I love making this recipe and of course eating it, for a few reasons. There are few things in this life that can put a smile on someone’s face quicker than a pie. And this beef and Guinness pie, rich and indulgent, does this and more.
For me, it’s an essential recipe, the quintessential Irish comfort food. Not only do I think it should it be on the back of a euro note or on a stamp, but it should be taught at school to everyone in Ireland.
It is so simple once you have all the ingredients and the perfect thing to eat on a cold, wet, winter’s night. If you don’t want to make the pie crust, which is understandable, you can either buy decent ready-made pastry, or substitute buttery mashed potato.
Although it’s a fairly straightforward recipe, this pie does take a bit of time so plan ahead for a day of slow cooking, or you can do it in two stages, making the slow-cooked filling ahead of time and then adding the pastry and baking it whenever suits you. I hope you have as much fun making and eating it as I do.
What you’ll need
2 large beef cheeks, diced
200g flour (for dusting the beef)
Salt and black pepper
100ml sunflower oil
2 large white onions, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
50g smoked bacon, diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
500ml of red wine
2 cans of Guinness
500ml of beef stock (stockpot will do)
25g black treacle
2 sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
25ml of cider vinegar
50g unsalted butter
50g strong flour
2 egg yolks
15ml of cream
Pinch of salt
How to cook it
1 First season the flour well with salt and black pepper and dust the beef in the flour.
2 Add sunflower oil to a heavy-based oven-proof pot and the colour the beef all over until golden brown. Remove the meat and drain any excess fat.
3 Now add the vegetables and the bacon to the same pot and colour again until golden.
4 At this point deglaze the pot with the 500ml of wine and reduce by half.
5 When the wine has reduced add the meat back to the pot and cover with the Guinness. Add the treacle and stock, along with your herbs. Bring this to the boil and skim any impurities from the top.
6 Simmer this in the oven, covered, at 140 degrees Celsius/ gas mark 1 for three hours or until tender. Leave your oven on.
7 Now to finish the sauce. Carefully pass the cooking liquid through a sieve and into another pot. Put the pot on a medium heat and reduce it by simmering, to concentrate the taste.
8 When the sauce is reduced, taste, then season with salt and pepper. Then add the vinegar.
9 To thicken the sauce use your beurre manie – melt the butter and add the flour to make a paste then whisk this into the reduced sauce, then boil the sauce until the right texture is achieved. You want it to look slightly too thick.
10 Add the meat back in and then ladle the mix into a suitable pie dish and cook in the oven for a further one hour. Leave the pie to cool.
11 Roll the pastry to approximately 1cm thickness and roll over the cooled pie mix. You can decorate it whatever way you like.
12 Mix your egg wash ingredients together and using a pastry brush, brush over the pie
13 Put the pie back into the oven at 180 degrees/gas mark 4 for 25-30 minutes. Enjoy with some Priorat wine from Spain or a nice pint of the black stuff.