There's something so comforting about taking a freshly baked pie out of the oven, breaking through the crust and watching the steam escape with all its delicious aromas. I'm a sucker for anything topped with puff pastry which is now so readily available and always in my freezer. Take any of your favorite stew recipes, add a layer of puff pastry, brush a little egg wash on top and you've got yourself a perfect savory pie to battle the cold away. I decided on a Steak and Guinness pie in honor of the upcoming St. Paddy's Day. You can use this recipe as a guideline to create any basic beef stew. Don't like guinness? Switch it out for another ale, wine or even beef stock. Add mushrooms, different herbs or other root vegetables. Just dream up your your favorite flavors and go for it!
Steak and Guinness Pie
2 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 1/2 lb of stewing beef (cut into 1" cubes)
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 carrots, chopped
1 (14 oz) can of chopped tomatoes
2 cups of Guinness
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
Puff pastry (you can find in the freezer section of most grocery stores)
1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
2. Put the flour in a large ziplock bag. Season the meat with salt and pepper and add to the bag with flour. Close the bag and shake well so the meat is coated with flour.
3. In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil on medium high heat. Remove meat from flour, shaking off any excess and transfer to the Dutch oven. Brown the meat on all sides being careful not to overcrowd the meat so it doesn't steam. You may need to do this in several batches. Once you finish your first batch, remove it to a plate.
4. When all the meat is browned and on a plate, add the celery, onions, garlic and carrots to the Dutch oven and cook over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes.
5. Return the meat to the pan along with any juices from the plate.
6. Add the tomatoes, Guinness, fresh thyme and bay leaves. Stir and season well with salt and pepper.
7. Bring to a simmer, cover well and cook in the oven for about 3 hours. Remove the lid for the final half hour of cooking after giving the stew a good stir.
8. Remove the thyme stalks or any other fresh herb you may have used and transfer into a baking dish. If the sauce is too thin, you can remove the meat and vegetables first with a slotted spoon and reduce the sauce on the stove over a high heat.
9. Beat the egg in a bowl and brush the edges of the pie dish with the egg mixture.
10. Roll out the pastry so that it is larger than the pie dish and gently lay over the dish. Cut off the excess pastry and crimp the edges with your fingers.
11. Brush the top of the pastry with the egg wash, cut two little slits in the middle of the pastry with the tip of a knife to let some air escape and bake in the oven for about 30 - 40 minutes until golden brown and flaky.