Beef, Guinness and mushroom pies
Winter is not over yet. Before we go a little too crazy with health kicks after holiday excesses, lets make a few more stews, pies and mash. These dark January and February months require sturdy comfort food to pull us through it. What better way is there to spend a Sunday than making a slow-cook dinner and opening (dare I say) a bottle of red wine? Perhaps you do make that extra trip to the gym or yoga class, but don’t stop cooking.
My favorite cold weather dish is pot pies. Any stew-like base can be used and then topped off with flaky puff pastry. I’ve chosen one of the recipes in Meals in heels, which used chunks of beef slowly braised in Guiness beer along with buttons mushrooms. This classic Irish filling needs time to become tender, so you may want to make the stew the day before. Feel free to add any of your favourite winter vegetables such as cubed parsnip, turnip or carrot in the last 15 minutes of cooking to make it more of a one pot meal.
beef, guinness and mushroom pies
preparation time 25 minutes
cooking time 1 hour 35 minutes
800 g (1 lb 12 oz) braising beef, such as chuck, cut into 21/2 cm (1 inch) cubes
2 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour
60 ml (2 fl oz/1/4 cup) olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
400 g (14 oz) button mushrooms, stems removed
300 ml (101/2 fl oz) beef stock
250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) Guinness
2 teaspoons tomato paste (concentrated purée)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
375 g (13 oz) block ready-made butter puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 200ºC (400ºF/Gas 6).
Place the beef and flour in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Heat a little oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the beef, in batches, and cook until browned on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside
Heat the remaining oil in the pan. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Add the mushroom and cook for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the beef, stock, Guinness, tomato paste, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce to the pan, bring to the boil, then reduce heat to very low, cover and simmer for 60 minutes or until beef is fork tender. Divide among six 12 cm (41/2 inch), 400 ml (14 fl oz) capacity ramekins or ovenproof bowls and cool for 20 minutes.
Roll out the pastry to 5 mm (14 inch) thick and cut into 6 squares to fit over the bowls. Brush the rims of the bowls with a little beaten egg, lay the pastry over and press to seal. Make a small slash in the pastry with a knife and brush with a little more beaten egg. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and puffed.