Beef and Guinness Pies

, from Issue #55. August, 2015
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Beef and Guinness Pies

These pies bring together two of Ireland’s most famous products. The long, slow cooking makes for tender beef enrobed in a thick, luscious sauce then crowned with a golden potato topping.

Serves: 4-6


1½ kilograms stewing beef, diced 3cm pieces – use chuck, boneless shin, gravy beef or beef cheeks
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, sliced thickly
1 carrot, diced
1 stick celery, sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped roughly
100 grams bacon, chopped roughly
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary or thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons English mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 small beetroot, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons plain flour
400ml Guinness
½ cup good beef stock
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Potato and mustard mash
1½ kilograms Agria potatoes, peeled and chopped roughly
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¾ cup cream or milk
good knob of butter
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

To finish
extra butter
freshly ground pepper
sprigs of fresh thyme (optional)


Preheat the oven to 150°C.

Heat the oil in a large ovenproof casserole or saucepan. Add the onions, carrot, celery, garlic, bacon, rosemary and bay leaves. Season generously, cover and cook over a medium low heat for
15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft.

Stir in the mustard, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and beetroot and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add the Guinness and stock and bring to the boil. Add the meat to the pan, combine well and season. The stew will look reddish from the beetroot but will darken during cooking.

Place a piece of baking paper over the meat then cover with a tight fitting lid or foil. Braise for 1½ hours then uncover and stir. Cover again and braise for a further 1–1 ½ hours or until the meat is very tender. If the juices are too thin, mix 2–3 teaspoons of cornflour with a tablespoon of water until smooth. Stir into the hot meat then cook for a further 10 minutes.

Potato mash: Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until very tender. Drain and tip back into the saucepan. Place over a low heat to drive off excess moisture. Mash until smooth then beat in all the remaining ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

To assemble: Transfer the meat to either one large ovenproof baking dish that is suitable for serving from, or 4–6 individual ovenproof dishes. Top with spoonfuls of the mashed potato and dot over a little extra butter and a grind of pepper. Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden and bubbling. If decorating with fresh sprigs of thyme, add them for the last 10 minutes of cooking. 

Cook’s tip: The stew can be cooled then refrigerated for 2–3 days at this point. Bring back to room temperature then cover and reheat either in the oven or on the stove top until hot.