Sunday, 24 October 2010

Beef and Guinness Pie for a Sunday lunch in Paris!

The Sunday lunch gang is a small group of compatriots who meet up for lunch on as regular a basis as our busy schedules allows for a proper Irish Sunday lunch. Often washed down with Irish style quantities of very much locally flavored alcoholic beverages! The dinner rotates between Parisien apartments and with the hosts providing the food and guests providing the wine, cheese and sometimes dessert.

This Sunday it was our turn to host lunch. With Winter making its return felt this week I decided that good old fashioned comfort food was the order of the day, and what better than a beef and Guinness pie to fit the bill.

The good thing is that the filing can be made the day before (and tastes better as a result)and you can cheat by using a good pure butter shop bought puff pastry - make sure you buy one that contains nothing more than flour, butter, salt and water. There are far too many brands on the market with ingredients that sound like a science lab experiment. This leaves you with lots of quality time for your guests.

Also try and make sure you use good quality beef, I use organic beef which is quite reasonable as the pie does not use the more expensive prime cuts of meat.

I managed to pick up some wild fresh French rosemary at the market - at one point in cooking I thought it might be too overpowering but it settled down to give a nice flavour.

Delicious with lightly steamed, buttered and salted cabbage!

(makes on pie which feeds 4 to 6 people)

You will need:

750g of stewing beef cut trimmed of fat in 2cm pieces
500ml of Guinness
50g of butter plus more for greasing
3 large yellow onions (approx 300g)
3 cloves of garlic
3 sticks of celery trimmed and chopped
350g carrots roughly chopped
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary - leaves only
2 large tablespoons of plain flour
sea salt
fresh black pepper

for the next day:
500g ready made PURE butter puff pastry
1 large organic beaten egg with a drop of milk

The day before:

1.marinate the beef in approximately half the guinness for at least 4 hours
2.pre-heat the oven to 160°
3.melt approx half the butter in a large heavy bottomed oven proof pan (you will need a lid for the pan later)
4.add onions and garlic and fry on a low heat until translucent but not yet starting to brown
5.add garlic and fry for a few more minutes
6.turn heat up to medium and add the rest of the butter, the carrots and celery , fry for about 5 minutes while continuously stirring
7.add the beef (but reserve the Guinness it was marinating in) and rosemary and season well - making sure to add enough black pepper
8.fry for a few more minutes before adding all of the guinness and stir in the flour. It will look quite liquidly at this point but that is ok, it will reduce in the oven.
9.cover with lid and put on the bottom shelf of the pre heated-oven for about 1 hour stirring from time to time
10. turn down oven to 120° and cook for another 30 minutes again stirring occasionally, turn off oven but leave pan in oven (normally I prepare the filling the evening before and leave filling in oven overnight once oven has been turned off).

Next day:11.preheat oven to 160°(and take out pan if you have left in overnight)
12.grease a pie dish with some butter
13.divide pastry in two and roll out on a floured surface to fit size of pie dish (I buy frozen pastry which is prerolled, another timesaver)
14.line the pie dish with one of the sheets of pastry so that the pastry is hanging over the slides on the dish
15.check the pie filling for seasoning and adjust if necessary
16.pour filling into lined pie dish and spead out evenly
17.cover pie with second sheet of pastry and close by folding over the pastry lining the dish
18.make a criss-cross design on pastry wih a sharp knife
19.brush the pie with the beaten egg and milk mixture in bottom of preheated oven for about 40 mins
21.after 40 minutes turn up oven to 180° and cook for another 10 minutes until puffed and golden on top

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