This pie is incredibly easy but does involve some cooking and cooling time so plan ahead! Also, if you’re not into meat pies, the filling is amazing served over mashed potatoes for a hearty and delicious dinner.
1kg beef brisket, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (or olive oil)
1 yellow onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 dry bay leaves
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
2 cups stout
2 cups beef stock, divided
1 russet potato, peeled and diced into ½-inch cubes
Freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup water
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water for an egg wash
For the filling, heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. While that preheats, season the beef well with salt and pepper and dust with the flour. Sear the beef in batches until well browned on each side, about 8 minutes total per batch, removing the meat to a dish once seared.
Add the butter or additional 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and turn the heat down to medium. Add in the onion, carrot, and celery, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes or until softened and lightly brown. Add in the garlic and cook for an additional minute or two then stir in the tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, bay leaves, thyme, and seared beef. Carefully stir in the stout followed by the beef stock, turn the heat up to high, and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, cover with a tight-fitting lid and turn the heat down to low and cook for 3 hours or until the beef is tender.
When the beef is cooked, transfer it to a bowl to shred with two forks and set aside. Turn the heat up under the pot to medium-high and allow the cooking liquid to simmer away until it has reduced and thickened to a gravy-like consistency. When thick, return the beef to the liquid, remove it from the heat, and cool completely.
While the beef cools, make the pastry by bringing the butter, water, and salt to a boil over high heat in a small saucepan. Once boiling, remove from the heat and allow it to cool for about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the flour to a large bowl, make a well in the centre, and add in the hot water and butter mixture. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture until it comes together into a rough dough. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead for about 2 to 3 minutes or until smooth. Cover the dough with a piece of plastic wrap and set aside to rest until ready to roll.
When the beef has cooled to room temperature, preheat the oven to 400ºF and stir the potatoes into the mixture and set aside.
Set out six 5-inch individual pie plates or one 9-inch deep dish pie plate, dust a work surface with a little flour, divide the pastry in half and roll one half of the dough to about ¼-inch thick. Line the pie plate(s) with the dough then divide in the filling. Roll out the remaining dough to about ¼-inch thick and top the pie(s), sealing the edges with a fork. Cut a slit or an ‘x’ into the centre of the pie(s) and place onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Brush with egg wash and bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.
Allow the pies to cool slightly before serving with a nice pint of stout!