Steak and guinness pie

Steak and guinness pie

How to Cook Pastry
Peter Cassidy

Although this recipe uses only a half quantity of pastry, it is much easier to make a whole batch, so use half and freeze the leftover. You will need a large pie dish.


Quantity Ingredient
1/2 quantity Rough puff pastry
extra flour, to dust
1 egg

For the filling

Quantity Ingredient
1 onion
3 tablespoons olive oil
handful mixed herbs, such as parsley, thyme, rosemary and oregano
1kg beef chuck steak
450ml guinness
1/2 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons softened butter, mixed with 2 tsp flour, if needed
freshly ground black pepper


  1. For the filling, halve and peel the onion and cut each half into 4 wedges. Place in a medium flameproof casserole or ovenproof pan with 1 tbsp of the olive oil, cover, ideally with a cartouche, and sweat over a low heat until soft and translucent.
  2. Meanwhile, finely chop enough herb leaves to give 1–2 tbsp and set aside. Trim off any excess fat and sinew from the beef, then cut into 2–3cm cubes. Heat the oven to 150°C.
  3. Once the onion is soft, remove it from the pan and set aside. Now brown the meat in batches in the pan, using more oil as necessary and deglazing with a little water after each batch.
  4. Return the onion to the pan and add the Guinness, tomatoes, chopped mixed herbs, bay leaf and some salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer. Return all the meat to the pan and add a little water if the meat is not covered.
  5. Cover, transfer to the oven and cook gently for 2–2½ hours, or until the beef is tender. You should be able to cut through a piece of the meat with the side of a fork or spoon.
  6. Remove from the oven and drain off the cooking liquid into a small pan. Discard the bay leaf, then taste and reduce the sauce, if necessary, until it lightly clings to the meat and has a good concentration of flavour. If the sauce needs thickening, whisk in the beurre manié, a piece at a time, over the heat.
  7. Add the beef back to the sauce and transfer to a lipped pie dish, ensuring the filling fills the dish generously. Use a pie funnel, if necessary. Leave to cool completely.
  8. Roll out the chilled pastry on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle about 3mm thick and 3cm bigger all round than the pie dish. Cut off strips that together will line the lip of the pie dish. Lightly beat the egg with a very small pinch of salt, using a fork, then pass through a sieve into a bowl.
  9. Press the pastry strips onto the dish lip and brush with a little beaten egg. Carefully lift the pastry rectangle on top and press gently over the lip, to join the edges. Trim off the excess pastry and cut up the sides. Place 2 fingers lightly on the edge of the pastry and draw the back of a cutlery knife between your fingers and upwards, to create a scalloped effect.
  10. Make a hole in the centre of the lid to allow steam to escape. Cut out leaves or decorations from the pastry trimmings, if desired, and stick to the pie lid with beaten egg. Glaze the pastry with the beaten egg. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm the pastry. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200°C.
  11. Brush the pastry with beaten egg again. Bake in the top of the oven for 25–30 minutes, or until the pastry is well risen and golden and the filling is piping hot when tested with a skewer.

A note on making savoury pies...

  • Savoury pies can be made using any stew recipe and adding a pastry lid. Just make sure there is enough meat or vegetable piled up to hold up the pastry lid when it is assembled, and enough gravy or sauce to accompany the meat and pastry. It is always best to make the stew first and allow it to cool down completely before topping with pastry, or the pastry will melt before it sets in the oven. Savoury pies can be made in this way using shortcrust or any of the layered pastries.
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