For the filling:
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups beef stock
4 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1 inch cubes
1-½ pounds white mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1-½ cups Guinness stout, more to taste for thinning if the stew becomes too thick
1 cup flour
freshly ground black pepper
1 pound frozen puff pastry, thawed
- Preheat the oven to 325*.
- Make the filling. Put tomato paste into a large bowl, add stock and stir until paste dissolves. Add beef, mushrooms, onions, garlic, thyme and stout and stir well. Sprinkle flour over beef mixture, season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir well. Transfer to a deep 10-½ x 12-½ inch baking dish set on a large baking sheet. Cover dish with foil. Bake, stirring occasionally (stir at least every half hour during the last hour of baking), until meat is very tender, 3 to 3-1/2 hours.
- Make the pastry crust. Beat egg and 1 teaspoon water together in a small bowl and set aside.
- Increase oven temperature to 400*. Roll puff pastry out on a lightly floured surface to ¼ inch thickness, 2 inches wider than the baking dish. Remove baking dish from oven and uncover. Drape pastry over dish and brush with egg wash. Return baking dish to oven and bake until pastry is puffed and deep golden brown, about 45 minutes. Garnish with spearmint sprigs, if you like.
NOTE: If you prefer to make individual pies, divide the filling among ovenproof bowls and place on a baking sheet. Cut frozen puff pastry squares 2 inches larger than the diameter of the bowls, brush the pastry with the egg mixture and brush the rims of the bowls with water. Place one pastry square on top of each bowl, pressing the edges lightly. Bake in a 400* oven until puffed and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.
adapted from an Irish recipe in a back issue of Saveur Magazine