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Beef and Guinness Pie
From the kitchen of Sharmagne Leland-St. John
2 pounds boneless beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
4 tablespoons water, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup beef broth
1 cup Guinness, well chilled
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons drained green peppercorns, coarsely chopped
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Rough puff pastry dough (see recipe below)
Place oven rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 350°F.
Wash and pat the beef dry. Mix together flour, salt and pepper in a shallow dish.
Add the beef, turning to coat, then shake off excess and transfer to a plate. Heat the
oil in a wide 6-quart ovenproof heavy pot over medium high heat until just smoking,
then brown meat in 3 batches, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes per batch. When
done transfer each batch to a bowl.
Add onion, garlic and 3 tablespoons water to the pot and cook, scraping up any brown
bits from bottom of pot. Stir frequently until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add
tomato paste and cook, continuing to stir for 1 minute. Stir in beef with juices which
have accumulated. Add the broth, Guinness, Worcestershire sauce, peppercorns and thyme and
bring to a simmer, then cover and transfer to the oven. Cook until beef is tender and sauce
is thickened, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Discard thyme and cool the stew completely,
uncovered, for about 30 minutes
Put a shallow baking pan on the middle rack of oven and increase oven temperature to 425°F.
Divide the cooled stew among 4 ovenproof ramekins. If it is not properly cooled, it will melt
the pastry. Lightly flour your pastry table. Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out pastry
dough into a 13-inch square, about 1/8 inch thick. Trim the edges and cut dough into quarters.
Stir together the egg and 1 tablespoon water and brush a 1-inch border of egg wash around each
square. Invert 1 square over each bowl and drape, pressing sides lightly to help adhere. Brush
pastry tops with some of remaining egg wash and freeze 15 minutes to thoroughly chill dough.
Bake in the preheated shallow baking pan until pastry is puffed and golden brown, about 20
Reduce oven temperature to 400°F and bake 5 minutes more to cook the dough thoroughly.
Rough Puff Pastry
1 cup plain flour (250g)
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 cup butter, at room temperature but firm (250g)
5 ounces cold water (150ml)
Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Roughly break the butter into small chunks, add them to
the bowl and rub them in loosely. You should be able to see bits of butter. Make a well in the
flour and pour in about two-thirds of the cold water. Mix until you have a firm rough dough.
Add extra water if needed. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest for 20 minutes in the refrigerator.
Turn out onto a lightly floured board, knead gently and form into a smooth rectangle. Roll the
dough in one direction only, until 3 times the width, about 20 x 50cm. Keeping the edges straight
and even. Do not overwork the butter streaks. You'll want a marbled effect. Fold the top third down
to the centre, then the bottom third up and over that. Give the dough a quarter turn and roll out again
to three times the length. Fold as before, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 20 minutes
before rolling to use.