Guinness Pie
Beef and Mushroom Pie With Guinness. (Courtesy of Interlink Books)

Beef And Mushroom Pie With Guinness

Introduction

Beef shank is a great choice for slow cooking, for although it takes a long time to cook initially, it remains tender and juicy.

Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • 2 lb/900 g beef shank, trimmed and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig
  • 1 fresh parsley or sage sprig
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stick, chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 canned anchovies, drained
  • 2 cups/450 ml Guinness
  • 1⁄2 lb/225 g mushrooms
  • 1⁄2 lb/225 g puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • mashed potatoes or boiled baby potatoes, or crusty bread and salad, to serve

Directions

Toss the beef in the flour and brown in the oil in a large saucepan. Tie the bay leaf, thyme, and parsley to make a bouquet garni. Add the onions to the pan and toss about until they begin to soften, then add the carrot, celery, the bouquet garni, and seasoning. Mash the anchovies and stir them in. Pour the Guinness over the top, stir well, cover, and cook very gently until the meat is almost tender, about 1 1⁄2 hours. (This can be done in the oven, if preferred.) Add the mushrooms and continue cooking for another 25 minutes. Allow the filling to cool.

Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C.

Transfer the contents of the saucepan to a deep pie dish and check the seasoning. On a floured board, roll the pastry out into a large circle about 11⁄2 inches/4 cm larger than the pie dish. Cut off the surplus 1 1⁄2 inches/4 cm of pastry from around the edge of the circle in a long strip, and press this strip onto the dampened edge of the dish. Lay the remaining pastry circle (now the size of your dish) over the pie, pressing it onto the strip to attach it well and crimping the edges decoratively. Make a vent in the center and decorate the pie with leaves or flowers made from the pastry trimmings. Brush with the beaten egg and bake for about 35 minutes until the pastry is risen and golden.

Eat this with creamy mashed potatoes or boiled baby potatoes tossed in butter and parsley, or fresh crusty bread and a green salad.

Venison Pasty
Venison Pasty. (Courtesy of Interlink Books)

Venison Pasties

Introduction

These small pasties are a manageable version of the great decorated venison pies of the past. These were “sideboard” dishes, which allowed the pastry cooks to show off their art. Widely available during the winter months, both farmed and wild, venison is a lean meat and benefits from a pre-cooking marinade, which should be as long as time allows.

Number Serves

6

Ingredients

  • 2 lb/900 g breast of venison, or pieces 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground mace
  • 6–7 juniper berries, slightly crushed
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • 1 celery stick
  • 1⁄4 lb/110 g chopped bacon
  • 2 lb/900 g puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten

Directions

Cut the venison into cubes and put them in an ovenproof dish with the oil, vinegar, crushed garlic, spices, and salt and pepper to taste. Leave overnight, if possible.

Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C. Finely chop the vegetables. Fry the bacon cubes until crisp. Add the bacon and vegetables to the meat and marinade, cover, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the meat is just tender, but check once or twice because venison doesn’t benefit from overcooking. Remove and cool.

Turn the oven up to 350°F/180°C.

Roll out the pastry to make 6 pieces, each about 6 x 8 inches/15 x 20 cm, patching holes together if necessary. Pour out and keep any excess gravy from the meat. Divide the meat among the pastry pieces, putting it in the center and leaving a gap of 2 inches/5 cm on either side and 1 inch/2.5 cm at the top and bottom. Dampen the edges with beaten egg and draw the sides together, pinching well. Pinch together the tops and bottoms securely. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay the pasties on it, seam-side down, and poke a hole in the top of each one. Brush over with beaten egg, and decorate as lavishly as the pastry trimmings will allow.

Bake for about 20–30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. The remaining gravy can be passed around separately, with a dash of lemon juice added. Rowan berry or redcurrant jelly is very good with venison.

From “The Best of Irish Country Cooking” by Nuala Cullen/Interlink Books, an imprint of Interlink Publishing Group, Inc.