Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Guest Post from Victoria Brown of the One Dish Closer Blog - Beef and Guinness Pie

This guest post has been written by Victoria Brown of the One Dish Closer blog - quick, get this warming Beef and Guinness pie made while there's still a nip in the air!


Beef and Guinness pie





When I think comfort bites, I think pies, stews, and casseroles; hearty, warming foods to cheer the most miserable of winter’s evenings. Not that these foods cannot be consumed in more pleasant conditions, but there is something particularly satisfying about curling up on the couch with a nice bowl of stew while outside the wind howls and the rain pounds your windows.

Ah, the wonders of wonders of central heating.

Now, I am not suggesting that this pie is just for couch potatoes. Served up with mash or chips and some steamed greens it is worthy dinner party material too.

The nice thing about pies is that they are a good excuse for the more timid cook to experiment without fear. With this pie, for example, I have included carrot and celery as aromatics to be removed towards the end of cooking, but you may prefer to slice or dice them instead and leave them in. You may not be a fan of mushrooms - so leave them out. You may not like the rich, yeasty flavour of Guinness – so swap it for some beef stock and a splash of red wine. Still not happy? Chuck in a tin of tomatoes as well. Don’t like horseradish? Don’t add it!

The only thing that can really go wrong here is tough meat and this can be avoided by cutting the meat carefully and making sure you use a heavy based saucepan and keep the temperature low.

As you can see from the pictures, I like to make mini pies for each individual, but assuming that most people do not have mini pie dishes to hand I have given the instructions for one big one. If you want to try little ones, it is the same method, just with smaller, multiple lids.

I have provided a link to a recipe for quick and easy homemade pastry, but if my step-by-step pictorial guide doesn’t convince you, just swap it for the packet stuff.

Quick before the winter’s over!

Serves 4 as a main course.


Ingredients
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 750g stewing or braising steak, cut into large chunks
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large brown onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 500ml Guinness
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Small bunch thyme, woody stems removed and finely chopped
  • 1 carrot halved lengthways
  • 1 stick celery, halved
  • ½ portion rough puff pastry
  • 150g button mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp Worcester sauce
  • 1 tsp creamed horseradish or Dijon mustard
  • 1 egg, whisked with a fork

Method
Put the flour in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Roll the chunks of steak in the flour until evenly coated.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large heavy based saucepan over a low heat. Add the meat and stir until lightly browned all over, then remove and put to one side.

Heat the remaining oil in the saucepan, add the onion and garlic and sweat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pale and translucent. Stir in the tomato paste then return the meat to the pan along with the Guinness, bay leaf, thyme, carrot and celery. Cover and leave to simmer gently for 1.5 to 2 hours.

Approximately 30 minutes before the filling is ready, remove the celery and carrot and add the mushrooms, Worcester sauce, horseradish or Dijon, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Preheat the oven to 180C.

Roll out the pastry to approximately 3mm thickness and cut a pastry top 3-5cm larger than your pie dish on all sides; it will shrink when it cooks. Put the pastry lid in the fridge.

Brush the rim of the pie dish with a little water and use the pastry trimmings to line the rim. Put the filling in the pie dish, brush the pastry rim with a little egg wash, and put the pastry cover over the top, pressing down round the edges to seal it. Brush with egg wash and cut a little slit or hole in the centre so that the steam can get out when cooking.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.


  
Cheat’s tip – a quicker, more foolproof method for cooking the pastry top is to cook it on a greased baking tray. This halves the prep time (no lining the rim), cooking time (the pastry cooks quicker) and avoids the risk of a soggy pastry lid (no steam). Just fill the pie dish with the filling before serving and pop the cooked pastry lid on top, as in my photos. 

Thank you to Victoria! If you would also like to write a guest post for Comfort Bites, please email me.