Steak and Guinness Pie

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about locally grown food lately — not unusual for me by any means,  but my thoughts have just been more intensely focused.  So it shouldn’t be unusual for an article like “Butchers’ Banquet:  England’s Lincolnshire Wolds” published in the October 2011 issue of Saveur to have an impact on me.  I’m always looking for truly good recipes for traditional food, and even though I’m not British, I have solid connections.   In 1881 at the age of three, my great-grandfather sailed with his family from Newport, Wales to San Francisco hoping to find inexpensive land where his family might grow apples.  But that’s a story for another day.

This is more about the group of men mentioned in the article who have gotten together over years and years to enjoy a Sunday meal each week.  They know where the food has been grown, how it’s been grown, and have prepared it to showcase its quality.  Of course, it helps that they’re in the business.  I’d like to be invited to a table like that to hear the talk and understand more about what they know.  I’ll work on that from here in San Diego and maybe, just maybe, by the end of this year, I’ll know more about the more than 6,000 farms in our county and the farmers who tend them.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share these great Steak & Guinness pies with you.  My father-in-law loves Stilton and will jump at any excuse to tuck his napkin into his shirt and cozy up to a plate of hot food like this with a pint.  The recipe isn’t challenging, but does take some time, so plan ahead.  It’s worth it.

Steak & Guinness Pie Recipe

Filling Ingredients

¼ c. olive oil
1-1/4 lb. beef chuck, cut into 1″ cubes
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 large yellow onions, sliced
2 ribs celery, thickly sliced
2 small carrots, thickly sliced
2 T fresh rosemary, chopped
1 12-oz. bottle Guinness
1/4  cup flour
2 c. vegetable stock
2 tsp. mustard powder
1 bay leaf
1 T olive oil
10 oz. mushrooms, quartered
6 oz. English Stilton, crumbled
1 medium zucchini, sliced quartered
1 egg, lightly beaten

For the crust, use the dough recipe from my Cornish Pasties .


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Season beef with salt and pepper, then brown in batches, removing to a bowl as it finishes.
  3. Add the garlic, onions, celery, carrots, and rosemary to the skillet and saute until softened and just beginning to brown.
  4. Pour in the Guinness and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 20 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle the flour into the mixture and cook, stirring until mixed.
  6. Add the browned beef to mixture along with any juices that have accumulated in the bowl, the stock, mustard, and bay leaf.  Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook partially covered,  about 1½ hours.
  7. Make the dough for the tops while the beef is cooking.  Wrap in plastic and chill until ready to use.
  8. After the beef mixture is done, remove it from the heat and set it aside.
  9. In another skillet, heat the 1 T of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and zucchini and cook, stirring, until browned, then add to the beef mixture.
  10. Add the Stilton to the mixture and stir in.  Correct seasoning.
  11. Heat oven to 375°.
  12. Divide beef mixture among four 6″ oven-proof bowls or pie pans able to hold up to 12 oz.
  13. Roll the dough into a 14″ square and cut out four 6″ circles.  Press each circle gently down over the filling.
  14. Brush the dough with the egg and with a pair of scissors, cut an “x” into the top of each.
  15. Bake on a baking sheet until browned and bubbling, about 40 minutes.


  • This recipe was adapted from this one which accompanied the article linked above.
  • I’ve made it a couple of times and although I have switched things up a bit each time, it’s just plain delicious.  Is there such a thing as gourmet pub food?
  • The filling is very forgiving, but taking time to brown the meat properly without crowding it in the pan, and then allowing it to braise with the veggie mixture is key.
  • You can make the beef mixture minus the Stilton a day ahead, covered in the fridge.  Reheat, add the Stilton, then place the dough on and bake.
  • If you try the original recipe in the link, the purchased puff pastry is decent, but I loved the dough crust better.  It’s so easy to make — nothing fancy at all — give it a go!
  • You’ll probably have dough and filling left over — I did each time I made it — so if you need to, you can probably squeak out six smaller pies.
  • We enjoyed these pies with Bubble and Squeak.  Think mashed potatoes with veg and you’ll have it right.
  • Now, for pork pie.  I have lots and lots of pork in my freezer from a local farmer.  Lots.



25 thoughts on “Steak and Guinness Pie

  1. Oh, this looks SO good. My British hubby’s grandmother used to make steak and kidney pies to die for and this brings back such lovely memories of her. She always had savory pies ready for us when we visited her. (I have her Christmas pudding recipe that she wrote out by hand for me and will cherish it always–it’s coming up to time to make them for this year! Just have to ask my butcher to order some suet for me.)

    It seems like you really have to look for “gourmet pub food” these days in the UK–we’ve found so many places just serve pre-frozen stuff, and for the really good places you have to pay quite a few quid.

    1. When we were in England, we only ate pub food. I did a bit of research ahead of time and think we came up with some great places. One was truly excellent — in Linton outside of Cambridge called The Crown Inn (which sadly just had a fire) and I loved their white beans and braised ham hock. Truly excellent! You might laugh, but I actually made my first pudding recently — I’ve had some suet frozen just waiting. So much fun trying these recipes!

  2. Very soon I’ll start a project to get to know my local growers here in Mexico City (yes, we have them in this monstrous city, too). I’d love to hear more about your grandfather’s story sometime. Sounds amazing!

    1. Hey Ben! Good to hear from you. I’d look forward to that — you’ve already done some great work on sharing what’s available in the markets. I’ll stay tuned 🙂

    1. It is fabulous! The flavor is very deep and satisfying — somewhat like what you get with beef bourguignon. Rich and fabulous. I need to come up with another version now just to see how flexible it is. Chicken & wine? Mmm…

  3. For a minute there, I thought this was a wee chocolate pasty- it’s amazing the color Guinness brings to the pies! This looks absolutely delicious, and the crumbled Stilton really puts it over the top. Yum!

    1. Hmmm…I never thought of a chocolate pasty. You’ve given me something new to research! Yes, the color is amazing — all that slow cooking!

    1. Definitely, but I’d never turn one down! I can handle a bit of Stilton with other types of food — or mixed in like this — but goodness it’s bold. Sounds like our fathers-in-law have lots in common 🙂

  4. I love the idea of knowing exactly where your food comes from and who produces it. Part of the reason I stopped eating meat was that there was too much distance and no way I could ever KNOW that what I was eating was being produced the way I wanted. (at least not at an affordable price). And in the end, I don’t miss it at all, so it was for the best. But that’s just me. Anyway. Good luck with your endeavor! The pies sound super tasty. In that super comfort food kinda way.

  5. thanks so much for stopping by my blog and commenting, I really appreciate it. I have always loved following your blog, it usually makes me hungry:) especially your travels to New England. Stilton is one of my favorite cheeses, along with Gorgonzola:) I think I will try the dough pastry recipe, yummy!

  6. Michael would feel like he’d died and gone to heaven over this. I’ve made this pie before (different recipe) but felt like I didn’t have it perfected. Love the Stilton in it.

  7. In my area, there are farms in every direction and I’ve been out making friends with the farmers and trying to draw attention to them by featuring their produce in some of my posts. I haven’t been out “field tripping” lately but will be doing so again come spring. You can’t beat the freshness and the value when you buy at the farm.
    I’m really looking forward to trying this and love the idea of little blasts of cheesy goodness from the Stilton.
    And I love those little steamed pudding basins you used. I made my first (non-suet) steamed pudding this past holiday and loved it!

  8. I’ve never tried Stilton cheese but it looks absolutely amazing with this pie!! I love feel-good, hearty foods like this 🙂 Your photos are beautiful too!
    I will miss all your posts when I am traveling abroad, but it will be so awesome to read all of them when I get back in 3 months! Looking forward to some amazing and yummy goodness 🙂

    1. Stilton has an extremely bold flavor, but it’s quite mellow in this recipe. The cooking time has it all melted into the savory wonder of it all.

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