Steak & Guinness Pie

Nick Eddy

Nick Eddy

21st March 2013

Steak & Guinness Pie

For those that don't think it is a sacrilege to use a drop or two of the 'black stuff' in the kitchen, then read on to discover how this rich and fruity malt brew came to find its way into my take, of the already wondrous, Beef & Ale Pie.
Let me take you back not to Dublin but London and the early 1700, when the brewers of the day were beginning to understand the benefits of ageing their alcoholic concoctions themselves. Until then, it had been best practice to simple brew their beery ales and send them out to publicans or dealers who would then mature them, ready for human consumption. By managing the aging process themselves, the brewer now could establish a uniform flavour and have their beers ready to drink, a much better option for the already squeezed landlords of the day.
1759 and Arthur Guinness opened the doors of the St. James Gate Brewery in Dublin. Within 10 years his ales were finding their way to London and it wasn't long before he began to brew a dark beer, know as Porter. Stout, as it happened, was a generic term used in brewing to describe the strength of the ale and it wasn't until the mid 1800's that Guinness first use the word on its beer: Single Stout & Double Stout.
Jump forward to the beginning of the first world war and Guinness was being drunk by 10% of Britons beer drinkers, double that of its nearest rival Bass and astonishingly, by the early 1930's, Guinness was the 7th largest company in the world.
A change of drinking habits saw the demise of the Guinness Porter in the early 70's, by which time a lighter draught version (the one we would recognise today) had become en vogue in the pubs and taverns throughout the world.
Scandal in the boardroom in 1980's then a merger in the 90's with Grand Metropolitan saw the formation of the branded global drinks giant, Diageo. Still brewed under the Guinness label today, its tempestuous Irish heritage can still be seen up until very recently as Diageo tried to close the original St. James's Gate Brewery in favour of developing a new plant, west of the city. However, after disputes between The Brewer & The Irish Government (along with most Guinness drinkers all around the world) and a slump in the property market, Diageo announced last year that it will now redevelop St. James's at a cost of 150 million euros.
It is said that only Guinness brewed in Dublin is truly the real thing (the water used to make the ale is from the Wicklow mountains, not the river Liffey as some may have you believe) but others say the best is made from the waters of Lagos Lagoon, Nigeria; where it is also brewed and the companies 3rd biggest market share, live and drink, after the UK then Ireland in that order
From pub to kitchen and now my seasonally celebratory version of steak & stout pie, an incredible 1,883,200,000 pints (yes, 1.8 billion!) of Guinness were consumed last year; most of which, I suspect, were enjoyed on March 17th last year in O'Connell Street, Dublin!!
Serve with your preferred greens, a boiled potato or two and if there is any leftover, a drop of the black stuff to toast the inimitable St. Patrick, on his day!

Ingredients

  • Equipment
  • Large heavy based saucepan
  • Chopping board
  • Sharpe knife
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Garlic crusher
  • Wooden spoon
  • Slotted spoon
  • Measuring spoon
  • Measuring jug
  • Pastry brush
  • Rolling pin
  • Pie dish or a Baking dish 28 x 22 x 6 (ish)
  • Baking tray
  • Ingredients
  • 1kg stewing steak diced into bite sized chunks
  • 3 tablespoons of sunflower oil
  • 50g butter
  • 2 medium onions diced
  • 2 carrots sliced
  • 3 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 200g button or chestnut mushrooms
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 dessertspoon of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcester sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ tablespoons of plain flour
  • 440ml can of draught Guinness
  • 500ml of beef stock
  • 1 egg & 1 tablespoon of milk whisked (egg wash)
  • 300g puff pastry

Method

Cooked this slowly, the stewing steak breaks down to a gelatinous heaven that is sooo tender it will cut like butter

Method

Into a large heavy based saucepan, on a high heat, add half of the oil, then half of the beef and cook until the meat has browned on all sides. Carefully remove with a slotted spoon and put to one side while you repeat with the remaining oil and beef (again, removing the beef once it has browned)

Now turn the heat down slightly and to the pan add the butter then onions and carrots, cook for 5 mins stirring occasionally

Add the mushrooms, garlic and the browned beef, coating it all in the juices from the pan

Next, add the herbs, sugar, worcester sauce, a teaspoon of salt, about half a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper and then sprinkle in the flour and stir well until everything is combined and the flour has been incorporated

Finally, add the Guinness & stock, one more stir then bring to the boil, turn down the heat to very low, and cook for 2 hours without a lid – stirring every 20 mins or so to stop it sticking to the pan.

1 hour before serving, take your pastry out of the fridge to warm to near room temperature

15 minutes before the 2 hours are up, turn the oven on to 190°C

Using an ovenproof serving dish as a template, roll out the pastry to the thickness of a pound coin and about 1cm wider than the top (lip) of the dish.

When it’s ready, most of the liquid will have evaporated and the jus will now be thick and rich

Fill the dish with the contents of the pan and let sit for 2 minutes before brushing the edge of the dish with the egg wash and then carefully place the pastry over the dish.

Using your thumb & forefinger, pinch the edges of the dish and pastry so that it seals the pie, then trim the excess away – if you wish, roll then shape any leftover pastry add decorate the top of the pie

Now brush the top with the remaining egg wash and then using a knife, pierce the pasty in the middle a couple of times to allow any trapped steam to escape, place on a baking tray, then into the oven for about 25 mins until the pastry has become a rich golden brown.

Remove from the oven and serve.

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