Sunday, March 15, 2015

Guinness Beef & Cheddar Hand Pies

Confession: I know next to nothing about Irish food.  From my googles I can tell that there are a lot of potatoes and beef involved, which I can certainly get on board with.

This year, my office is hosting our second annual St. Patrick's Day pot-luck.  As a food blogger, you can imagine that there is quite a bit of pressure on me.  Last year I brought Iced Irish Coffee, which was super simple. This year, I thought seriously about bringing Hash Brown Casserole (I mean, there are potatoes?), but fortunately over the weekend the right recipe came to me: Guinness Beef and Cheddar Pies.

If there's one thing I do know, it's that braised beef is the bomb.  Stout braised beef in a pocket of buttery pastry, bursting at the seems with ooey-gooey cheddar cheese?  It's so right it's wrong. 

Mike and I enjoyed these for dinner with a simple salad, and i'll be making a mini version for work on the big day.  

Ingredients (Makes 8 hand pies):
*1 (2.4 lb.) rump roast
*1 onion, chopped
*2 garlic cloves, minced
*1-2 tbsp. olive oil
*1 tbsp. butter
*2 tbsp. flour
*1 (11.2 oz.) bottle Guinness Draught
*1 (14.5 oz) can beef stock
*2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
*2 tbsp. spicy brown mustard
*4 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
*1 egg
*salt, pepper

Preheat the oven to 350. Heat a large dutch oven over medium high.  Slice the beef into five equal portions (this will help it cook faster).  Add 1 tbsp. olive oil and butter to the pan and seer the beef in a single layer (work in batches if necessary).  When the beef is nicely browned, set aside on a plate.  

If the pan is dry, add the second tablespoon of olive oil.  Reduce heat to medium low, add onions and sauté for 3-4 minutes, or until lightly browned and soft. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or so until fragrant.  Stir in the flour and cook, stirring continuously, for 2 minutes.  

Add in the Guinness and beef broth and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.  Season lightly with salt (keep in mind the beef broth and cheddar cheese have salt) and pepper. Cover the beef with a tight fitting lid and transfer to the oven.  Cook until fork tender, 2-2.5 hours. 

When the beef is done, increase the oven temperature to 400.  Use two forks to shred the beef in the pan. 

Before assembling the pies, place mustard in a small bowl and have a brush ready.  Beat the egg in a separate bowl with 1 tbsp. water.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Flour your works surface and a rolling pin generously.  Roll out puff pastry to a 11X11 square , and cut into 4 equal squares.  Brush the edges of each square with mustard.  Use a slotted spoon to remove meat from the pan and drain off as much liquid as possible. Add 2-3 tbsp. of beef onto one side of each square, and top the beef with a thin slice of cheddar.  Gently fold over the pastry* and use a fork to crimp the edges together.  Transfer to the parchment lined cookie sheet. Brush with egg wash, then transfer to the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden.  Let cool 5 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

*If your squares turn out uneven, don't worry!  Just fold over any excess dough before crimping the edges. 

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