There are few things I love more than a long weekend cooking session with a bottle of wine nearby. I rarely polish it all off myself (although…occasionally I do), but whenever a sauce is missing that certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ I often find that a generous glug of red or white is enough to save the day.
Cooking with beer, on the other hand, has always been a foreign concept to me. Despite the popular rise of craft beer and food pairings, I haven’t been exposed to beer as an ingredient all that much. Aside from those roast chickens impaled on a can of lager, that is.
Anyway, a few weeks ago the kind folk at SAB sent me a few cans of Castle Milk Stout. The challenge? Show them what I could do with it in the kitchen. I ummed and ahhed for a while – but in light of the miserable weather and Milk Stout’s rich and creamy flavours, I knew that comfort food was definitely the way to go.
So here we have it: my first attempt at a Beef n’ Stout Beer Pie. My recipe is a very casual hashing together of a couple of versions I found, and turned out surprisingly well. It’s a low maintenance meal (which, as a lazy cook, I really like) so feel free to use your own culinary discretion as far as measuring goes.
And all you need are few very simple ingredients:
- 1kg lean, deboned stewing beef
- 100g flour
- oil for frying
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 5 carrots, chopped
- 1 stick celery, finely sliced
- 500ml Castle Milk Stout
- 250g Portobello mushrooms, sliced
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- salt and pepper
- 1 roll ready-made puff pastry
- 1 egg, beaten
This makes 4-6 servings and, just a warning in advance, you’ll definitely want seconds. So plan accordingly. Also, the stewing part takes a while, so I’d suggest you either do the filling the night before or save this for a Sunday lunch like I did. Ready? Let’s get started:
- Dice the beef into small bite-sized chunks.
- Chuck ‘em in a bowl, add the flour and toss until all the beef is well coated.
- In the meantime, heat up your oil in a large pan.
- Add the beef (probably in batches, depending on the size of your pan) and brown.
- Remove from heat, and set aside.
- In the same pan you used for the beef – fry the onions, carrots and celery until soft.
- Add your beef, thyme and half the Milk Stout, and cook on a low heat for 3 hours.
- Preheat your oven to 220°C.
- Add the mushrooms and the rest of the Milk Stout (you’ll probably have some left over for yourself- yay!) and simmer for another 15 minutes until your mushrooms are cooked.
- Remove the thyme and season with salt and pepper.
- Ladle the mixture into a big pie dish, or 4-6 smaller ones if you would like.
- Cover with puff pastry, and give the lid/s a good brushing with the beaten egg.
- Bake until the pastry looks all golden and delicious. About 15-20 minutes.
- Et voila! You’ve made pie!
Although time consuming, it’s a pretty straightforward dish that doesn’t involve much interference. Forget about that beach body for the time being, grab some pie and return to your cozy spot on the couch.
Winter’s not so bad now, is it?