Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I don’t usually celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, but this year I thought I’d make something Irish themed. After all, I’m quite fond of Ireland–we share a love of potatoes. I was thinking of an Irish potato recipe, but when Mike suggested Guinness pie, I had to go for it. Guinness pie is a beef stew topped with a puff pastry topping. Puff pastry and beef stew? I’m totally in!
I have a thing for beef stew. Well, I have a thing for beef in general. See, when I was growing up we never ate beef. In elementary school, during hot lunch, I would look on longingly at at the kids happily scarfing down their beef stew while I would be eating thin, unsatisfying vegetable soup. The smell of the tantalizing browned meat drove me crazy. I imagined the beef stew was insanely good, even though my friends told me otherwise. Of course now I suspect that the beef stew was just watered down beef stock with some potatoes and tough beef cubes thrown in.
Having never tasted beef stew as a kid, I don’t have any nostalgic memories of how beef stew should taste. Most of the stews I enjoy now are rich, meaty, and full of beefy flavour. I found this recipe on epicurious.com so I don’t know how authentic it is, but it sure is good! I added in some carrots and mushrooms for some texture, sweetness and umami.
You really can’t go wrong with tender, slow-braised beef, carrots and mushrooms in a savoury gravy topped with golden brown puff pastry. The Guinness added a touch of creamy velvety-ness, but I think it could have done with a bit more Guinness flavour. When I make this again (and I will) I’ll definitely double the Guinness and braise for a bit longer to reduce and thicken the sauce.
Beef and Guinness Pie Recipe adapted from Gourmet
- 1 pound boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 large onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup carrots, large dice
1/2 cup mushrooms, quartered
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup beef broth
1/2 cup Guinness
1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon drained brined green peppercorns
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 sheet of puff pastry
1 lightly beaten egg
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Pat the beef dry. stir together the flour, salt and pepper in a dish. Add the beef to the flour, and coat. Shake off excess and set aside. Heat oil in a oven proof pot over moderate heat until oil is hot and shimmery. Brown the meat (do not overcrowd), turning occasionally, about five minutes per batch. Transfer to a bowl.
Add the onion, garlic, carrots, mushrooms and water to the pot and cook, scraping up brown bits. Stir frequently until slightly cooked, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, beef with juices, broth, beer, Worcestershire sauce, peppercorns and thyme. Bring to a simmer, then cover and transfer to oven. Braise until beef is very tender and sauce is thicken, about 1 and a half to 2 hours. Cool stew completely.
Increase the oven temperature to 400 F. Divide the stew between 2 bowls. Trim the puff pastry to cover the bowl. Top bowl with puff and gently press down to adhere to bowl. Brush the tops with the lightly beaten egg. Place in the oven and bake until tops are puff and golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Enjoy hot with a cold Guinness!