This beef and Guinness pie is essentially traditional Irish beef stew filled with onions, carrots, celery, garlic, beef broth, and herbs, all topped with some lovely and simple store-bought puff pastry. Simple, delicious, and marvelously hearty.
The One was all over this beef and Guinness pie. Which is odd, because we’re not big beer drinkers—especially not Guinness. The One is partial to wine, and I like my cocktails clear (think gin or vodka), thank you very much. [Editor’s Note: Not big beer drinkers? Hah. Try not beer drinkers at all. You should have seen the look on David’s face the first—and only—time I invited him out for a beer.]
Nonetheless, when he and I couldn’t think of what to make for dinner on an unassuming and lazy Sunday not long ago, and I tossed out some recipe suggestions from the site, he chose this Guinness pie recipe. After some searing, stirring, and stewing, the filling was ready to go into an old-fashioned 2-quart casserole. We covered it with a gorgeous sheet of Dufour’s Puff Pastry (the best commercial pastry out there) and slid the whole shebang into the oven.
What came out was the kind of traditional pie you’d expect four and 20 blackbirds to come flying out of—proudly puff-chested and gorgeously golden. The true test was left to our friend and guest Danny, a take-no-prisoners type of Brit. She pronounced the beef and Guinness pie a huge success.–David Leite
Beef Pot Pie with Guinness FAQs
What is stewing beef?
Stewing beef comes from a number of different beef cuts, including round, chuck, or sirloin cuts. It’s usually cooked into a stew by adding it to liquid and simmering for a long period of time on low heat. Stewing any meat will make the meat soft, fork-tender, and super flavorful.
How do I thicken the braising liquid?
A few of our testers found that the stew hadn’t reduced to their liking before adding the pastry top. If you encounter the same thing, don’t fear…just follow their advice. Put a little flour (or cornstarch) into a small bowl and add a few spoonfuls of the braising liquid (never add dry to wet or you’ll get lumps!), whisk until smooth, and pour back into the pot. Continue stirring until thickened.
Why do you recommend Dufour pastry?
We always recommend, if you can, to opt for all-butter puff pastry, which not only lacks the multisyllabic unnatural ingredients found in mass-market brands but also tastes infinitely better. And for us that means Dufour. Trust us–they “envelop a butter block” in layers of dough and not much else. They know what they’re doing and David has trusted them for years. Or, even better? Make your own.
Beef Pot Pie with Guinness
- 2 heaping teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 pounds stewing beef such as chuck, cut into bite-size chunks
- 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more as needed
- 1 medium onion diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 4 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 medium carrot diced
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 1 1/2 cups store-bought or homemade beef broth
- 3 cups Guinness
- One (14-oz) can diced tomatoes drained
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tablespoons A.1. Steak Sauce
- Small handful each rosemary, thyme, and flat-leaf parsley leaves finely chopped
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 sheet puff pastry (preferably Dufour brand)
- 1 large egg yolk mixed with a little milk
- Dump the flour in a shallow bowl and lightly toss the meat in it to completely coat it.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Working in batches, lightly brown the meat on all sides, adding more oil to the pan as needed. Drain on paper towels.
- Add the remaining tablespoon oil to the drippings in the pan along with the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the carrot and celery, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes.
- Return the meat to the pan, then add the stock or broth, Guinness, canned tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, and chopped herbs and stir, using a wooden spoon to scrape any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer, uncovered, until the meat is tender and the sauce has thickened, stirring occasionally and skimming any fat from the surface, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours.
- Spoon the stew into an ovenproof pot or dish about 7 inches in diameter. Let cool. Alternatively, if you'd like a nice dome to your pot pie—and, hey, who doesn't?!—heap the filling in a slightly smaller baking dish.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Brush the outside edge of the pot or dish with water, then gently place the sheet of pastry over the stew, pinching the pastry against the edge of the pot or dish to seal. (lf you like, you can crimp the pastry to form a decorative edge.) Brush the pastry generously with the egg wash and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the pastry is puffed and golden brown. Serve hot from the oven.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This beef and Guinness pie is beautiful yet rustic with a flavor that’s full and rich. The vegetables cook up nice and tender but still retain some color and shape. The feel of the stew is silky but so satisfying, and the beef is fork-tender. The puff pastry is a wonderful bonus as it’s buttery but so easy to place on top. I made the pie filling the evening before so we’d have a wonderful dinner to come home to on a Monday evening.
The Guinness, A.1., and Worcestershire blend so well together and add an amazing depth to the sauce. This recipe is wonderful for a family dinner, company, or a cold evening in great need of comfort food. It was delicious.
This beef and Guinness pie recipe was delicious. I’ll definitely be making this one again. I only had one problem with this recipe: even after cooking it for over an hour, the liquid didn’t get as thick as I like for a pot pie. Next time I’ll add a bit of cornstarch if it doesn’t thicken. This was still a big hit at my house. We loved it. The flavors were fantastic. It made a great Sunday supper on a cold winter night.
This beef and Guinness pie recipe was clear and worked well for me. I thought that when the pie filling was cooked it might need sweetening with sugar (as has previously happened when I cooked with Guinness), but I found the filling just needed a little seasoning with salt and pepper. This was presumably because the Guinness in this recipe is cooked for an hour, which is long enough to allow the bitterness to cook off.
If the pie filling is a little too watery after cooking it, then some more flour can be added to thicken the sauce a little before putting the filling in the pie dish. I’d recommend using store-bought all-butter puff pastry [EDITOR’S NOTE: Dufour is the brand we prefer], which has a good taste and is easy to use.
I thought that the temperature of the oven was a little too high, as the pastry colored up very quickly—after about 25 minutes—but the pie filling wasn’t quite up to temperature so I’d suggest a slightly lower temperature and checking occasionally to ensure that the pastry isn’t burning.
If you happen to be hunkered down during a blizzard anytime soon, reach for this beef and Guinness pie—it won’t disappoint. That’s what we did last night as we settled in for the “Blizzard of 2013″ here in the Northeast, and this dish kept us happy and warm as the storm raged outside. After an hour on the flame, the flavors had concentrated nicely.
That said, I did find the stew still too thin for my liking even after the full hour of cooking, and so I added a cornstarch slurry (about 2 tablespoons worth) which thickened the stew nicely to a rich, glossy sheen. I used a mix of fresh rosemary, thyme, and oregano, and they blended beautifully with the sweet, malty flavor of the Guinness.
I had some A.1. on hand (which was actually a bit of a shock to me), so I used it as called for along with the Worcestershire, and they contributed to a great depth of flavor in the dish. I used a very lean beef stew meat (it was all I could get at my local market), and would like this dish even more with a fattier, more tender cut of meat. The next time I make this, I’ll look for a cut of beef with better marbling. In fact, though it’d be flying in the face of tradition, I bet this pie would be fabulous with cubed pork shoulder.
I did encounter a bit of trouble with the puff pastry crust (I bought some premade frozen puff pastry at Trader Joes) because it didn’t rise AT ALL when baking. Not sure if it was due to altitude issues (we’re at our ski house in Vermont) or a problem with the pastry itself. The flavor of the crust was quite good, but it was a fairly dense barrier to the goodness underneath. I served the pie up with a crisp green salad and some simple Cheddar mashed potatoes to raves from around the table.
Originally published January 13, 2019