The pie’s the limit

[Recipe 1] BEEF and GUINNESS STEW transforms into
Happy Fathers Day for tomorrow daddy readers! Beef and Guinness stew is the ultimate manly feast. It makes blokes positively thump the table in appreciation. We have a pot of it waiting in the fridge for dinner tomorrow night as the husband will be wanting to reclaim his manliness after spending the day at Anakie Fairy Park.
This stew is a cinch to whip up and it’s a definite plate-licker – my 5-year old adores it. The only time-consuming bit is waiting for it to cook, the longer the better.
For two meals from one, reserve half the stew and you can make a hearty Chunky beef and Guinness pie later, another certified man-pleaser.

Beef and Guinness stew with sweet potato mash[Recipe 1] Beef and Guinness stew

Ingredients (serves 4 for 2 meals):
1.75 kilos (3.8 lb) brisket or chuck steak, coarsely chopped into 3cm (1-inch) pieces
4 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour
Olive oil, for frying
2 celery sticks, chopped
3 red onions, thickly sliced
4 large carrots, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
440ml (15-oz) Guinness draught beer
2 cups good-quality beef stock
4 tablespoons tomato paste (tomato concentrate)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
4 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
Salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
Sweet potato mash, to serve
Chopped flat-leaf parsley, to serve

Preheat oven to 180°C (350ºF).
Place beef pieces and flour in a large plastic bag and toss to coat. Shake off excess flour.
Heat oil in a heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook beef in batches (adding a splash more oil when required) for about 3 minutes, until well-browned. Transfer to a plate.
Add celery, onion and carrots to the pot, and 1 tablespoon more oil if required. Cook, covered, for 15 minutes, until vegetables start to soften. Stir occasionally. Add garlic and cook for a further 3 minutes, uncovered, stirring regularly. Return beef, and any juices, to the pot. Add Guinness, bring to the boil, and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
Transfer vegetables, beef and juices to a large oven-proof pot, preferably cast iron.
Combine stock, tomato paste and brown sugar. Pour over beef and vegetables. Add bay leaves and cinnamon sticks.
Cover tightly with a double layer of foil (or a lid, with foil underneath) and cook in pre-heated oven for 2–3 hours. Test to see whether beef is lovely and tender after 2 hours. If not, return to the oven for a further 30 minutes and check again. Remove and discard bay leaves and cinnamon sticks. Season well with salt and lots of pepper.
♦ Reserve half the Beef and Guinness stew, about 5 cups (1¼ kilos), for the Chunky beef and Guinness pie.
Serve remaining Beef and Guinness stew on a bed of sweet potato mash, scattered with parsley.

  • I’m no expert, but according to my extensive web-surfing it’s safe to serve properly-prepared meals cooked with beer (or wine) to children over 2 years old. This dish is cooked long enough for the alcohol to evaporate, leaving only harmless trace residues.

Beef and Guinness pie

[Recipe 2] Chunky beef and Guinness pie

Ingredients (serves 4-6):
4 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour

1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
♦ 5 cups (1¼ kilos) reserved beef and Guinness stew
2 sheets store-bought puff pastry or 1 x 375g (13 oz) puff pastry block, thawed
1 egg, whisked with 1 tablespoon milk, for brushing pastry
Easy spiced tomato chutney (or store-bought chutney), to serve 

Preheat oven to 200°C (390ºF).
Grease a 24cm (9½-inch) 6-cup (1½ litres) capacity ovenproof pie dish.
Blend flour with 3 tablespoons hot water to form a smooth paste.
♦ Spoon reserved beef and Guinness stew into a large saucepan.
Add flour paste and worcestershire sauce and bring to boil. Simmer, uncovered, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes, or until thickened. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until cold.
Cut 1 sheet of pastry in half and add these pieces to the edges of the first sheet, with water to seal, to make a large sheet. If using a block of pastry, roll out to 3mm thick. Place the pie dish upside down on the pastry. Use the dish as a guide to cut a circle of pastry about 1cm bigger than the dish. Cover the pastry disk with a tea towel while you make the plaited edge decoration.
Cut 5mm strips of pastry from the off-cuts. Using 2 strips, twist one piece around the other for a plait or rope effect. Continue until you have a long enough ‘rope’ to encircle the pie.
Spoon the cooled beef and Guinness mixture into the pie dish. Drape puff pastry circle over filling, and prick with a fork in four places. Press around the edge to seal with your fingertips. Wet the rim of the pastry top with water, and lay the knotted rope around the edge. Brush pastry with egg wash.
Bake for 20–25 minutes or until pastry is puffed and golden. Serve with Easy spiced tomato chutney and a green salad.

  • If you find you eat too much of the stew and don’t have 5 cups left for the pie, you can easily pad out the filling of the pie with sautéed mushrooms or small pieces of steamed potato.
  • Don’t be tempted to lay your pastry on the pie filling straight away, while you’re making the plaited edge decoration, or the pastry will become soggy. Assemble the pie when your edge decoration is complete.
  • If you have any more pastry off-cuts, you could cut out leaf shapes (or alphabet letters if you have the time and inclination). If you’re making this for Father’s Day, you could win some brownie points by cutting out ‘Dad’.