Y’all, I really want to tell you stories about St. Patrick’s Day and wax poetic about this stew.
But my brain stopped working a few hours ago. Plus, the best St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are the ones you can’t remember (though the days after are generally ones you want to forget).
So, you should make this. It’s really good.
There’s beef in it. And Guinness. Two things I don’t really care for, but they work here.
This does take a while to cook, and you need to let it cool and then put it back in the oven later if you want to put the puff pastry on it. But it is quite easy, especially if you get beef that’s already cut into pieces.
If you don’t have oven-proof bowls, you can still make this and just eat it as a stew. You will want some kind of bread to go with it, though. I recommend this brown soda bread from last year.
Beef and Guinness pies (Adapted from Gourmet Comfort, serves 4)
1 1/4 cup cold Guinness, no foam
2 to 3 pounds boneless beef chuck or “stew beef”
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves
3-4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/4 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons drained brined green peppercorns, coarsely chopped (I couldn’t find these, so I didn’t use them)
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 large egg + 1 tablespoon water
Measure the beer and put it back in the fridge. If the beef isn’t already cut up, cut it into 1-inch pieces. Chop the onion and garlic cloves.
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Place the flour in a shallow dish or bowl and season with salt and pepper. Dredge the beef in the flour (you don’t need it totally covered in flour, but you do want some flour on each piece).
Heat the oil on medium-high heat in a wide, large ovenproof pot or Dutch oven. Add about 1/3 of the beef and brown for about 5 minutes. Remove and continue until all meat is browned. Keep the beef in a bowl or on a large plate.
Add the onion, garlic and 3 tablespoons of water to the pot (watch out for beefy/oniony steam) and stir, scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.
Add the beef (and any juices in the bowl), broth, beer, Worcestershire sauce, peppercorns (if using) and thyme. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then cover with a lid and place in oven. Braise 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, until the beef is very tender.
Once stew is cooked, remove the thyme and allow the stew to cool to room temperature. Place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 425 F.
Spoon stew into four ovenproof serving bowls. Roll out the thawed pastry dough on a lightly floured work surface and cut into squares.
Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush some of the mixture around the edges of one side of a dough square, then place the square on top of the bowl (egg side down) and press the dough against the bowl to make it stick. Brush the top of the pastry dough with more of the egg mixture. Repeat the egg wash process with the other bowls.
Place the bowls on the preheated pan and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the pastry is puffy and golden brown. Turn the oven down to 400 F and bake 5 more minutes.