There are three European countries where I will never go voluntarily on a summer holiday: Norway, Scotland and Ireland. Why? Because of the rain. For me summer holiday = sun. And the chances of more than 50% rainy days in those countries are very big. Long ago I visited Glasgow and Edinburgh for work: rain and sleet, all day long. And I also went to Oslo, the capital of Norway. Once in September: rain (but I ate delicious smoked salmon!) and once in May. The weather in May was quite allright, but hey, Oslo is in the south of Norway, so the weather must be better than in the rest of the country.
But I’ve never been to Ireland. We flew over it, some years ago on our way to Memphis, USA. After take-off from Amsterdam I started reading and just happened to look out of the window, I saw an incredibly green landscape and high rocks and then the Atlantic Ocean. It was not raining………..
Then why an Irish pie on a travel and food blog? Because it ihas been raining here in Holland, all the time, every day for a week now and we really needed some food to warm us up and to forget about the wet autumn outside, about the leaves which are falling down from the trees in our garden. And then I started thinking about an evening during our last holiday in Bali. Not exactly the kind of atmosphere you associate with autumn, but one of the hotels near Kuta has an Irish pub where they have pub quiz night twice a week. As I’d never been to a pub quiz I asked Maarten if we could go there and he, as he likes foreign beers very much, happily agreed. So on a Thursday night we arrived at Gracie Kelly’s Irish Pub. It was already quite busy but service was swift and friendly and before we knew it, we were sitting with our drinks behind our appetisers. I had breaded deep fried mushrooms with tartar sauce anf for mains a beef and guinness pie, which was very good. This night they had also live music with a great band that added a lot of atmosphere. Then the pub quiz started, with benefits going to a charity on East Bali. And quess what? We won 2nd prize! All in all we had a wonderful night with good hearty food, beer for Maarten and some really cool mojito’s for me, great music and a prize!
So with all this rain here in Holland I thought about that beautiful pie I had in Gracie Kelly’s pub. That was what I wanted to cook for Saturday night and I found a really cool recipe by Jamie Oliver, which I adapted in a some places.
The recipe says to use skirt steak (longhaas or diamanthaas in dutch) but in Holland it is very difficult to find this; you have to order it a few days in advance, so instead of that, the butcher suggested using lean meat from the ribs (riblapjes in dutch). In his recipe Jamie Oliver uses suet (niervet in dutch) for the pie crust, which is another ingredient that is not commonly available in Holland. Instead of that I used vegetable shortening. That is also not very well known in Holland but I had some in my fridge. Instead you can use really cold butter, cut in very small pieces.
It looks like a difficult recipe, but it is not: the cleaning and slicing of the onions and mushrooms and the chopping of the herbs takes up most of the time. The rest is really just throwing ingredients together, simmering and waiting till the meat is tender. In the meantime you can swipe the autumnleaves from the gardenpath or start to knit a sweater or…………..
I served the pie with steamed broccoli, which was a good pairing. We liked the deep taste of the meat and sauce very much, It was hearty but with a sweet undertone from the guinness and was exactly spot on for a rainy and stormy saturday night in November!
Beef and Guinness pie
- Preparation: 30 minutes
- Cooking time: 1,5 hour
- Baking time: 30-40 minutes
- Never clean mushrooms in water, as they will soak up the water. Always clean them with a soft brush or with a paper towel.
- I always slice mushrooms with an eggslicer, a very quick and easy way to do this.
|Unsalted butter||25 grams|
|Olive oil||2 tblsp|
|Red onions||3, peeled and thinly sliced|
|Fresh rosemary||3 sprigs, leaves picked and finley chopped|
|Fresh thyme||3 sprigs,leaves picked|
|Lean beef from the ribs, stewing beef||1 kilo|
|Chestnut mushrooms||500 grams, cleaned with a brush or paper towel, sliced|
|Tomato purée||2 tblsp|
|Sea salt||a pinch|
|Freshly ground black pepper||a pinch|
|Balsamic vinegar||3 tblsp|
|Guinness stout||300 ml|
|Plain flour||5 tblsp|
|Beef stock (I made mine from 1,5 cube)||750 ml, hot|
|Good quality Cheddar||100 grams,sliced|
|Egg||1, beaten with a fork|
|For the pastry|
|Plain flour||300 gram plus some for rolling out the pastry|
|Vegetable shortening||100 grams (or use 100 grams ice cold butter in very small pieces)|
|Unsalted, cold butter||100 grams|
- Place a large casserole pan or dutch oven over a medium heat, add two tablespoons of olive oil and the butter, followed by the onions and the herbs. Cook for around 20 minutes over very low heat until soft and turning golden, stirring occasionally.
- Slice the beef into 2cm strips and add to the pan along with the tomato purée and the salt and pepper. Add the flour and stir till completely incorporated in the meat. Put the vinegar, beer and hot stock together in a bowl or pan and add to the casserole, stir. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to very low, cover with a lid and simmer for 1 hour 30 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and the meat is tender.
- Meanwhile, prepare the pastry. Add the flour, shortening (or ice cold butter), butter and a pinch of salt into a bowl and use your fingertips to rub the fat into the flour until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Work fast as the fat must not get too warm. Stir in 125ml cold water, gently bringing it together– be careful not to work it too much. Wrap the pastry in cling film and place in the fridge for later.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Carefully ladle the stew into a pie dish (roughly 24 x 30cm and 4cm deep), then lay over the slices of cheese.
- Dust a clean work surface and a rolling pin with flour, then roll out the pastry so it’s roughly 1cm thick and a little larger than your pie dish. Brush the edges of the dish with a little beaten egg, then carefully unroll the pastry over the top. Trim any excess pastry and pinch the edges in so it’s nice and tidy (use any excess pastry to make a cute cut-out to place on top, if you like). Brush the top with a little more egg and place in the hot oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the pastry is beautifully golden. *See below if you use puff pastry.
*If the making of the pie crust looks like a daunting task (which it isn’t), you can also use shop bought all butter puff pastry from the freezer. In that case, bake the pie for only 20 minutes instead of 40. I made 2 pies: one with the pastry from the recipe and one with puff pastry and both were good.