I always find making something like this the day before you want to eat it is best, as the flavours develop and mature with overnight keeping.
Guinness is a very assertive flavour, but the mushroom ketchup, tomato puree and Worcestershire sauce served to soften it a little. By all means replace the Guinness with an ale if you prefer, or even leave it out all together and use all beef stock.
1 clove garlic
1 or 2 anchovies
3 rashers of bacon
500g diced casserole steak
6 or 8 big mushrooms
440ml can of Guinness
2 bay leaves
¼ pint beef stock
Peel and dice the onion and carrot quite small, wash and dice the stick of celery and sautee in a little olive oil (or anchovy oil) for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a further 5 minutes, then add the anchovies and push around the pan until they melt. Remove to a dish.
Add the chopped rashers of bacon and brown in a little olive oil. Remove to the same dish as the vegetables.
Add a little more olive oil and brown the diced beef in batches, removing them to the dish of vegetables as they brown.
Return everything to the same pan and add the tablespoon of flour, stirring it around well. Add the can of Guinness and stir well, scraping up anything sticking to the bottom of your pan. Add the mushroom ketchup and Worcestershire sauce – as much as will fill the bowl of your wooden spoon, and a squeeze of tomato puree and stir in. Then season and add the herbs.
Bring it up to simmering point and then pop into the oven to cook at 150oC for 3 hours. After this time the liquid will pretty much have cooked away to leave a lovely rich gravy.
After an hour, add the cleaned and quartered mushrooms and stir in.
The pie I made is just a lidded pie, it has no pastry base. To make it up, roll out a piece of flaky pastry about 2 or 3” larger than your pie dish. Cut the extra pastry and use to line the edges of your pie tin. Brush with beaten egg then add the pie filling. Lay the lid over the dish and trim to fit. Brush with beaten egg and cook at 180oC for 30 minutes from cold.
To make the Stilton pie, I added 2 teaspoons of Stilton cheese and dotted them around the pie filling. For the pastry lid, roll out the pastry to a rectangle, season with black pepper and add some crumbled Stilton cheese to two thirds of the pastry. Fold the bottom third over the middle third, and then fold that over the top third. Re-roll the pastry and use it to top the pie as described above. The cheese in the pastry gives a double-whammy of Stilton deliciousness, but you can leave it out if you aren’t as fixated as I am!
Happy New Year to you all!