Now I know this meal is not going to appeal to those of you in the Northern Hemisphere who are basking in lovely summer weather. You could always pin this for later in the year as it is a very tasty meal. For those of us living in Canberra, it has been a cold winter at least by Canberra standards and these Beef, Guinness and Mushroom pies from Jennifer of Meals in Heels are just what are needed to warm the heart on these chilly nights.
I am a big fan of individual pot pies when cooking for one. You can really control the size of your portion and not get carried away. Making a large pie, it is so easy just to eat that extra piece. Plus with pot pies you cut down on the calories by not having a full pastry crust while still getting some of that delicious buttery goodness on top.
The good thing about this recipe is that you can make up a batch of the pie filling and then freeze it in pie sized batches. Then when you are ready for a pie, just defrost some puff pastry and make up a pie. I am sure real pastry tastes better but I find puff pastry from the supermarket works well for me. To not waste the pastry I would make up two pies and have then over two nights. The pie reheats well in the oven – just pop it in the oven on 180C for 5 minutes to heat through.
The other bonus is that if you aren’t in a pie mood, the filling makes a delicious casserole in itself. Perfect for serving over mashed potatoes. The filling is so lovely and rich. The Guinness flavor is just wonderful and it adds such lovely depth the mushroom flavor. I will admit to throwing out some of the Guinness which I am sure is sacrilege to some people but I am not a huge fan except for what it can do to a meal.
I made enough of the filling for two pies but next time I would probably make up a batch of half the recipe. That would be enough for four meals with vegetables on the side. For the two pies I used the following ingredients:
250g topside steak, cubed
2 tsps plain flour (all purpose)
20 ml (1 tbs and 1 tsp) olive oil
¼ brown onion, diced
125g mushrooms, sliced
100 ml beef stock
80 ml Guinness
1/2 teaspoon (heaped) of tomato paste
2 tsps balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, lightly beaten
I followed the recipe pretty much as given with only some minor changes. I quartered my mushrooms as they weren’t button mushrooms – just your ordinary white mushrooms from the supermarket. I took longer to cook my beef, about another 15 minutes, as it wasn’t very tender after the given time. One of the bonuses of recipes like this is you can use cheaper cuts of meat and just cook them a bit longer, saving some money. I know topside isn’t normally the cheapest cut but I got mine on sale as it was near its use by date. Always a good buy if you can get it in the freezer quickly. I also used sheet rather than a block of puff pastry so no real rolling required. I used the pie dish as a guide to cut a piece that was the right size and one piece was good for two pies and could probably have done three if I was being careful and had filling for three.
I did beat a whole egg to use as the wash on the pastry. So there is some wastage there as well as in the pastry sheet but it is pretty minor. I wonder if you could use milk instead of eggs as a wash?
Time wise this is not quick recipe as you have to cook the beef for quite a while but it is pretty low maintenance for most of the cook time of 130 minutes (including the 20 minutes when it is resting and you can get the pastry ready). Prep time is 5-10 minutes. My steak came cubed so I saved some time there. It comes in at about 520 calories so not the lowest calorie dinner but nowhere near as bad you might expect.