Each year as St. Patrick’s Day approaches, people all over the world are planning on how they will celebrate this Irish saint’s day. Whether you were born in Ireland, have Irish ancestors or are one of the people who wish they were Irish for just one day, food and drink usually play a part in the celebrations. Beef and Guinness Pie…an Irish tradition in pubs across the lovely Emerald Isle is an excellent dish to enjoy on the holiday or any other time when you want a hearty and flavorful meal. You can serve this dish with colcannon, champ, or buttery mashed potatoes to soak up some of the rich gravy. After eating this meal, you might want to get up from the table and dance an Irish jig.
Beef and Guinness pie might not be the first dish that you would think of preparing for St. Patrick’s day. If you are an American, you might automatically think of making the traditional dish of corned beef and cabbage to celebrate the day. I love it and prepare it at least once a year…yes, typically on St. Patrick’s day. It is an Irish-American tradition but not actually a Irish one. A meal that would be similar and perhaps found on the kitchen table in homes in the Irish countryside might be a “bacon joint” which is similar to Canadian bacon that is cooked with boiled cabbage and potatoes.
Beef cooked with the famous Irish stout is an easy dish that requires little work. The meat is braised in the oven, slow simmered on the stove top or cooked in a crock pot until the meat is fork tender. The resulting hearty beef stew can be served as is. It can also be placed in a casserole dish, pie plate or individual gratin dishes, topped with a flaky pastry or puff pastry and baked for a delicious beef and Guinness pie. For another way to serve this stew, you can go over to my friend Conor Bofin’s blog for his version.
Beef and Guinness Pie
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees
- 1 or 2 strips of bacon, chopped
- several Tbsp. of oil, if needed
- 1 1/2 lb. of lean beef chuck, cut into 1 inch cubes
- flour seasoned with plenty of pepper and salt for dusting the meat
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 tsp. tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 bottle of Guinness or other stout
- 2 c. beef broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried
- 1 carrot cut in half plus 2 carrots diced
- 1 stalk celery
- 1 c. sliced mushrooms
- 1 pie dough or puff pastry, your favorite recipe or store bought
- egg wash (optional)
Cook the bacon in a large ovenproof pot or casserole over medium heat until brown and the fat has been rendered. Remove the bacon and set it aside but leave the bacon fat in the pot. Put the seasoned flour in a bag along with the beef, seal and shake to coat the meat. Add the beef in batches to the pot and sear until brown, adding oil if necessary. Remove to a bowl. Add the onion to the pot and cook slowly until they are soft and caramelized. Add the garlic, tomato paste, and the Worcestershire sauce, stir well and cook for one minute. Add in the Guinness, beef broth, bay leaves, thyme, carrot halves, celery stalk and the reserved bacon and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and place in the oven and let braise for about one and a half hours until just tender. Take out of the oven and throw away the carrot halves, celery stalk and bay leaves. Add the mushrooms and diced carrots and return to the oven uncovered. Cook for approximately 15 or 20 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
Remove from the oven and pour into a deep pie plate, casserole dish or individual gratin dishes and let cool slightly. Place chilled pie dough on top, make a few slits, brush with egg wash, if using. Place in a preheated 425 degree oven and bake until golden brown about 10 to 15 minutes.*
*The stew can be prepared a day earlier. Top with the pie dough just before serving and bake for 15 minutes. I like to prepare a herbed pie dough, bake it separately, and then place on top of the pie and heat in the oven for about 5 minutes.
This pie, will certainly win over your taste buds. It doesn’t matter if you care for Guinness or not, the stout’s slightly bitter and chocolate flavor when cooked with the other ingredients creates a rich taste that you will enjoy. You will understand why this beef and Guinness pie is an Irish tradition that can be found in most pubs…at least on St. Patrick’s day.
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