Beef and Guinness Pie
Irish stouts creates quite a thick head when poured, so it helps to chill the can or bottle before you measure in order toreduce the foam.
2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 tablespoons water
1 cup beef broth
1 cup Guinness or other Irish stout
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons drained brined green peppercorns, coarsely chopped
2 fresh thyme sprigs
Puff pastry dough
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon water
These little pies go well in those small 4-5 inch wide ramekins, or you can use any other ovenproof dish.
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
Pat the beef dry.
Stir together flour, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish. Add beef, turning to coat, then shake off excess and transfer to a plate.
Heat the oil in a wide 5- to 6-quart ovenproof heavy pot over relatively high heat just until it starts to smoke, then brown the meat in 3 batches, turning it occasionally, about 5 minutes per batch. After browning, transfer the meat to a bowl.
Add onion, garlic, and water to pot and cook, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of pot and stirring frequently, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir beef back in, along with any juices from the bowl, the broth, beer, Worcestershire sauce, peppercorns, and thyme and bring to a simmer, then cover and transfer to oven.
Braise until beef is very tender and sauce is thickened, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Discard thyme and cool stew completely, uncovered, about 30 minutes. (If stew is warm while assembling pies, it will melt uncooked pastry top.)
Put a shallow baking pan on middle rack of oven and increase oven temperature to 425°F.
Divide cooled stew among bowls (they won't be completely full). Roll out pastry dough, trim the edges and cut dough into quarters. Stir together egg and water and brush a 1-inch border of egg wash around each square. Invert 1 square over each bowl and drape, pressing sides lightly to help adhere. Brush pastry tops with some of remaining egg wash and freeze 15 minutes to thoroughly chill dough.
Bake pies in preheated shallow baking pan until pastry is puffed and golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Lower the oven temperature to 400°F and bake 5 minutes more to fully cook dough.