Hearty Beef and Guinness Stew

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March 11, 2013

This hearty, rich stew is covered with crisp buttery pastry which crumbles when you dip your spoon in to take a bite. The slightly bitter Guinness, the tender beef, cream and parmesan make this one satisfying pie. The beef is cooked slowly in a bath of Guinness and then wrapped in a sheet of pastry. It’s a relatively easy dish to prepare, but it does require time for all the flavours to infuse and for the meat to become meltingly tender. To save some time, you could use ready-made short crust / puff pastry on top. This is a real wholesome and comforting stew to celebrate your St. Patrick’s Day.

Beef and Guinness StewBeef and Guinness Stew

2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into small circles
2 sticks celery, cut into small dice
A handful of mushrooms, peeled and sliced
1.5 lbs of stewing beef ,cut into 2cm cubes
Some fresh thyme and rosemary, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
350ml / 12 fl oz Guinness
2 heaped tablespoons plain flour
150ml of beef stock  
60ml / ¼ cup of cream
50g / ½ cup of grated parmesan

225g  / 1 and ¾ cups of all purpose flour
110g / 1 stick of butter, cut into small squares
A pinch of salt
A little water
Extra flour for dusting
A  beaten egg, for glazing

Preheat the oven to 190 C/375F.  I like to make the stew in a large casserole dish and once cooked, divide the stew into small individual casserole dishes. However, it’s easier to make the pie in one big casserole dish.

Heat the olive oil in a large non stick casserole dish/ Dutch oven. Add the onions and fry until they are golden and translucent. Next, add the carrots, celery, garlic, and mushrooms, and cook for a further five minutes. Finally, add the beef, herbs, salt and pepper. Cook over a high heat for about 5 minutes before adding the Guinness and flour. Stir together, so that all the ingredients are combined. Top the stew up with the beef stock. There should be just enough liquid to cover the meat.  Bring the stew to simmering point, and then place the lid on the casserole dish and put it in the oven for one hour and a half.

Take the stew out of the oven and stir with a wooden spoon. If the sauce is very thin, you will need to reduce it down a little. To do this, place the casserole on top of the hob over a medium heat.  Take the lid off and leave to simmer for a few minutes to reduce and thicken. Once the sauce is relatively thick, you can add the cream and grated parmesan. Taste the stew, and season with salt and pepper if needed. Take the casserole dish off the heat and leave the stew to cool.

To make the pastry, first sieve the flour into a bowl.  Next, add the diced butter and a pinch of salt to the flour. Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles bread crumbs. Next, mix in a few drops of water, just enough for the pastry to come together into a dough.  Leave the pastry to rest in the fridge for twenty to thirty minutes.

Once the pastry has rested, dust a clean work surface with some flour.  Roll the pastry out evenly with a rolling pin. Roll out a sheet of pastry that is about 2.5cm / 1 inch larger than the dish. It should be about 3mm / 1/8 of an inch thick.
Place the pastry sheet over the cooled stew and tuck the edges in to make a nice seal around the pie dish. Brush the pastry with some beaten egg.  I placed some pastry letters on top of the pie, but this is entirely optional.

Put the pie back in the oven and cook for a further 45 minutes. The pastry should be golden and crisp at this stage.  Remove from the oven and serve straight away.