Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Cheeky Beef and Guinness pies

Bord Bia are running a fabulous competition at the moment for food bloggers to win a trip to Germany to a European Bloggers workshop. In order to enter the competition I had to put together a recipe using Irish beef. Given the month that is in it, my contribution is a very Irish style pie. This pie would serve as a very hearty lunch or dinner and given the contents include meat, veg and drink it very much has "eating and drinking in it". The filling itself makes a good stew on its own (maybe dont thicken as much as I did) served with mashed potato (or even sweet potato mash).

I had far too much time on my hands so made the pastry from scratch (its not difficult, just a little time consuming) but you could just as easily buy frozen puff pastry. If you have remaining pastry then a great nibble is to scrunch up the leftover and grate some parmesan over it before sticking in the oven for 10 minutes.

Cheeky Beef and Guinness pies (makes 4)

Beef filling
  • a few tablespoons of sunflower/rapeseed oil
  • 200g finely chopped onions
  • 550g beef cheeks chopped into inch sized pieces
  • 150g diced carrots
  • 250ml Guinness
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons tomato puree
  • 100g mushrooms
  • 50g butter
  • 50g flour
Flaky Pastry (or use store bought puff pastry)
  • 300g flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 200g butter at room temperature
  • cold water to bind
  • a whisked egg to wash pastry

the most beautiful Irish beef cheeks

Prepare the meat and vegetables
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a small casserole. Lightly cook the onions in the oil over a medium heat until softened. Remove the onions from the casserole and set aside.
Season the beef with salt and pepper.
Brown the beef in small batches in the casserole, removing to the side once browned.
Once the meat is browned return to the casserole with 175ml of the Guinness, the chopped onions and diced carrots. Add the tomato puree and enough water to cover the meat and vegetables, along with some salt and pepper to taste.
all ready for the Guinness
Bring the stew to a boil and then leave to simmer covered on a low heat or in the oven at 150C for 2 hours.
Finely chop the mushrooms and fry in small batches in some butter until browned. Leave to one side and add to the casserole for the last half an hour of cooking

Prepare a roux by melting the 50g of butter in a saucepan and then adding the flour. Stir over a medium heat for two minutes.

Remove the casserole from the oven and strain the liquid into a saucepan. Bring the liquid to the boil and add roux, whisking to thicken. Add the remaining 75 ml of Guinness at this point also, this addition is what gives the filling its rich Guinness taste. The sauce will need to be a fairly thick gravy so that it wont leak from the pies so dont be shy with the roux. Return the sauce to the casserole and leave to cool. This bit is really worth noting. I made the filling a little too late in the day and it melted through my pastry before it was fully sealed (they didnt turn out too pretty but were still very tasty!)

Pastry (will take about 2 hours)
Sieve the flour and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Divide the butter in 4 equal pieces and mix the first piece through the flour adding enough cold water to bring together and make a pastry. Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and place in the fridge for 15-20 minutes.

be careful not to dig your nails into the pastry!
Roll the pastry into a rectangular sheet with width of about 10 inches. **Spread 1 piece of the butter across two thirds of the length of the pastry. Fold the pastry in thirds over the butter. Wrap in clingfilm and return to the fridge again for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the fridge with the seam to the side (it should look like a book). Roll to a rectangle again and repeat as before from ** 2 more times to use the remaining butter. Leave the pastry in the fridge until the beef filling has cooled.

pie ready for egg washing
Roll out the pastry so that it is large enough for 4 pies, using a side plate as a template (store bought pastry is normally also around the 500g mark so should do the same number of pies). Place the filling (2 -3 tablespoons should be enough) slightly to the south of centre.

pie with pint
I have made pies a number of times and failed at sealing them until I came across this youtube video on how to crimp the pastry. Follow the video and they will seal perfectly. Brush with eggwash and place in an oven at 180C for 25 minutes until golden brown

Fresh from the oven