Steak and Guinness Pie. Top of my list for comfort food. The meat is cooked slowly in a bath of dark beer and topped with pastry. It’s pretty much that simple but the taste is rich and satisfying. There’s no need to make your own pastry because store bought puff pastry is perfect for this. Add a few veggies to the stew and you’ve got a complete meal.
Stewing beef becomes very tender when cooked slowly. It’s ideal for dishes like this. That being said, I do often buy a full beef tenderloin and once I’ve cleaned it and cut it into nice thick steaks, I’m left with some small pieces that are perfect for Steak and Guinness Pie. And I guess since it’s made with tenderloin, then it really is a steak pie.
In spite of being made with tender meat, you still have to cook this for at least 2 hours to get that rich flavour, then another 30 or 40 minutes with the pastry top.
How much alcohol is left after cooking?
If you’re concerned about the alcohol, the lengthy cooking time will ensure most of it is cooked off. The beer has only 4% alcohol and after 2 1/2 hours there will only be about 5% left so 5% of 4% divided by 4-6 servings equals…..almost none. Or, just use beef broth but then it’s not Steak and Guinness Pie, is it?
Start making Steak and Guinness Pie by cutting your beef chunks into relatively the same size. Heat a heavy Dutch oven on the stove top to medium, add some olive oil, or, if you have a mug of bacon fat in your fridge like I do, add a tablespoon or so to the pot. Season the beef with salt and pepper and sear in batches.
If you put too much in at once they steam and don’t get that dark caramelization on the outside. They don’t have to be fully cooked. Add some onion and garlic to the last batch, otherwise they’ll get too dark and bitter if cooked too long.
That dark colour left behind turns into amazing flavour.
Add all the beef back into the pot. Sprinkle the flour over top and stir well to combine.
Now add a full can of Guinness.
You want the liquid to almost cover the beef. You can add a bit of beef broth if you need more liquid but you don’t want to use too much or it dilutes the flavour of the Guinness and mushrooms will release some liquid too so keep that in mind. No more than a cup.
Add sliced carrots, mushrooms, and chopped fresh rosemary. Season with salt and pepper and drop in a bay leaf or two.
Cover and bake for at least 2 hours. The stew will get darker as it cooks and the mushrooms will release some liquid. Taste and season once more if necessary with salt and pepper. You can make the stew in advance and finish it later or the next day. Just heat up the stew before you bake it with the top, otherwise it may not be heated enough when the pastry is cooked.
Puff Pastry Crust
When the stew is ready, roll out a sheet of puff pastry to slightly larger than the size of the baking dish you’re using. I prefer to take the stew out of the cooking pot and finish in a smaller dish so the stew is almost to the top and the pastry isn’t added to a hot dish. But that means another dish to wash. Don’t forget to remove the bay leaves.
You can buy puff pastry that’s already rolled out. You simply unroll it and place over the top, or you may have to roll it a bit larger. Or you can buy it in a block that needs to be rolled out. I used a package with 2 blocks and pressed them together to get a rectangular shape. The seam sticks together well after it’s been rolled out.
Gently score crisscross lines in the pastry, being careful not the cut all the way through. This helps give it a nice finished look.
Place it over the top of the dish and fold, squeeze or roll the pastry so it isn’t overhanging and an edge is formed. There’s no rules about how to do this. It’s a rustic dish so it doesn’t need perfectly fluted edges. I don’t use a bottom crust. This is already pretty rich so I prefer not to have too much pastry.
Brush the top with a beaten egg that’s been thinned with a bit of cold water.
By doing this the top gets a shiny golden crust.
Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and puffed up.
I like to serve this with fresh green peas. I don’t put them in the stew because they don’t have a really nice colour when cooked that long.
Another popular pub dish is Chicken Pot Pie.
Here’s the recipe:
Steak and Guinness Pie
Steak and Guinness Pie Serves 4-6 Ingredients 2 lb stewing beef or tenderloin chunks 1-2 Tbsp bacon fat or olive oil 2 cloves garlic, minced ½ onion, chopped 2 Tbsp flour 1 can Guinness 440 ml draught stout beer (and beef stock if necessary) 6 medium sized mushrooms, chopped 2 carrots, sliced 2 Tbsp fresh chopped rosemary 2 bay leaves salt and pepper 1 package puff pastry and flour for dusting Method Season beef chunks and sear in small batches over medium heat in heavy dutch oven using bacon fat or olive oil. Add minced garlic and chopped onion to last batch. Return all beef to pot and sprinkle flour over top. Combine well. Open can of Guinness and pour over top of beef. You may add a small amount of beef stock if necessary but you don't need the liquid to cover all of the meat. No more than a cup. Add chopped mushrooms, sliced carrots, chopped rosemary and 2 bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and bake at 350 for at least 2 hours until stew is darkened. Roll out puff pastry to slightly larger than a baking dish large enough to hold the stew almost to the top. You may need to dust with a bit of flour for rolling. Pour stew into the clean dish if desired. Gently score diagonal lines in the pastry, being careful not to cut right through. Lay over the dish and arrange to fit, folding, rolling or squeezing the pastry to form an edge. Add cold water to a beaten egg and brush the entire top of the pastry, including the edges. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the pastry is puffed and golden.