I know Jesus favored wine for special occasions, but I can just picture Him, resting comfortably in a big old leather armchair in an Irish pub, engaged in a good conversation with Arthur Guinness. I mean, who wouldn’t feel at home in the presence of a man with the family motto Spes mea in Deo (My hope is in God). Guinness crafted his beer so that it would be good for those who drank it, and created a culture where his employees felt like family and generosity was a way of life.
Truly, what’s not to love. It’s Guinness.
Well, to be perfectly honest, I am not a beer drinker. I’ve tried, but the taste doesn’t really make me smile. That doesn’t stop me from buying it, though – because wonderful things are made with beer. Bread, chili, marinades, hair rinses. And if you are blessed with Guinness, you get pie. I think Jesus would have adored Guinness pie.
Yes, you get rich, hearty comfort food perfect for a winter dinner with family while UC Dublin takes on the Bohemians in Ireland Premiere Football (OK, that last part was a feeble attempt to be relevant – our television was entertaining cool kids with Angry Birds). Great chunks of beef, lamb, and even venison roast are browned and then married with carrots, onions, potatoes, parsnips, and tomatoes in a Guinness-based broth that gets all herbed up with thyme, rosemary, bay leaves – and my secret recipe – herbes de Provence (savory, oregano, rosemary, marjoram, thyme, and lavender flowers). Everything cooks for hours, gets topped with a fun pastry porkpie hat, and then cooks a little more. Trust me on this. The flavor is better than any old pot pie you’ve ever tried. Even if you don’t like beer, you should leave your home at this very minute and purchase Guinness – because your family will rejoice.
For family night, we served this pie with great comfort foods to accompany it – corn on the cob, fried okra , fresh salad. And bread with some hearty “hales” to London – Marmite, chilli jam, and sweet onion spread. Yes, we tried Marmite. And that’s just about all I’ll say about that. Good gosh, people. Seriously. What IS that stuff?
My sweet niece Sylvia said it was the best pie she’s ever eaten – well, except for Turtle Pie (she does love chocolate, caramel and nuts).
This recipe is a hybrid of about three, so we’ll just say “thanks everyone” to Guinness and Jamie Oliver and my pantry. I’d love to know how you customize your pie for your family night!
Serves 8 well
2 pounds beef, lamb, or venison roast, diced
Sea salt to taste
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup olive oil or grapeseed oil
1 onion, peeled and diced finely
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
3 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
2 cups Guinness stout
1 cup rich beef broth
1 – 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 – 14 oz can diced tomatoes
Fresh rosemary, chopped
Fresh thyme, chopped
3-4 bay leaves
3 T. fresh herbes de Provence
Puff pastry, thawed, or Pie crust, rolled and ready
1 egg, beaten
In a large Dutch oven, heat your oil. Then brown the meat that has been seasoned with salt and pepper and dredged in flour. You may need to do this in mor than one batch so the meat browns well. Once all the meat is brown, reduce heat and add your onion and cover, allowing the steam to sweat the onions for just a couple of minutes. Uncover and add the rest of the veggies, herbs,, Guinness and broth, and simmer for at least two hours or until the meat is tender, the liquid is thick and lovely and the flavors have blended well. You may add more salt and pepper if needed to season.
Preheat oven to 375. Put your incredible pie filling in a large round baking dish. You may also split it up into smaller pies if you like. Roll out your pastry dough until it’s about ¼ thick and about ½ wider than the top of your baking dish. Brush the rim of your dish with beaten egg, and place the pastry evenly on top, sealing the dish by pressing down slightly on the excess pastry around the edge. Score the top of the pastry to make steam holes, and decorate with any scraps you may have to spruce up your masterpiece. Brush the entire pastry top with beaten egg, and pop in the oven for about 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and your pie is bubbling.