The Best Steak and Guinness Pie. Ever.

23 Jan

First: don’t plan on making this after work on a Tuesday.  It’s a dish you’re going to want to save for a dreary winter weekend.  The kind of day you want to stay home, but need to do something to feel productive.  And if you’re going to make one pie, you might as well make four because they freeze incredibly well for up to three months.  I’ve noted the quadruple quantities in brackets.

Best Steak and Guinness PieIngredients

  • olive oil
  • 3 red onions, peeled and chopped (12)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped (8)
  • 2 sticks celery, trimmed and chopped (8)
  • 30g butter, plus extra for greasing (120g)
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped (12)
  • 1 cup brown mushrooms, peeled and sliced (4 cups)
  • 1kg beef brisket or stewing beef, cut into 2cm cubes (4kg)
  • a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large can of Guinness (4 cans)
  • 2 heaped tablespoons plain flour (1/4 cup)
  • 200g Cheddar cheese, grated (800g)
  • 1 package puff pastry, defrosted (4 packages)
  • 1 large egg, beaten (4)

Preheat your oven to 375ºF. In a large ovenproof pan or Dutch oven, warm a good pour of olive oil on the stove top over medium-low heat.  Add the onions and cook just until they are translucent, about 10 minutes. Then turn the heat up to medium-high, add the carrots, celery, butter, garlic, and mushrooms.  Give it a good stir then add the beef, rosemary and a little salt and pepper.  This should really liven up your kitchen with the fabulous sounds and smells of sauteing vegetables and searing beef!  Let this fry for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to give everything a chance to brown.  Meanwhile, crack open that can of Guinness (take a good swig to make sure it’s fresh) then pour the rest into the pan.  Scatter in the flour and stir it into the mix, then add just enough water to cover all the beef and veg.  Bring it to a brief simmer then cover the pan and put it into the oven.

Now you can take advantage of a day at home and relax for a few hours.  Be as productive or as lazy as you wish-the aroma coming from the kitchen will remind you of your virtuousness.  Check on the stove every hour or so, giving the stew a stir each time.  After 2 ½ to 3 hours the stew should be velvety thick and dark and the beef should be fork tender.  A few tasting spoon fulls would be prudent at this point to check the seasonings.  If the stew is a bit too watery for your liking put it back in the oven for 30 minutes or bring to a simmer on the stove top.  Once the stew has reached a lovely thick consistency, remove it from the heat and stir in ½ of the cheese.  Set it aside to cool for 30 minutes.  If you need to step out to run some errands, this would be a good time.  You could also refrigerate the stew at this point, and finish the pie the next day.

Continuing on with the pastry portion of this recipe, cut off about a third of puff pastry from the package.  The smaller third will be the top of the pie, while the larger piece will cover the bottom.  Lightly flour a clean work surface and roll both pieces out evenly with a floured rolling pin (remember not to fold or knead the pastry).  Check to make sure that the pastry will fit the deep pie dish you’ll be using.  Butter this dish well, then lay in the larger sheet.  You’ll want to leave an inch or two overhanging the edge of the pie dish.  Carefully pour the stew into the dish and even it out before sprinkling over the remaining cheese. Brush the outer edge of the pastry with some beaten egg.  Place the other sheet of pastry over the top of the pie dish and fold the overhanging pastry on to the pastry lid.  Go ahead and be a little creative with the top.  Use a sharp knife and lightly carve your initials into the dough.  Use some dough scraps and a cookie cutter to add a seasonal touch (‘glue’ down with a little egg wash).  Then brush the top with more egg.

Here’s where you can bake or freeze this pie. To bake, pop into a 375ºF oven for 45 minutes, or until the pasty is puffed and golden.  If you want to freeze, cover first with aluminum foil, then secure against freezer burn with a good layer of plastic wrap.  Don’t forget to label it, and note the baking instructions.  When you want to bake one, take it out of the freezer in the morning , remove plastic wrap and foil and pop it into a cold oven.  Then set the delay start on the oven and you’ll come after work to an amazing Tuesday night dinner.

Serve simply with some steamed vegetables or a good winter salad.  Garnish with some fresh herbs if you want to be fancy.  Try not to fight over the leftovers. Continue to feel virtuous because you’ve got more in the freezer.

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