Beef and Guinness Pie

A classic Beef and Guinness Pie with tender chunks of beef and a delicious gravy. Make with traditional puff pastry or a tasty Sour Cream Pastry.

beef and guinness pies on white plate

Beef and Guinness Pie

For many Australians, a meat pie at lunch with a good squirt of tomato sauce (ketchup) is almost a daily ritual. In fact, when I lived in Australia, I often preferred a meat pie to a sandwich, the latter being something which I probably ate everyday at school and which, to this day, still brings me reminders of starched school uniforms and knee-high socks.

I previously shared with you a fabulous recipe for Aussie Meat Pies, a meat pie with a minced beef filling quite similar to those found in local Australian canteens and bakeries.

For something a bit more upmarket, this Beef and Guinness Pie is hard to go past. This recipe comes from Gary Mehigan, one of the judges on MasterChef Australia, and which had me salivating as I watched him make it during one of the MasterClass episodes in the recent season.

You can watch the episode below … fast-forward to about 34 minutes for the segment on Beef and Guinness Pie.

How to Make Aussie Meat Pies

A lot of meat pie recipes call for a beef stew to be made before encasing it in shortcrust and/or puff pastry.

And then there are many variations on how beef stews can be made, some using tomatoes as a base, perhaps red wine for something fancy, or an ale for a rich, dark flavour.

This particular recipe uses stout (Guinness) to produce a lovely, deep gravy, which is further enriched by caramelising some onions to give sweetness and colour to the stew.

The filling can be served as it is with a side of mashed potatoes for a hearty dinner, with any leftovers turned into these lovely meat pies.

In fact, although the recipe states that it yields enough for 6 meat pies, I had enough for 20 pies the size of muffins, plus a family-sized pie which I made in a pie dish and covered with a layer of puff pastry.

One deviation which I made to this Beef and Guinness Pie recipe was to add some sliced mushrooms to the stew in the last 10 minutes or so of cooking. I adore mushrooms in my meat pies, as well a generous grinding of black pepper, and couldn’t resist these additions.

For the meat pies, Gary Mehigan includes a recipe for Sour Cream Pastry which comes via Maggie Beer, a veteran Australian cook based in South Australia. If you have time to make your own pastry, this recipe is worth trying as it produces a very buttery pastry which works quite well with the beef stew. That said, it is a rather fatty pastry so keep that in mind if you are eating the pie with your hands – be sure to have plenty of paper towels on hand. It is a very easy pastry to work with and the recipe yielded, for me, enough for 10 muffin-sized pies.

The simpler route would be to line the muffin tins with shop-bought shortcrust pastry and using shop-bought puff pastry for the lids.

A meat pie should typically be served with a generous dollop of tomato sauce or ketchup (especially if you are eating it sans cutlery), but this Cherry Tomato Relish is also a fabulous accompaniment.

beef and guinness pies in muffin tin

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Beef and Guinness Pie

5 from 1 reviews

A classic Beef and Guinness Pie with tender chunks of beef and a delicious gravy. Make with traditional puff pastry or a tasty Sour Cream Pastry.

  • Author: eatlittlebird.com
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: Makes at least 12 small pies
  • Category: Savoury Pies
  • Cuisine: Australian

Ingredients

For the Filling

  • 125 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
  • 5 brown onions, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 1.5 kg (3.3 lb) chuck steak, cut into 5cm pieces
  • 440 ml can Guinness
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 1 litre (4 cups) beef stock
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 large carrots, cut into large chunks
  • 700 g (24 oz) mushrooms, sliced thickly

For the Sour-Cream Pastry

  • 200 g (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, chopped
  • 250 g (1 ⅔ cup) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 125 ml (½ cup) sour cream

To Assemble the Pies

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Instructions

For the Filling

  1. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan which can hold all of the ingredients later.
  2. Add the onions, garlic and thyme.
  3. Cook over low heat for 30-40 minutes, or until the onions have become soft and translucent.
  4. Increase the heat to medium-high, and continue stirring the onions until they start to  brown and caramelise.
  5. Use a slotted spoon to remove the caramelised onions to a plate.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  7. Add more oil to the pan.
  8. Brown the beef in batches until they are golden on all sides.
  9. Remove the browned beef to a plate and set aside.
  10. Pour half of the Guinness into the saucepan and let it bubble away for 1-2 minutes.
  11. Use a wooden spoon to scrape any bits from the pan.
  12. Sprinkle over the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  13. Add the remaining Guinness, together with the beef stock, bay leaves, carrots, and caramelised onions.
  14. Season with sea salt and pepper.
  15. Cover the saucepan with a tight-fitting lid.
  16. Place the saucepan into the oven and bake for 2 to 2½ hours, or until the beef is tender.
  17. Add the mushrooms, and continue cooking on the stove for about 5-10 minutes until the mushrooms have softened.
  18. Taste again for seasoning.
  19. Use two forks to gently break up the chunks of meat.
  20. Let the saucepan and the filling cool to room temperature before placing in the fridge or proceeding to assemble the pies.

For the Sour-Cream Pastry

  1. Place the butter and flour into the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Using the flat-paddle attachment, beat until the mixture resembles wet sand.
  3. Add the sour cream.
  4. Beat until the mixture comes together into a ball of dough.
  5. Wrap the dough in clingfilm.
  6. Chill the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

To Assemble the Pies

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F).
  2. Roll out the dough until it is about 5mm thick.
  3. Cut out pieces of the dough which are big enough to line the bottom and sides of your pie tins.
  4. Fill the pastry shells with some of the meat pie filling.
  5. Make the egg wash by beating the egg and milk together in a small bowl.
  6. Cut out pieces of the dough which are big enough to form the lid of your pies.
  7. Lightly brush the rim of the pastry with some egg wash.
  8. Place the lids on top of each pie.
  9. Use your fingertips to seal the edges of the pie together.
  10. Brush the tops of the pies with some egg wash.
  11. Use a knife or scissors to cut a vent in each pie.
  12. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden.

Kitchen Notes

If your filling is a bit too thin or runny, you can thicken the sauce with some cornflour. Simply dissolve 1-2 tablespoons of cornflour in some water, and stir this into the mixture until it has thickened to your liking. You may not need all of the cornflour mixture.

Ideas for Leftovers
This recipe produces more filling than you will need to make the pies. The filling is essentially a beef stew which is delicious eaten as it is with some mashed potatoes or roast potatoes. I also like to use the leftover filling to make a large pie in an oven-proof dish with just a pastry lid.

Variations
Instead of the Sour-Cream Pastry, you can also use shortcrust pastry for the bottom of the pies, and puff pastry for the lids.

Freezing Tips
To freeze the pies, ready for a quick snack or lunch at a later time, make the pies as per the recipe. Once you have covered each pie with some pastry, pop the whole muffin tin into the freezer. When the pies are frozen, remove them from the tin and place them in a zip-lock freezer bag.
You can bake the pies when they are frozen (no need to defrost), brushing them with some egg-wash before popping them into the oven. They will need an extra 5 to 10 minutes of baking time.

OVEN TEMPERATURES
All recipes on this website state temperatures for a regular oven (i.e. a conventional oven without fan). If you have a convection oven with a fan, please consult the manufacturer’s handbook on how to adjust the temperature and baking time accordingly.

CONVERSIONS
To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.

Did you make this recipe?

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38 comments

  1. narf7 11 September 2012

    And NOW we are talking! Steve (long suffering carnivore husband to vegan wife narf7) finally gets something in my rss feed reader to feed his meat loving U.K. soul! Aussies unite! We too can feed our U.K. imported husbands with good Aussie recipes that meld the finest stout with our good Aussie beef…cheers for this recipe from the bottom of my expat husbands heart 🙂

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 12 September 2012

      LOL!! You are more than welcome 🙂 Had I known, I would have shared this recipe much sooner! I frequently make beef and Guinness pies in winter, using a recipe which is quite similar to this one, though without the caramelised onions. I hope your husband will enjoy this recipe!

      Reply
  2. Eileen 12 September 2012

    Tiny pies! I could definitely see making up a batch of these, freezing them, and popping them in the oven for random lunches.

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 12 September 2012

      Freezing them is definitely a great idea! I make the pies and then put the whole muffin tin into the freezer, and when the pies themselves are frozen, I transfer them to a zip-lock freezer bag. I later bake them from frozen, brushing them with egg-wash before popping them into the oven, giving them perhaps an extra 5 minutes of baking time. They make for great snacks this way!

      Reply
      • Great Idea, that’s exactly what I am thinking of doing with them… Getting ready to go back to work after holidays and it’s always good to have something in the freezer to fall back on.

        Reply
        • eat, little bird 7 January 2014

          Absolutely! I don’t tend to freeze a lot of food, but I find that pies happen to be great for freezing as they still taste great once reheated, plus you can bake them from frozen. These pies are particularly worth freezing 🙂

          Reply
  3. Maggie Jaye 12 September 2012

    Ohhh I long for home sweet home Aussi Pies! Canada just doesn’t cut it, but now I can make my own!! 😀

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 12 September 2012

      Can you find meat pies in Canada? You would at least be one up on Switzerland! Whenever a craving ensues, I have to make a whole batch but it’s worthwhile because you know what’s going into your pies. Although I like my homemade version, sometimes I get a craving for those Four ‘n Twenty Pies …

      Reply
  4. Caroline 12 September 2012

    oh yum, these pies look really delicious! I have never made pies somehow but this post makes me want to try!
    Question for you..I bought a kaffir lime tree from the same nursery you went to and it is doing really great on my balcony right now. But now the temperatures are getting much cooler..do you think it’s better to bring it inside already? I am really worried about not taking good care of it because I love this little plant so much..it is pretty AND delicious! 🙂

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 12 September 2012

      Making meat pies might be a bit fiddly and can take a bit of time (the stew takes a few hours to cook), but the whole process is quite simple so I hope you will give them a try soon.

      As for the kaffir lime tree, I think you should be ok to leave it outside for this week. The temperatures look to be warming up during the day later in the week (about 20°C) and then dropping to about 8°C overnight. I think most books recommend that you bring citrus trees indoors when the temperatures drop below 8°C or 10°C. But if you notice that the leaves are starting to drop or curl, you should start to bring them inside right away. I think once the day temperatures start to drop significantly and the night temperatures fall below 8°C, I will bring my kaffir lime indoors.

      As to where to keep them indoors, most apartments would generally be too warm for them if the central heating or heaters are on. My neighbours keep their citrus plants in the stairwell next to the window during the winter months – the temperature in the stairwell is usually much cooler than in the apartments, and the plants should receive sufficient light from the windows. I plan to do the same – hopefully there will be room for my plants!

      I was thinking of doing a new gardening post soon about overwintering (caring for plants over winter). I will try to do that soon 🙂

      Reply
      • Caroline 12 September 2012

        Thanks a lot for the advice! I will leave it outdoors for now and bring it in when the night temperature starts dropping. Unfortunately I can’t keep mine in the stairwell but hopefully it will survive indoors since our apartment never gets that warm in the winter (about 20°C)..I hope so at least!
        An overwintering post would be great and super useful..I am impatient to read it!

        Reply
  5. manu 12 September 2012

    They’re so cute!!
    Have a nice day

    Reply
  6. Mathilda 12 September 2012

    Interesting, I never made or taste pies like those. I will remember them for a chilly evening this winter !

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 12 September 2012

      These meat pies are very Australian 🙂 I think the British also like a good pie but theirs are usually not fully encased in pastry; British pies are generally comprised of a meat stew in a pie or casserole dish, topped with a layer of pastry and baked until the pastry is golden. Either way, pies are the perfect winter food!

      Reply
  7. Sam-I-am 12 September 2012

    Tahn, you even manage to make meet pies look chic!

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 12 September 2012

      LOL!! Thanks, Sam 🙂 I didn’t look very chic eating them, though 😉

      Reply
  8. Paula 12 September 2012

    I love meat pie, but I only have prepared it once, and it was with Guinness, as these. I followed a Jamie Oliver recipe 😉 I also made it small, with mini-cocotte, but you can be sure, mine weren’t soooo nice as yours! 😛

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 15 September 2012

      I love Jamie Oliver! So I’m sure he must have had a really good recipe. And I’m also sure that your mini pies also looked really lovely 🙂

      Reply
  9. anita menon 13 September 2012

    gorgeous and petite looking pies. I can easily imagine a vegetarian rendition for the same.

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 15 September 2012

      Oh absolutely! When my parents ran a bakery when I was younger, they sold a vegetarian pie which was essentially a mix of vegetables in a thickened, flavoursome broth. There are lots of variations of pies out there, including vegetarian pies.

      Reply
  10. At Anna's kitchen table 15 September 2012

    I love pies, all kinds. Oh and pastry….what can I say, mmmmmm, sour cream pastry sounds extra mmmmmm. I’m not going to say that I’ll try them (though I wish I could) I wouldn’t be trusted round them!

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 16 September 2012

      I think a jog around the block a few times is necessary after eating a few of these pies in one sitting 😉 But the sour cream pastry is really quick and easy to make, and a dream to roll out. I might need to play with the recipe and see if I could reduce the butter content though …

      Reply
  11. Julia 16 September 2012

    What a great idea to use a muffin pan for the meat pies!

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 16 September 2012

      These meat pies are almost the size of party pies which they sell in Australia. Otherwise, you could use standard pie tins, but muffin pans are much easier.

      Reply
  12. my honest answer 17 September 2012

    These look great! My husband has a meat pie at work most days, I would love to be able to send him with one I’d made for the money saving and the health benefits of knowing exactly what was in it. Could you cook these, then freeze them, then eat them cold? I’m wondering if I could bake up a batch, and send one with him each morning. Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 17 September 2012

      I agree that one of the main advantages of making your own meat pies is knowing exactly what goes into them, and I guess the same can be said for everything else homemade, too. You could certainly make and bake these meat pies in advance and freeze them, but I’m not sure about eating them cold. I think meat pies definitely taste better warm or hot. If your husband has access to a microwave at work, he could heat these up really quickly.

      Reply
  13. Rushi 24 September 2012

    I must make these soon, my hubby would start worshipping me if I do 🙂

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 28 September 2012

      If your husband is a meat pie kind of guy, definitely make these soon! 🙂

      Reply
  14. Hi there,

    I am thinking of making these as a healthier alternative to bought nibble pies. Given there’s already a litre of beef stock in them, what do you think I could substitute for the Guinness? More stock or just water.

    Thanks in advance. Kate

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 7 January 2014

      I would simply substitute the Guinness for more stock. You won’t get that lovely flavour from the Guinness but making this stew with just beef stock would still taste really lovely.

      Reply
  15. Julia 12 April 2018

    Ohhh I can’t WAIT to try this! This looks sooooo good! Thank you for this great recipe!

    Reply