Recently a friend of mine, currently living in the U.S., came back to Oz for a visit.  I threw a bit of a dinner party, and I let him pick the dish.  He told me Beef and Guinness Pie with absolutely no hesitation.  Indeed, his pie lust was such I could feel it coming at me in waves from across the ocean.

The U.S. is a sad and pie free place.  My pie eyes have been opened since coming to Australia, and oh, the pie wonderment they have witnessed.  It’s enough to make you weep rich gravy tears.  This recipe was my very first attempt at a savory pie, only weeks after arriving, and it’s still the best one I’ve found.  And be forewarned, this is not the quick and easy pie you might whip up on a whim.  It takes time, probably best to cook the filling during the day and the pie at dinner.

You’ll need:

  • 2 kilos cubed beef  (this does not need to be a nice cut, the prolonged cooking will guarantee tenderness)
  • 3-4 cubed blanched kipfler potatoes  (to me it’s got to be kipfler)
  • flour
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsps water
  • 1 1/2 tbsps tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup Guinness (although I used my husband’s homebrew porter, even better)
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp drained and chopped brined green peppercorns
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • pastry dough

Grab your pan.  If you have a large deep pan that can transfer to the oven that would be ideal.  I don’t (no matter how much I wish I did), so I use a very large skillet and then transfer to a baking dish.  Preheat your oven to 175 C.

Coat the beef with flour (always season your flour with salt and pepper), and brown on medium high heat in some vegetable oil.  Remove the last of those lovely brown nuggets (you’ll have multiple batches) and add the onion, garlic, water, and some salt and pepper to the pan.  This is the deglazing stage, and you want to get all the meaty bits scraped off the bottom and get a good brownish goo of beefy onion going.   When the onion is soft, add the tomato paste and mix it in well, letting it cook just a smidge.  Then add everything else, bring to a simmer, cover, and transfer to your waiting oven.  Yep, this is a braised dish, so you just let it cook for about 1 1/2 hours.

When you remove it, try really hard not to immediately snarf it down with your hands.  I know by this point you’ve been smelling it for nearly 2 hours, and it will be nigh impossible, but I say from experience that you will be badly burned.  Better to let it stand until cooled, at least half an hour, before popping a crust on that puppy (not an actual puppy) and sticking back into a now 190 C oven until the pastry is pretty.  This works great doled into individual bowls as well, if you have guests that can’t share.

For my dinner I had two courses, the first being Beef and Guinness Pie, and the second being another Beef and Guinness Pie.  And my friend went back to the States satiated.  Luckily Guinness and beef are freely available in the U.S., so you Yanks should give it a go.  Good on ya.

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