Irish food. Corned beef and cabbage and Irish Soda Bread of course, are the first thing that comes to mind – served with a deep, dark beer. Beer. Of several different styles and depths of color. Can I write a food column on beer? Well, it seemed that it would be a stretch without including some kind of recipe. But Irish dishes made with beer and served with beer? Now we’re talking. Beef Pie, hmmm, one of my favorites.
Whenever I encounter beef pie on a menu, I have to order it. It’s like a hot fudge sundae to me, 90% of the time, I just can’t get past it. I want to order something more exciting, my inner voice (the one that begins with “you should” and whom I occasionally need to tell, “Yes, well, thank you for your opinion, you may now sit down and be quiet.”) tells me I should order something different. But I just love beef pies.
They come with all sorts of cheeses – blue cheese in the stew, cheddar cheese in the crust, Irish cheddar sprinkled on top. Different beers change the flavor of the stew, but each is wonderful in its own way. Some prefer to make this pie with ale or a lighter beer but I like the deep flavors that a dark beer like Guinness brings. Beef pies topped with mashed potatoes and chives or cheddar have also seen their way into my belly. They’ve all been wonderful and this is my latest, favorite version.
A while ago I did a post on another one of my favorite Irish meals, the afore-mentioned Corned Beef and Cabbage, which we call New England Boiled Dinner. So you can have your cake and eat it too, so to speak, by having two wonderfully Irish meals with which to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
Bacon and Guinness Beef Pie
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup diced onions, about 1/2 large onion
6 strips of bacon, cut into small slices
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons minced garlic; about 2 cloves
1 bottle Guinness beer or other stout beer
3 cups beef stock
1 fresh sage sprig, tied with a string
1/2 pound carrots cut into short sticks; about 4 medium carrots
1/2 pound frozen pearl onions; about 2 cups
1 pie crust (see recipe below)
Heat olive in large stockpot over medium-high heat. Carefully add meat and brown, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a separate small pan, render bacon and remove from fat. Set the bacon aside and discard the fat. When beef stew meat is browned, add onions, paprika, salt, and pepper and sauté for another 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add bacon and the flour and stir until the flour is incorporated. Add the beer, beef stock, and sage sprig and stir well. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for at least 1 1/2 hours or until the beef is tender. Add the carrots and pearl onions and simmer until also tender, about another 10 to15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Transfer beef to a deep dish pie plate, a 9- x 13-inch casserole, or a soufflé dish. Roll out the pie crust to the shape of the pan you are using and pinch the sides over the edges.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Serve immediately.
Serves 6 to 8
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup ice cold water (or more)
leaves from sage and parsley
Pulse the flour, salt, and butter in a food processor. Add water and mix by hand until dough pulls away from the bowl and forms a ball. Add more water if necessary.
Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces and reserve one piece for another dish. Roll out to 1/4- to 1/8-inch thick in the shape of the pan you are using and place fresh sage and parsley leaves on top. Roll out a bit more to press the herbs into the dough and then transfer to the top of the prepared dish.
Makes 2 crusts (freeze one for another dish)