Steak & Guinness pie










I am going to tell you a (food) love story. The protagonists are textbook romantic drama types: the beautiful heroine (me, of course) and the misunderstood, ill-reputed and much maligned British cuisine with its hidden charm & a pedigree of manifold honourable ancestors (all to be revealed in the course of the dramatic events). They have a first encounter where sparks fly: ours happened in children’s books and English literature and who could not fall in love with the descriptions of picture perfect countryside picnics, mad tea-parties or feasts in Sherwood Forest? Then, crisis! Reality came down as a hammer, literally shattering those idyllic images with really ghastly fish & chips, horrendous breakfasts, weak tea & cardboard sandwiches on my first trip to England (late 80’s) where the food lived up to the bad rep it had abroad.

Fast forward to years later (you are visualizing the movie, aren’t you?): I am married to a wonderful British husband, visiting England regularly and indulging in my love for most things British (& rhapsodizing about here), which has certainly taught me a thing or two about English food – first of all: it can be amazing. And surprising, fresh, light & startling beautiful (I only wish my husband would be a seafood fanatic as I am). There are great historic recipes (lemon posset), fantastic condiments, traditional foods, Country house cooking (kedgeree, game pie), Cream teas, iconic preserves (marmelade, chutney) & puddings, great breakfast dishes, sandwiches and sponges, really good fish & chips and and and.

It also has a great amount of comfort foods with fantastic & unexpected deep, intense flavours that belie every clichéd opinion out there. One stellar example is certainly Steak & Guinness pie. This wonderful rich meaty pie with its dark sauce and pleasant bitter notes is the savoury equivalent of sticky toffee pudding and they share the deep ebony-brown colour, concentrated flavour that borders on pure treacle (molasses). Encased by buttery puff pastry (a delicious deviation from the original hot-water crust pastry here), where a slightly soggy bottom can be heavenly and serving it with a heaping mount of vivid green peas is non-negotiable.


Steak & Guinness pie

Make ahead & freeze: While it may seem a lot of work at first glace, it really isn’t. You brown, you chop, you cook, you add Guinness and then you leave it on its own. The filling can be prepared one day and the pie made another. It even can be cooked days, weeks, months in advance (when you have a little time to chop and a lot of time do other things while it cooks) since the filling freezes excellently and therefore this pie pushes itself onto a high ranking place in the “Easy to prepare” and “Weeknight supper” categories: Place the stew in fridge to defrost in the morning before you leave, in the evening pour the thawed stew into its puff pastry case and bake. Don’t forget the hard work of cooking some frozen peas.

Even if there are just one, two, three of you, it is best to make the whole amount of filling, divide into applicable portions and there is a comforting pie up your sleeve when urgently needed (or persuaded).



Steak & Guinness pie

Steak & Guinness Pie

Serves 6. Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s pie in Jamie at Home


Olive oil
1kg / 2 lbs 3 oz stewing steak, cut into cubes (2cm / ¾ inch)
3 red onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 carrots, chopped
2-3 sticks of celery, chopped
a generous knob of butter
1-2 sprigs of rosemary
400g / 14 oz brown / cremini mushrooms, quartered
salt & black pepper
2 heaped tablespoons flour
2 bottles Guinness (660ml / 22 fl.oz.)
200g / 7 oz cheddar, grated
500g / 1lb 2oz / 2 packages puff pastry
butter for the dish
1 egg, beaten with a little water or milk


[Preheat oven, 190°C / 375° F.]

Dry the meat thoroughly with kitchen paper. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or other ovenproof casserole pan with a lid over medium-hot heat and in small portions brown the stewing steak on all sides, seasoning each time you fry a new batch. Take them out of the pot and set the aside.

In the same pan, heat a little more oil and sweat the onions until soft and fragrant. Add garlic, carrots, celery, season with salt & pepper and cook for a few minutes before following with butter, rosemary & mushrooms.

Stir in the flour, return the steak and all its juices to the pan, season again and pour the Guinness over it. Top up with water until everything is covered. Bring to a simmer, close the pan with its lid and either leave the mixture on a slow simmer for 2-2½ hours on the hob (which I do if I cook it in two stages: precook the filling and finish the pie later) or in a preheated oven (190°C / 375°F).

Check about half way through, give it a stir and top up with a little water only if by any chance the stew has run dry – the filling should be a proper rich, dark & thick-ish stew not a soupy thing. Leave to cool a little or cool completely, mix with the grated cheddar and keep in the fridge until use.

Finish the pie: Preheat the oven to 190°C / 375°F if you haven’t done so yet.
Butter a large ovenproof dish, line it with one sheet of puff pastry and leave some overhang. Decant the filling into the lined dish, cover with the second pastry sheet and seal the edges (roll and crimp with a fork). Brush the top with the egg wash and bake on the bottom (or the bottom rack) of the oven for 45-50 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.


Small or individual Steak & Guinness pies: If you are making a smaller Steak & Guinness pie or individual portions, adjust the amount of puff pastry and cooking times.

Precooking & Freezing: The filling freezes really well and could be made in advance. I have even made individual pies (with only a pastry top) and froze them to be slowly baked until done.



Deutsches Rezept:

Steak & Guinness pie

Steak & Guinnesspastete (Steak & Guinness Pie)

6 Portionen. Adaptiert nach Jamie Olivers pie in Jamie at Home


1kg Rindergulasch (2cm große Würfel)
3 rote Zwiebeln, grob gehackt
3 Knoblauchzehen, gehackt
3 Karotten, in mittelgroße Würfel geschnitten (nicht zu klein, nicht zu groß)
2-3 Bleichsellerie, geschnitten
ein großzügiges Stück Butter
1-2 Rosmarinzweige
400g braune Champignons, geviertelt
Salz & schwarzer Pfeffer
2 gehäufte EL Mehl
2 Flaschen Guinness (660ml)
200g Englischer Cheddar (gelb, nicht orange), gerieben
2 Päckchen Blätterteig (ca. 500g)
Butter zum Einfetten der Form
1 Ei, mit ein wenig Wasser oder Milch verquirlt


[Backofen vorheizen, 190°C.]

Die Fleischstücke gründlich mit Papiertüchern trockentupfen. Etwas Olivenöl in einer großen ofenfesten Kasserolle (mit Deckel) erhitzen und den Gulasch mit Salz und Pfeffer würzen und in kleinen Portionen auf allen Seiten anbraten, dann aus dem Topf nehmen und zur Seite stellen.

Die Zwiebeln im gleichen Topf (gegebenenfalls etwas mehr Öl in den Topf geben) anschwitzen, dann Knoblauch, Möhren, Sellerie hinzugeben, mit Salz & Pfeffer würzen und ein paar Minuten kochen bevor man Butter, Rosmarin und Pilze hinzufügt.

Mehl unterrühren, Gulasch und ausgetretenen Fleischsaft in die Kasserolle geben, wieder würzen. Das Guinness hinzugießen und mit Wasser auffüllen bis alles bedeckt ist. Das Stew zum Köcheln bringen, den Deckel auflegen und für 2-2½ Stunden leise köcheln lassen

Das geht entweder im vorgeizten Backofen (190°C) oder auf dem Herd (was ich mache, wenn ich die Füllung im Voraus zubereite und den Steak & Guinnes Pie erst später oder am nächsten Tag backen will). Nach der Hälfte der Zeit einmal umrühren und nur in dem Fall, dass keine Flüssigkeit mehr vorhanden sein sollte, etwas Wasser hinzugeben. Das Ziel ist aber ein konzentriertes, dunkles dem Gulasch verwandtes Stew zu erhalten und keine Suppe. Etwas abkühlen lassen oder, wenn der Pie erst später gemacht werden soll, komplett abkühlen lassen, den geriebenen Cheddar untermischen und im Kühlschrank aufbewahren.

Pie backen: Backofen auf 190°C vorheizen (wenn der Ofen noch nicht gebraucht wurde).
Eine große ofenfeste Form buttern und mit einer Lage Blätterteig auskleiden, dabei etwas Teig über den Rand stehen lassen. Die Füllung in die Form geben, mit der zweiten Blätterteigplatte dedecken, die Ecken einrollen und gut zusammendrücken (sehr effektiv & dekorativ mit den Zinken einer Gabel). Den Teig mit dem verquirlten Ei bestreichen und für 45-50 Minuten auf dem Boden des Backofens (oder der untersten Schiene) backen bis der Teig goldbraun aufgegangen ist.


Kleinere oder individuelle Steak & Guinness Pies: Will man nur einen halben Steak & Guinness Pie oder kleine, individuelle Portionen backen, dann einfach nur die Menge an Blätterteig und Backzeiten anpassen.

Vorkochen & Einfrieren: Die Füllung lässt sich wunderbar vorbereiten und einfrieren. Ich habe auch schon kleine Pies (nur mit einer Blätterteighaube) eingefroren und dann langsam gebacken bis sie aufgetaut, heiß und goldbraun waren. Hat prima geklappt.






10 thoughts on “Steak & Guinness pie

    • Definitely, I would not want to live in a world without it. I love the contrast between the rich, but slightly bitter stew (reduce the Guinness to one bottle or can if you are wary of it) and the buttery puff pastry – I forgot to stress that it should be an all-butter puff pastry. Let me know how yours turned out, N xx

  1. Having just returned form a shopping trip in town, my hair full of hail (I was totally unprepared, as usual) I am greeted with your new post: the perfect antidote to rubbish weather!
    I have ordered extra logs for the fire and will now spend my weekend making and then munching my way through this wonderfully comforting dish. A cashmere blanket for the soul!
    And yes, the English eateries are getting better and better. Even the French seem to think so. Hooray!
    Thank you for the lovely recipe, just what the doctor ordered, Jxxx

    • Jeanette, my pleasure! It comes with the father-in-law seal of approval (a proper Cornish man). Did you read about the lobster? Gosh, I need a bigger pot and better nerves. Have a cozy evening in front of that lovely fire. n xxx

      • Oh – the lobster! I feel your pain. I am told that the best way is to whack a 21″ knife tip just behind its eyes but I am too weak and sensitive to do such a thing…Hope it all went well, you are in my thoughts and sorry for the lobster suggestion, hope it will sort itself out. (Confession: my local restaurant usually cooks mine as I “don’t really have a pot big enough”.)
        J xxx

      • No need to be sorry, none at all. I loooove lobster, only this time I bought quite a large one and was a little afraid when the ‘moment’ arrived… No chance in using the knife method, I know it is the quickest and most humane, I just can’t, my upper lip is wobbling just thinking about it (my last information is that it is not allowed in Germany anyway, says one cookbook, strange though) – I wear thick leather gloves, get the longest bbq tongs and a stiff drink. Nearly had the pot problem (out-sourcing, what a great idea). N xx

  2. What a delicious looking pie! I was so annoyed, when we were in England a year or so ago, all the people who would say “Oh, isn’t the food awful?” Good lord! No! It was almost always wonderful. I don’t know why people cling to old stereotypes, long after they’ve had any relevance.

    • Absolutely true, Michelle and thank you. I agree, it’s always good to look past the ‘comfortable’ stereotypes and find out for yourself, discover new things and reexamine former impressions. Especially, in the case of food, this can be such a great pleasure (most of the time, I might add). N xx

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