Thursday, December 3, 2009

Old Timer's Steak and Guiness Pie

I published this blog last year on another blog site. Yesterday my son came home asking for Steak and Guinness Pie for dinner. It was a cold day and seemed perfect for this warming meal of beef and pastry.  I re-made it, left out the Stilton, stirred all the cheddar cheese into the stew,  used self rising flour (I was out of all purpose flour) and baked it in the Cream Soup bowls I had bought in Paris. I think it's even better now. I've updated the recipe and hope you'll try it and let me know what you think. It makes 5 soup bowls or the original 1 pie dish and 3 ramekins.

Mel and Vic live in the center of Exeter, near a lovely traditional pub called Old Timer's.
Located on Little Castle Street in the center of Exeter, Devon it is a charming place filled with English memorabilia and mismatched tables and chairs. The staff is attentive and welcoming. The night we were there Steak and Guinness Pie was a featured item on the menu. I decided to give it a go and and like the locals placed my order for the favored dish.
The "Steak and Guinness Pie" arrived hot, and bubbling. The sauce was dripping down the sides of the dish. A salad of baby greens, carrot tops and herbs graced the plate. It was stocked with mushrooms, onions, carrots and celery. Dark, rich and flavorful it hinted of rosemary, thyme and bay. A thick pastry covered the pie. Made with suet, it was flaky and firm. The aroma made my mouth water. The flavor was unforgettable.
I came home determined to make an authentic meat pie. I started with my favorite beef stew recipe, and substituted Guinness Stout for the red wine. I diced two red onions, one carrot and one stalk of celery. I added stems of rosemary, thyme and a bay leaf. I then thickened it with a bit of flour, and doused it with Stout. After baking for about 1 1/2 hours I folded in the cheddar, topped it with pastry, and returned it to the oven. Served piping hot and aromatic it was delicious!

The pastry was a simple affair made with butter, as my kids flat out refused to eat suet! I put it together quickly, let it to rest in the fridge whilst the stew was cooking. Brushed with egg yolk it looked very English Country Manor House.
Steak and Guinness Pie

2 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 large red onions, finely diced
2 carrots peeled and finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
1 -8 ounce package baby bella mushrooms, wiped cleaned and sliced
2 1/2 pounds beef brisket
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 - 12 ounce bottle Guinness Stout
6 ounces grated cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the brisket or stew meat into ½ inch dice. Smaller cuts enable the pie to cook faster but also allow the pie to hold together should you decide to cut it into wedges. To cut the meat easily, place it in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Using a large dutch oven, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and cook until soft, about 7-10 minutes. Add the celery and carrots, herb sprigs and mushrooms and cook, stirring often until the mushrooms and browned and dry.

Season the meat with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir the meat and flour into the pan and cook over high heat for about 3 minutes. Add enough Stout to cover the meat. Give it a good stir, bring to a boil. Cover and place in the oven for about 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the stew from the oven and taste. If the sauce has thickened and the meat is tender, stir in the cheddar cheese.
Turn it out into a prepared pie pan. Sprinkle the other half of the cheddar on top.
You could also fill individual ramekins.
Cover with pastry and bake at 375 degrees, for 35-45 minutes until the pastry is puffy and golden.


1 1/2 cups self rising flour ( if you use all purpose flour, add 1 teaspoon baking powder)

3/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter
small bowl of ice water
1 egg, lightly beaten with a few drops of water

Whisk together the flour and salt in a bowl. Slowly work in the butter with a pastry blender or your fingers until the butter morsels are the size of peas.
Slowly add ice cold water one tablespoon at a time, until the dough starts to come together.
Turn the dough out onto a floured marble slab and form into a ball, flatten and wrap in plastic wrap. Allow to rest in the refrigerator while the stew cooks, about 1 hour.

Remove from wrap and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll out until large enough to cover the pie dish.
Cover and crimp sides with a fork.

Slit the pastry with a knife and brush with the beaten egg. Place on a sheet pan to bake.Bake at 375 degrees, for 40-45 minutes until the pastry is golden. Serve immediately.
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