The filling for this pie is cooked long and slow, tenderising the beef and allowing the flavour of the Guinness to permeate it. You could prepare the filling a day in advance. For this pie you can use a traditional shortcrust pastry, but you could use a puff pastry as an alternative.
750g lean braising steak, eg, skirt of beef
4 tbsp plain flour
Freshly ground salt and pepper
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp tomato purée
350g shallots, peeled
Few sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves, peeled
500g shortcrust pastry
1 free-range egg yolk mixed with
1 tbsp water
Dice the beef into 2.5cm cubes. Place the flour in a medium-sized bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Roll the beef in the flour to coat.
Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the beef until golden brown in colour. Add the tomato purée and cook for 1 minute, stirring well. Then pour in the Guinness and add the shallot, thyme, bay leaf and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 1½ hours. Remove the bay leaf and discard.
Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6.
Transfer the meat to a 20cm pie dish 5-7cm deep.
Roll out the pastry and cover the pie. Scrunch the pastry to the edge of the dish and trim around the edge, leaving 1-2cm overhanging. Brush the top with the egg.
Transfer to a baking tray and place in the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes and serve immediately.
Wine of the Week
Fairtrade Fortnight ends this coming Sunday. If you want the biggest selection of Fairtrade wines, then the Co-op has to be your destination. They have by far the biggest range, from Argentina, Chile and above all South Africa. Most of the other supermarkets also are supporting the Fortnight, like the Co-op, with a wide variety of products.
South African Fairtrade is much involved in black economic empowerment, and the Co-op has put back well over half a million pounds since 2005 to the Du Toitskloof wine co-operative helping with childcare, housing, community and educational projects. It is from there, in Western Cape, a region of repute for wine, that my chosen bottle comes.
A skilful blend of Cinsault and Merlot, the nose was a delight: the juiciest of red cherries. They were on the palate too, supported by ripe purple plum notes from the Merlot, held in a smooth, light medium body. Tannins and acidity were very muted, but then came out as a surprisingly complex and warm finish opened up. Alcohol by Vol. is 13%. The Co-op is also offering four single grape bottles: Cabernet Sauvignon; Shiraz; Chardonnay; Sauvignon Blanc, on a reduction during the Fortnight from £4.99 to £3.99 each.