I didn't know that 17 March was St Patrick's Day, when I decided to make this pie. St Patrick, of course, is the Patron Saint of Ireland, land of Guiness Stout, a main feature of this pie.
Before starting out, I googled a few Steak/Beef pie recipes, but in the end, I settled for Jamie Oliver's version, from his book "Happy Days with the Naked Chef".
Not all the ingredients are easily available here, though, so I made do with some substitutions. Also, this amount is almost double the recipe because whenever I make pie, I usually make enough to keep for another meal within the week. The time going into pie-making must be worth it, don't you think so? ;P
1kg Beef steak (I bought 2 x 500g of frozen beef cubes from NTUC, and then I sliced each cube into half)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Flour enough to coat beef
Olive oil for frying
3 medium Onions, peeled and roughly chopped
2 medium Carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch-pieces
7 sticks Celery, washed and cut into 1/2 inch-pieces
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch-pieces
Liberal dashes of dried oregano, thyme and 3 pieces of bay leaves
1L Guiness Stout (I bought 2 x 500ml can)
5 very large tomatoes, skin removed and cut into 8 pieces each (Click here to learn a painless way to skin tomatoes)
1 tsp tomato paste
Because the stewing process took at least 2 hours, I used an induction cooker. I didn't want to use the thermal pot for this stew because the thermal pot won't be able to reduce the stout into the thick gravy I needed.
1. Season the beef pieces with salt and ground black pepper. Sprinkle in the flour and toss until coated. Heat olive oil in the pot and fry meat in batches. The meat need not be cooked through, but the surface has to be sealed in. This will ensure that the meat will be juicy and tender during the stewing process.
2. After the last batch of meat is done, return all the meat back into pot and add the onion. After one minute of stir-frying, add the carrots, sweet potatos, celery and liberally add in the herbs. Fry for a further 4 minutes and then add Guinness and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 2.5 hours or until meat is really tender, and the sauce is thick. Add salt and pepper if needed at this point.
3. Jaime Oliver advise that at this point, the stew could be served as a stew with mash potato, or to leave it for 5 days in the fridge to improve its flavour. For me, I needed the stew cooled to put it into my pie. =)
4. I used my Yogurt Pie Crust recipe (doubling the amount) for making the pie crust, but it's mostly because it's not easy to get premade pie crust; use premade if you are able to find, and flaky pie crust ones are best. I did consider using frozen prata for the cover, but at the time, I had made more than enough crust, so I didn't need to do so... perhaps I'll half the amount the next time I make it and use the flaky prata dough for the cover. =)
5. Brush a beaten egg over the pie and poke a few holes in the pie crust for vents. Bake the pie in the oven at 180 deg C, for about 30 minutes.
The pie! Oh the pie is flavourful - mildly bitter from the stout, but the taste is intense. The pastry helps provide that delicious mouth-feel of crumbly butteriness with the chewiness of biting into tender steak. Because the beef isn't cut too small, you'll literally get to chew on steak. Yum!