This beef pie recipe is my take on a popular pub pie in London, simmered in Guinness, topped with a mustard pastry and served with a raw oyster.
What Is A Beef Pie?
Nearly every country makes some type of beef pie. Here in America we make a pot pie, with a variety of meats inside.
An empanada is a delicious example of a beef pie, also made with pork and chicken.
But the pub pies of the United Kingdom are not to be beat. Chunks of beef, often the cheaper cuts, simmered low and slow until totally tender, in a broth of many flavors. The longer it simmers the thicker the gravy will be once encased in a scrumptious pastry.
London Beef Pie
Often times I find myself cooking with wine in my recipes, but as of late, I find that beef pairs well with beer, when simmered slow.
Guinness happens to be the beer this beef pie is traditionally cooked with. It is low in alcohol, deeper in flavor which adds to the overall flavor of the broth. Guinness simmers beautifully into a slow cooked beef stew, which is ultimately what a beef pie is, before it becomes a savory pie.
Most often the beef dish tourist will try when in England is Shepherd’s Pie. A Shepherd’s pie, made with lamb, is not to be confused with a Cottage Pie, which is made with beef.
This same recipe could easily be made into a Cottage Pie by covering the top with mashed potatoes instead of a pastry.
Pies, for many, are first thought to be for dessert, a savory dish wrapped in a pastry is so much more inviting than the stew it might otherwise be.
When my children were growing up, four of them, as a single mom with a full time business, I was always looking for ways to make meal time fast and feel unique.
Leftovers make for the most unique savory pies. A beef stew from a previous meal, portioned into individual baking dishes, covered with a pie crust or puff pastry and you have a totally unique, repurposed scrumptious meal.
Pork, being a lesser expensive meat, often found its way into my cooking for a large family. My kids loved, what I now call A Man’s Pork Pot Pie.
Leftover chili, seafood chowder or anything that can be covered by a pie pastry, baked and served as though it was your intention all along!
Beef Pie Pastry
Beef, in my opinion, doesn’t have a huge amount of flavor on its own. I know, you must be shaking your finger at me on that statement.
I grew up on lamb which is loaded with flavor, even if it’s not your preference, you have to admit it’s got flavor. I feel the same about chicken or turkey breast. I think they need help.
A homemade pastry to place on top, is always the best, since it provides an opportunity to put flavor into the pastry; herbs, garlic, cheese or mustard. Yes, mustard!
Mustard is loaded with flavor and certainly enhances the flavor of beef. Why do you think Gordon Ramsay always brushes his tenderloin beef with mustard before he wraps even an expensive cut of beef into a pastry!
If you are using a store bought pie crust or puff pastry for your beef pie, mix a little mustard with an egg yolk and brush it across the top of the pastry before baking it. It will make the crust both golden in color and more flavorful.
Cuts Of Beef For A Stew
Since a beef stew is what gets made first before making a beef pie, you may already know an inexpensive cut of beef will become tender when simmer low and slow in liquid. Adding Guinness ale to the liquid adds not only a rich flavor but also helps to break down any tough cartilage in the beef.
A tenderloin of beef might not be the most frugal cut for this recipe, opting instead for a less expensive cut. Occasionally my son, a professional chef, hooks his mama up with an entire tenderloin. When I am lucky enough to have one, I cut off the scraps and odd pieces when I trim the tenderloin. I use those for a delicious beef pie.
Oysters With Beef?
Talk about a surf and turf! I first had a beef pie made with Guinness and served with a raw oyster, while visiting England.
It was so darn decadent and delicious that I had to try to replicate what I ate. This recipe is as close to what that pie tasted like to me.
When the pie is served piping hot, the raw oyster gets slid into the pie crust and slightly steamed inside the beef pie. Talk about presentation!
THE CAMERA EATS FIRST! A trailer pitch I produced showcasing this fabulous Beef Pie and a trip to each place where the ingredients came from: Farm and Sea to Table!
- Herb bundle – rosemary, oregano, thyme
- Cutting board
- Chopping knife
- Vegetable peeler
- Measuring cup
- Measuring spoons
- Saute pan
- Cooking spoon
- Baking dishes
- Stovetop or burner
London Beef Pie RecipeCourse: MeatCuisine: British
A British Beef Pot Pie in crust with an oyster or two slipped in at table.
Beef – 1 lb. cut into bite size cubes
Onion – 1 medium, chopped into small pieces
Butter – 4 tablespoons
Garlic – 1 clove, crushed
Herb bundle – rosemary, oregano, thyme (tied)
Salt and pepper – to taste ( pinch of cayenne)
Carrots – 2 cups, chopped
Peas – 1 cup
Potatoes – 2 cups, chopped bite size
Guinness – 1 bottle
Roux – 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons flour
Crust – 1 package puff pastry, thawed or enough homemade pie crust to cover the top of 1 large or 4 individual baking dishes
Egg wash – 1 egg yolk and 1 tablespoon mustard, mixed to brush across pastry
Oysters – per person (optional)
- Caramelize the onions in butter with the herb bundle until golden brown. Add garlic and beef cubes that have been seasoned with salt and pepper. Brown on all sides.
- Move the meat to the edges of the pan, add roux ingredients – 2 tablespoons butter/2 tablespoons flour, stir until flour and melted butter are blended. Mix the meat and onions together with the roux, stirring to coat the meat. Slowly pour in the Guinness and stir.
- Add carrots and potatoes. Cover and allow the carrots and potatoes to soften and the sauce to thicken. Add peas, stir, turn off the burner and remove the herb bundle.
- Pastry Instructions
- On a floured surface, roll out the puff pastry. Cut the pastry to fit the top of the individual baking dishes. Gather scraps of the pastry to use as trim.
- Fill the baking bowls with the beef mixture. Place pastry on top. Use the strips around the edges to create an attractive edge. Brush the egg-wash across the pastry and the edges.
- Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until the crust is golden.
- Oysters add not only a lovely presentation but the surf and turf flavors are completed with the addition of the oysters. Serve the raw oysters in a shell or attractive decorative plate alongside the piping hot beef pie.
- Stick a knife into the pastry and slide the raw oyster into the beef pie. Allow it to sit for a few minutes. The oysters will steam, ever so slightly and maintain their delicious briny flavor.