beef & Guinness Pie!
When I lived in Miami and non-Irish friends came over for dinner they’d frequently ask for “something traditional”… and this is what they’d get, served with really, really, really buttery champ [mashed potatoes & scallions] and nice bright veggies such as carrots and broccoli. It’s a carb overload I know but well worth the indulgence.
If you’re in Ireland you can pick up Guinness Original quite easily. This is the original Stout in a glass bottle that doesn’t have a “head”. However if you’re living outside Ireland I appreciate this may be hard to come by, so feel free to use the more commonly exported Guinness Draught - the one in the can with a “widget” that gives the Guinness a creamy head. Just be careful when pouring it into the pan as it tends to expand and foam much more than you’d expect!
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 onions, cut into wedges
a large handful of mixed herbs, flat-leaf parsley, thyme leaves, rosemary and oregano, chopped
1.5kg/3.5lbs beef chuck steak, cubed
450ml Guinness Original or Draught
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 bay leaf
salt and freshly ground black pepper
500g pack of good quality all butter puffy pastry
flour, to dust
1 egg, mixed with a splash of milk for glazing
You also need:
a pie dish
imagination for the decorations
Heat half the oil in a large, heavy, oven-proof saucepan over a low heat. Add the onions and sweat with the lid on until soft and translucent. Check and stir regularly to make sure they don’t brown, stick or burn.
Preheat the oven to 150°C [300°F]
Once the onion is soft, remove it from the pan using a slotted spoon and put to one side.
Heat the remaining oil in the pan and add the cubed meat in batches to brown it. Add more oil or a splash of water to the pan in between batches if necessary. When all the meat is browned put it all to one side.
Add the cooked onions back to the saucepan, along with the Guinness [careful if it’s a draught can], tomatoes, herbs, bay leaf and salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the meat. Add enough water to make sure all the beef is covered in the saucepan.
Put the lid back on and transfer to the oven and cook for 2-2½ hours, until the beef is soft and tender.
Check a few times to give it a stir and make sure that it doesn’t go dry in the pan - it shouldn’t but err on the side of caution.
When cooked turn off the oven and remove the meat and onions from the saucepan using a slotted spoon, and put to the side. Discard the bay leaf. Reduce the cooking liquid in the saucepan over a medium heat until you get the desired consistency. It should be thick enough to coat the beef pieces and enough of it to provide a sauce in the pie. Also taste regularly to make sure it has a good strong beef flavour and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
Stir the beef gently back into the saucepan, and then spoon the mixture into your pie dish. It should pretty much fill your pie dish. Place a pie funnel in the beef, if you have one. Leave to cool.
Meanwhile roll out your pastry to 3mm thick and large enough to cover your pie dish.
Carefully lay your pastry over the pie filling, remember to make a hole for your pie funnel if you are using one, and decorate your pie lid with leaves or words made from pastry trimmings.
Glaze with the egg wash and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Turn the oven on again to 200°C [390°F]
Brush the pastry again with the egg wash and bake for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is well risen and golden.
Serve and enjoy.
Guinness Website | http://www.guinness.com