by Julie Van Rosendaal
Although Guinness is arguably the most recognizable stout out there, any dark stout will make a fabulously dark, sticky pie – try Wild Rose oatmeal stout or another local brew. If you’re the type to store bacon drippings in the fridge, use them to brown your beef.
2 -1/2 lb. stewing beef, cut into 1-or 2-inch size pieces
salt and freshly ground pepper
olive oil or bacon fat
1 large red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 T. all-purpose flour
1 c. Guinness or other dark ale or stout
(plus extra if needed)
1 c. beef or chicken stock (plus extra if needed)
2 T. tomato paste
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 large carrot, diced
1 c. grated extra-old white cheddar
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, lightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Pat your beef dry with paper towel and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set an oven-proof Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add a drizzle of oil or dab of bacon fat, and brown the meat in batches, transferring to a plate as you go. Add extra oil in between if the pan needs it.
Once the meat is browned, remove it, put it on a plate and set it aside on the counter, add the onion to the pan and cook for a few minutes, stirring to loosen any browned bits in the bottom of the pan. Return the beef to the pan, add the garlic and shake the flour over the mixture, stirring to coat everything well. Add the stout, stock, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce – there should be enough liquid to just barely cover the meat. If not, add a little more stout, stock or even water. Add a couple of sprigs of thyme (or pull off the leaves and add them to the pot), cover and cook the stew in the oven
for 1-1/2 hours.
Remove the pot from the oven, stir in the carrots and return to the oven for another hour, or until the meat is very tender. Remove from the oven and turn the heat up to 400°F. If you like, scrape the meat mixture into another baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry out about 1/4-inch thick, making it slightly larger than the size or diameter of your baking dish. If you’re going to drape the pastry over the edges of the dish, brush the edges with beaten egg. Drape the pastry over top, sealing it around the edge of the pan. (Alternatively, if there’s too much space between the top of the meat and the top of the pan, tuck the edge of the pastry haphazardly down around the edge inside the pan.) Brush the top with beaten egg and, if you like, score the top lightly with a sharp knife. Return to the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the pastry is deep golden. Serves 6.