Not much catches my eye than cooking with beer. That’s why when I came across a recipe for a beef and stout pie in the New York Times Magazine a few weeks ago I was intrigued and set it aside to make on St. Patrick’s day. Let’s start by cutting our raw veggies. You will need to chop 2 large red onions and mince 4 cloves of garlic; set these aside in one bowl. Now chop 2 peeled carrots, 2 ribs celery, and slice 10 mushrooms; set these in a bowl.
For the meat you will need 3 pounds brisket or stew meat, chopped into bite-size pieces; pepper and salt the chopped meat on all sides. Let’s start cooking some of this. Preheat oven to 375. In a large ovenproof pan with a fitted lid (if not in possession of such an item improvise with a large stove top pan and later you can transfer to an oven pan covered with aluminum foil) heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat and add onions and garlic. Cook until soft, regularly stirring for about 10 minutes. Add carrots, celery, mushrooms, and another 2 tablespoons butter and cook over medium heat until the mushrooms are dark and the moisture released by them has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Now add beef pieces, 2 tablespoons of flour, and 1 sprig of rosemary.
Cook over high heat, stirring regularly for 5 minutes. At this point if you have not been cooking so far in an oven proof dish now is the time to transfer to such a disk. Add 4 cups (2 cans) of Guinness; it should just cover the beef. Cover the pan and place in oven for 1 1/2 hours. Take out and stir and place back in oven for 1 hour. As for the dough for the pastry, it needs to be made and refrigerated for 2 hours, so may want to prepare that ahead of the other steps. To make the pastry take 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour, 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder, 3/4 teaspoons salt and sift into a bowl. Using your hands or a pastry cutter quickly work 1 stick of butter into the dough until it takes on the texture of a coarse meal. This takes some work.
Add ice water, a splash at a time, until the dough firms up. Wrap in plastic and put in refrigerator for 2 hours or more. Once stew has been in oven for 1 hour remove. If still very thin place in stove top pan and reduce the liquid. Now that it is closer to a stew consistency taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Fold in 4 ounces of grated cheddar. We are now ready to roll the dough out large enough to fit the pan and the thickness of a mouse pad. Having worked at a pizzeria for 5 years this is by far the most difficult dough I have ever worked with.
If you have problems with tearing and holes use flour and water to patch. With stew in oven proof dish (8-inch square 2-inch high) scatter 4 more ounces of shredded cheddar on top of the stew. Place the dough over the pie and pinch on sides to close edges using a fork. Using a knife cut a few slits and brush with1 egg yolk. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. All together from start to eating this dish took up a whole 6 hours to make. Intuitively you would think to drink this with a Guinness, but try it with some red wine.