St. Patrick’s Day: Steak and Guinness Pot Pie

March 16, 2009

Mr S. and I are quite a mish-mash of nationalities. I’m an English-born Australian girl with a Malaysian-Chinese family, while Mr S, very much a typical Aussie bloke, is a melting pot of Italian, German, English and Irish heritage. Needless to say, it makes for some interesting and diverse culinary adventures and all the more enjoyable when it comes to national holidays and cultural feasts.

Today it’s the time of the Irish with St. Patrick’s Day. Mr S. isn’t actually much of an ale drinker despite his Irish roots but he loves the food and a pie of Steak and Guinness is an absolute Irish staple (and a winner, as it also appeals to our very Aussie love of meat pies).

You can churn out a Steak and Guinness in any form you wish. You could make a piecrust using shortcrust pastry for the base and flaky puff pastry for the top. Sometimes I like to just serve it as a straight up Irish stew with potatoes and crusty bread but tonight I’m making Steak and Guinness Pot Pies. It’s not the most gourmet or sophisticated of dishes but it’s so hearty and comforting and in the end, you just can’t beat cultural traditions.

Guinness is quite strong and bitter in recipes and some hard-nosed Irishmen would probably appreciate that but we actually like it a little subtler, preferring to let the beef take centre stage. In any case I’ll leave you to tweak the seasonings to your preference.

Enjoy this meal with a pint of Irish brew and some crisp salad greens and remember to drink responsibly. Happy St. Paddy’s and slàinte chugat(good health to you).

Steak and Guinness Pot Pies


(serves 6-8)

2kg chuck steak – diced
3 medium brown onions – halved and thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic – crushed
2 Tbl oil
2/3 cup plain flour
2C (500ml) beef stock
400ml Guinness (I used Extra Stout but Draught is fine too)
approx 2-3 Tbl tomato paste
approx 1/3 C tomato sauce
sugar to taste (optional)
salt and black pepper
2-3 bay leaves
pre-made frozen puff pastry
1 egg beaten


Preheat the oven to 180°C

In a large cast iron casserole dish or other ovenproof pot, brown the beef in small batches, remove (along with the juices) and set aside.

Heat 2 Tbl oil in the same casserole dish and fry the onions and garlic until golden.

Sprinkle the flour over and cook for a further minute. It will probably get weird, dry and gluggy but don’t fret, it’s normal.

Return the beef and juices to the pan, add the tomato paste and tomato sauce and stir well.

Add the beef stock and beer and bring to the boil.

Season very well with salt, black pepper and sugar (this will counter the acidity of the tomato paste) to taste and stir well. Place the bay leaves on top.

Turn the heat off, stick the lid on and place on the top shelf of your oven and slow cook for about 2 hours (stirring occasionally) or until beef is tender and sauce has thickened.

Remove from the oven and turn the heat up to 200°C. If the sauce is still a little runny, stick it back on the stovetop and stir in some cornflour (mixed with a little cold water) and simmer until thickened.

Spoon the beef in individual ramekins (or one large dish) to the top and place a sheet of puff pastry over it. Trim off the excess leaving about 1-2cm overhang.

Fold the edges down and gently press it against the ramekin (you can dab a little water under to help it seal). Brush over with the beaten egg.

Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes or until pastry is puffed up and golden.

You can freeze any unused pies if you wrap it well to prevent the pastry from drying. Thaw the pies then bake it in the oven at 200°C.