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Even after the excess of chocolate and hearty food during the  holidays, there is nothing more comforting than an old-fashioned home-made pie on a blue January grey cloudy day. 

This pie I have forgotten to make frequently as I tend to get stuck in a rut with weekly recipes at times, as most of us probably do.  It is quintessentially Irish with the use of Stout, in this case Beamish which has been brewed in beautiful Cork for over 200 years.  Guinness can be used of course either, as Beamish I have heard can be sometimes difficult to source outside Ireland, but I personally find it a little smoother and less bitter in flavour for this recipe. No apologies die-hard Guinness fans! I’ve also added a little horseradish which isn’t traditional but lifts the sauce very gently with a little heat and marries happily with beef.  Serve it either as a delicious casserole with well buttered mashed potatoes as an alternative if you haven’t puff pastry, and feel life is too short to spend hours hand making it.  Shortcrust pastry would also be suitable and can be used to line the inside of the pie dish aswell. Puff pastry tends to be soggy if used as a filling pie base. Make in individual pie dishes or a large family pie dish, served with a dollop of buttery mashed potatoes if bear hug comfort food is lovingly required…x.

For 4 Greedy Pies

You will Need –

800g shin beef or chuck steak, diced

1 large white onion,  finely sliced

400g field / chestnut mushrooms, wiped & quartered

3 sticks celery, trimmed & washed

500ml Beamish

200ml beef stock

Vegetable / rapeseed oil

1 tbsp butter

4 tbsp white flour

1 tbsp tomato puree

1 tbsp horseradish sauce or 11/2 tsp fresh grated

1 tsp apple sauce / granulated sugar

seasalt & white & black pepper

3 sprigs thyme / 2 tsp dried

small handful parsley / 2 tsp dried

1 small sprig rosemary / 1 tsp dried

Ready-made bought Puff Pastry

1 egg

To Do –

Heat a tablespoon of oil in an ovenproof casserole dish over a medium to high heat on the hob.

Pre-heat the oven to 220C

Put the flour into a bowl and season lightly with salt and white pepper.  Toss the diced beef in the flour shaking off any excess and placing aside.

Brown the floured beef in the oil in batches, not overcrowding the pot as the meat will stew instead.  Place batches aside in a seperate dish when browned.

When finished browning all the beef, add another tablespoon of oil to the dish or pot and add the sliced onions and mushrooms with a 1/4 tsp of salt. Don’t be aghast at the possible charred remnants on the base of the casserole dish, this is all flavour! Cook, stirring for 2- 3 minutes.

Return the browned beef to the onions and mushrooms and stir.

Add the Beamish or Guinness if using, beef stock, celery sticks and the rest of the ingredients except the pastry and egg.

Stir well adding a 1/4 tsp of black pepper and cover with a lid.

Place in the oven and reduce temperature to 190C straightaway.  Cook for 1 hour and remove to check if the beef is tender.  If not, return to the oven for another 1/2 hour.

Remove from the oven, check the seasoning and adjust.  If the sauce is too thin, as ovens vary, place the dish on the hob over a high heat removing the beef and mushrooms and reduce for 5 minutes or so until thick.  Return the meat and mushrooms to the sauce and stir.  Discard the celery sticks.

Turn up the oven again to 220C.

Place the delicious rich casserole evenly into individual pie dishes or one large family dish leaving about an inch or so space at the top.

Rub the rim lightly with a little butter or oil and unroll the ready made pastry.

Dust the counter or board lightly with flour and cut out the pastry lid to fit your dish, slightly overlapping at the edges.

Push down the pastry gently around the rim of the pie dish. Pinch up the edges of the pastry with a finger and thumb.

Crack the egg and lightly whip with a fork in a small dish.  Brush the beaten egg over the pastry and bake for 10- 15 minutes. 


Sheelagh x