B’s always begging me to make him a pie, so when he was out of town a couple weekends ago, I thought it might be fun to surprise him with Guinness beef pie when he arrived home (B’s also a big fan of Irish food). This recipe turned out better than I could have hoped for, maybe even the best either of us have ever had (and I can say this without tooting my own horn since this is Jamie Oliver’s recipe). To round out this hearty meal, I served the pie with twice-baked potatoes and a lightly-dressed salad for, you know, a hint of green.
Guinness Beef Pie
3 medium onions, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 sticks celery, trimmed and chopped
10 ounces mushrooms, sliced
2 lbs stewing beef, cut into cubes
a few sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
freshly ground black pepper
440 ml Guinness
2 heaped tablespoons plain flour
2/3 cup good English cheddar cheese, grated
6 ounces ready-made all-butter puff pastry
1 large egg, beaten
Preheat the oven to 375ºF. In a large ovenproof pan, heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil on a low heat. Add the onions and fry gently for about 10 minutes – try not to color them too much. Turn up the heat, add the garlic, carrots, celery, and mushrooms. Mix everything together before stirring in the beef, rosemary, salt, and pepper.
Fry for 3 or 4 minutes, then pour in the Guinness, stir in the flour, and add just enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer, cover the pan with a lid and place in the preheated oven for about 2½ hours, stirring about halfway in between, or until the meat is very tender and the stew is rich, dark, and thick. (If pie filling is too liquidy, place back on stove top and reduce until sauce thickens.) Remove from the heat and stir in half the cheese, then season to taste and leave to cool slightly.
Dust a clean work surface with flour and roll the pastry out evenly with a floured rolling pin to the thickness of a coin. Pour the stew into the baking dish and even it out before sprinkling over the remaining cheese.
Place the pastry over the top of the pie dish and criss-cross it lightly with a sharp knife. Brush the top with beaten egg, then bake the pie directly on the bottom of the oven for 45 minutes, until the pastry is cooked, puffed and golden.
12 new potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh chives
1 clove garlic, pressed
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Drizzle the potatoes with the olive oil and toss them to coat. Roast until the potatoes are tender and the skin is slightly crisp, 25 to 30 minutes.
Use a spoon or small scoop to remove the insides, leaving a small margin of potato intact.
To the scooped out potatoes, add the Monterey Jack, cream cheese, sour cream, chives, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Mash until the mixture is totally smooth. Give it a taste and add more salt if necessary.
Scoop the mixture into the potato shells. Bake the potatoes in the oven until golden brown on top.