I feel so cliché posting a Guinness pie recipe on St. Patrick’s day – but it’s what was for dinner last night. The stew itself was left over from a TV segment I did last week – all I really did was top it with a slab quick and rough puff pastry that has lived in the fridge since about January, and popped it into the oven for the boys before heading out to a birthday party.
The filling is essentially a long-simmered beef stew – cubed beef browned and braised with a bottle of Guinness (or other stout), although it could as easily be done with red wine or beef stock. The first batch we ate as stew; the rest waited until it was time for pie. This is a sort of streamlined version of a Jamie Oliver recipe my mom has been making for years when a bunch of us get together – it’s great for a group. The kicker is a handful of grated aged cheddar scattered over the filling before covering it all with a puff pastry lid. Brushing the rim of the baking dish first with a little beaten egg acts as a glue to seal it all closed. And you’ll need that egg wash for a glossy top, too.
You could of course buy a chunk of frozen puff pastry, but this rough puff is a quick from-scratch puff version without all the labour of a more involved, proper puff. I used this Canadian Living formula and tutorial – sort of – mental note to come back to this in a later post.
If you run a sharp knife across the top, letting it slice all the way through only in a few places, you’ll get a sort of crosshatched top and allow the steam to escape. The whole thing can be kept in the fridge at this point until you’re ready to bake, at which point the filling will reheat as the pastry puffs. Look at the flakiness! It’s a great thing to dig into when there’s snow on the ground.