Beef and Guinness puff pastry pie
- Serves: 4
- Preparation time: 1 hour
- Cooking time: 3 hours
- Total time: 4-5 hours
- 600g/1¼lb diced beef casserole steak
- 1 large white onion, chopped
- 250g/9 oz Puff pastry (Ready-made)
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 beef stock cube
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 tbsp. plain white flour
- 300ml/10fl oz. water
- 350ml/12fl oz. Guinness (Or other ale)
- 50ml/2fl oz. milk or 1 beaten egg yolk to glaze the pastry.
- 125g/4.5 oz mushrooms, sliced
This is a flexible dish with the main ingredients - the beef and ale - giving a wide variety of options, most of which work just fine. There are several cuts of beef you can choose from; depending on budget and whats available - but providing its marbled with fat and of a good quality you should be fine. The long cooking time will still ensure the meat becomes tender. You can use beef steaks, but make sure they are marbled nicely and cut them into 2.5cm/1in cubes.
The fats in well marbled beef will melt and soften the meat, it's wise to avoid using beef with large amounts of fat on it though, as that most likely wont break down and will become unpleasantly chewy.
When it comes to the ale, almost anything will do, but Guinness is a favourite and one of the most commonly used. If not Guinness look for a good quality stout ale, its flavour will impart the beef during the long cooking process.
Better still if you use an ale you enjoy, you can drink the unused remainder whilst you are cooking!
For the pie topping, I am using ready made puff pastry from the chilled/frozen isle of the supermarket. You can make it yourself but I find it doesn't make much difference and it's much easier to just buy this and keep it in the freezer for when you need it – just make sure the pastry is defrosted first, so take it out of the freezer an hour beforehand.
If you don't have enough time you can simmer the mixture for less time and at a higher heat - but the key to this recipe is to slow cook the beef for a long time so it becomes so it melts in your mouth.
- Chop the onions and garlic cloves and place them in a pan with some oil and cook until the onions soften.
- In a dish add a few tablespoons of plain flour and coat the diced beef. This will help seal the beef and thicken the gravy.
- Add the beef to the pan and brown the meat to seal it.
- Dissolve a beef stock cube in 200ml of boiling water and add to the pan, along with; 350ml of the ale, the bay leaf, mushrooms (If using), a pinch of salt, and some black pepper. Bring this mixture to the boil then simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent it sticking to the pan.
- Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F/Gas Mark 3.
- Carefully empty the mixture from the pan into a pie dish - removing the bay leaf as it has done it's job and they don't taste very appetising.
- Place the pie dish in the oven, cover, and let it simmer for 2 hours stirring occasionally. If you prefer you can leave the mixture in a covered pan to simmer on the hob for the same time.
- Flour your board/worktop to stop the pastry from sticking, then use a rolling pin to roll out the pastry into an even height and is shaped a little larger than your pie dish.
- Remove the pie dish from the oven, turn the oven up to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5.
- Place the puff pastry on top of the open pie dish gently, press the edges down and return the pie dish to the oven for 25 minutes - or until the pastry has risen and is golden brown.
- Remove the pie dish from the oven, and let it cool for a 5 minutes before dividing in to portions and plating up.