Yes, it’s true, I’ve done my fair share of hanging out in pubs in my time, and there’s nothing quite like a good pub to take the edge off the day and provide a comfy, cozy locale to kick back with ya mates, mate. A good pub, in my humble opinion, should have good beer (that goes without saying). It should have a good environment--not too bright, not too loud--so one can converse in peace. It should also have good pub faire, a.k.a. tucker, grub, vittles, or viands. That is to say, it should have good food. (Man does not live on beer alone)
Of all the various incarnations of pubs out there, the most friendly, the most inviting, the most welcoming sort has to be the Irish Pub. Ubiquitous throughout the Emerald Isle, these dens of Gaelic Goodness can also be found worldwide in just about any sizable city worth its salt. It was in one of these, in the fair city of Dublin, that I first tasted today’s delicious dish: Steak and Guinness pie.
A variation of the steak and ale pie, this dish uses Guinness Stout as its signature ingredient, instead of a lighter ale, and the results are terrific. The rich, black, malty stout produces an out-of-this-world flavor that makes this pie tops in the pub-grub department.
Steak and Guinness Pie
2 lbs Stew Meat (Cubed Chuck, Round or Similar Roast)
1 Red Onion, Diced
3-5 Cloves Garlic, Minced
3 Carrots, Chopped
3 Celery Stalks, Chopped
12-15 Medium-Sized White Mushrooms, Halved
2 Teaspoons Dried Thyme
24 Oz Guinness Stout
24 Oz Beef Stock (more as necessary to top up)
2 Tablespoons Flour
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
Salt and Fresh-Ground Black Pepper, to Taste
1 Cup Grated Cheddar
1 Package (2 Sheets) Ready-Made Puff Pastry, Thawed
1 Egg, Yolk and White Whisked Together
Thaw your puff pastry sheets according to directions on the box.
Cut your steak into 1-inch cubes.
Brown the beef cubes in the olive oil.
Remove and reserve.
Sauté the diced onions until they are translucent and just beginning to brown, about 8-10 minutes.
After about 5 minutes, add the garlic.
Add the celery and carrots and stir, then continue cooking for a few minutes.
Add the Mushrooms. Cook a few minutes more.
Return the beef to the pan.
Add the dried thyme, tomato paste, flour, Worcestershire sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add the Guinness Stout.
Have a bottle or two for yourself as well. This will of course aid the cooking process.
Add the beef stock until everything is just covered. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and put a lid on it.
Allow to simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Keep an eye out that the liquid does not all boil away. This shouldn’t happen if you’ve got things set on a low simmer, but it if does, add a bit more beef stock.
After the 1.5 to 2 hours, check a piece of beef and make sure it is tender. Continue to simmer if it is not, but it should be ready to go by this time. If the concoction is still pretty liquidy, mix a little cornstarch with a few ounces of hot water, then add this to the stew and stir. This will thicken it up nicely.
Add the cheddar cheese and stir it in until it melts.
Next, ladle the stew into ramekins or other small, oven-proof bowls.
Now, back to that puff pastry. Hopefully, it is nicely thawed by now. Unroll one of the sheets on a well-floured surface.
Divide it with a knife or pizza cutter into two relatively even pieces that will be able to cover your ramekins.
Repeat with the other sheet and then blanket a piece over each ramekin of stew filling. If you want, you can trim the puff pastry so that it just covers the ramekin, but I just let the excess hang down the sides. That way there will be more delicious golden brown pastry top for eating.
Using a Lamé or a sharp knife, cut some cris-cross slits into the puff pastry to allow steam to escape.
Next, whisk the egg yolk and white together and then brush this mixture on the pastry tops.
Heat your oven to 400F and bake these babies for 40-45 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and beautiful.
Serve and enjoy, but be careful, the filling will be piping hot.
Hopefully, you’ve still got some Guinness on hand to cool things off.
Until next time,