Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Beef and Guinness Pie

Ohm nom nom As Alan has been in Singapore for the last year eating only foreign muck (joking, he has told me many a tale about the wonderfulness of food in Singapore) we decided that he needed a good auld Irish dish as a welcome home.

I was going to cheat and buy the puff pastry, but they didn't have any in tesco's (bloody tesco parnell street is sooooo bad) so i had to make it from scratch. This was my first attempt at puff pastry, and while it was not actually that puffy, it did taste very good and was nice and light and crunchy.

We made the filling the night before the party for two reasons: 1- less stress on party day (considerable factor when you are cooking for 14)
2- leaving it overnight makes it more delicious. You could do it all in one day if you wanted to though Again, bear in mind that this recipe serves 14 so you can reduce all the amounts accordingly Ingredients: 11/2kg good quality stewing beef, cut into cubes by your butcher.
20 shallots

8-10 parsnips

8-10 carrots

1 large onion

3 cloves garlic

1 can Guinness extra stout
ltr good beef stock
salt & Pepper

Heat some oil in the biggest pot you own. Chop the onion and garlic finely and sweat them in the pot, covering them with the lid so they don't burn or colour.
Toss the meat in a generous amount of flour into which you have added salt and ground black pepper until all the cubes are well covered. Toss these in the pan with the onions and brown all over. Stir constantly to stop the flour from burning on the bottom of the pan.

When all the meat has browned, add the peeled and chopped veggies (leave the carrots and parsnips in big-ish chunks) and stir until everything is combined. Then pour in the hot beef stock and stir to dissolve all the flour that has stuck to the bottom of the pan. Pour in the can of Guinness, cover and simmer for 15 mins.

Preheat your oven to about 175c and shove the whole pot in there. Leave it for about 3 hours. When you take it out the stew will be melty and gorgeous. Adjust the seasoning at this point, adding more slat and pepper if necessary. If you have time, leave it overnight and let all those gorgeous flavours intensify.

For the puff pastry: (this recipe is from Delia, her complete cookery course is my bible for basics like this)

1 lb strong white flour

8 oz lard
8oz margarine

10fl oz ice cold water

Sift the flour into a bowl with a pinch of salt. Chop up all the fat into inch sized squares and add to the flour. Now add the water and, using a palette knife make a series of straight cuts (like you are cutting a big cake) to incorporate everything. The aim is to leave the fat as intact as possible and still bring everything together into a dough-like ball.

When you have a reasonable ball of dough-like substance, take it out of the bowl (don't worry if it doesn't use up all of the flour) and place on a floured board. Shape it into a rough brick shape, and using a long, floured rolling pin, make 3 depressions across the brick. Make sure the dough and the pin are well dusted with flour at all times.

Then roll the whole thing out into an oblong that is roughly the length of your forearm (not including your hand!) and about 1/2 as wide. Now fold the top third down and the bottom third up so its a bit like an envelope. Seal the edges with a sharp press from the rolling pin. this locks in air, apparently. The dough will now be roughly the same size and shape as your original brick, so make the 3 depressions again and repeat the process again 4 or 5 times. What this does is spread out the large chunks of fat into layers with flour that you have used to dust the board, dough and pin. Clever, eh!

Allow the dough to rest in the fridge for at least half an hour before you roll it out. When you cut the dough in half you will be able to see all the layers of flour and fat, like the strata of a cliff.
Because we had so much stew we had to use 2 pie dishes (big rectangular lasagne ones) but if you are making a smaller amount you could use a pretty round dish. Fill your dish up to almost full with the stew filling. Then cover with the rolled out pastry and make nice decorations on top (not a big penis, like Alan did) and a few cuts to allow steam to escape. I was going to put an egg wash over the pastry to make it nice and shiny (just a beaten egg brushed all over the pastry) but I forgot. We served this with boiled new potatoes and steamed broccoli. YUUUUMMMM


Alan B said...

that's not a penis its the tower in the guinness factory! see! -

Lu said...

Oh wow - it totally is - you're so clever Alan and we thought you were being puerile

Anne said...

parnell street tesco ist REALLY bad! i couldn't even find capers there! :)

aoife mc said...

Snap!! Well, sort of. Congrats on making your pastry, fair play. I cheated on my recent beef 'pie'. It was in fact, an Emperor's New Clothes Pie.

Ha! Love the penis decoration on the pie.

This looks really good and I will be consulting your recipe more closely next time I fancy an auld pie. Definitely want to try a Guinness pie. Lovely stuff.

aoife mc said...

Yeah, that's definitely a willy. Sorry Alan. Nice denial try.