While the thought of pie evokes images of cinnamon-spiked apples, juicy peaches and piles of berries, pastry is a delicious delivery method for savoury ingredients, too. Whether you’re making it from scratch or starting with the frozen puff variety, pastry can elevate simple ingredients from the everyday to the extraordinary.
Beef & Stout Pie
A big, bubbling braised beef pie is perfect comfort food when you need to feed a crowd; inexpensive but flavourful cuts of beef are slowly braised in dark beer or red wine and stock.
canola or olive oil, for cooking
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 cups (500 ml) quartered mushrooms
4–5 garlic cloves, crushed
2 lbs. (1 kg) stewing beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
salt and pepper
2 tbsp flour
1 can or bottle of stout (such as Guinness) or 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) red wine
2–3 cups beef or chicken stock
1/2 cup (125 ml) frozen peas, thawed
1 pkg frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, lightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a large, oven-proof casserole or medium pot, heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat and sauté the onion for three to four minutes, until soft.
Add the carrots, celery, mushrooms and garlic, and cook for a few more minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add another drizzle of oil, sprinkle the beef with salt and pepper and brown it in the pan, turning to get as much colour as possible. Return the veggies to the pan, sprinkle everything with fl our and stir to coat.
Pour the beer or wine overtop, then add stock to almost cover the meat. Cover and bake for two-and-a-half to three hours, until the meat is very tender. If you like, cool and refrigerate overnight, or up to a few days.
When you’re ready to bake the pie, preheat the oven to 375°F. Stir the peas into the meat mixture. On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry out into a circle, square or rectangle slightly larger than your baking dish. Brush the edge of the dish with egg, drape the pastry overtop and cut a few slits in the top to allow steam to escape. Brush with a little more egg.
Bake for 40–45 minutes, until the pastry is puffed and deep golden, and the filling is bubbling through. Serves 6.
Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, May 2014.