Europe & Britain | Food

Discover Be My Guest host Catherine's Beef & Guinness pies

Irish TV chef and Be My Guest host Catherine Fulvio, has been welcoming Trafalgar guests into her County Wicklow home for many years. If you’ve travelled to Ireland with Trafalgar in the past, chances are you’ve been lucky enough to sample some of Catherine’s famous cooking.

For the past few weeks and for the next little while we’re unable to visit Catherine physically, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still continue to connect with her, and in so doing learn how to recreate some of her delicious Irish faire.

So, if you’re looking to bring a taste of Ireland into your home, why not give her yummy Beef & Guinness pies a try…

beef and guinness pies

Why is this dish meaningful to you?

This is a typical Irish dish, and having grown up in our 1850 family farmhouse I have so many fond memories of my mother laying this on the table as we came in from milking the cows and working the farm. 

The speciality of this dish is the delicious potato pastry crust, the potato in the recipe for the pie crust gives a lovey texture and helps absorb the delicious Guinness infused sauce.

What ingredients do you need to cook this dish?

The quantities below will make 6 pies.

For the filling, you will need:

  • rapeseed oil, for sautéing
  • 100g smoked bacon, sliced into lardons
  • 1kg round steak stewing beef, diced
  • plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 500ml stout
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 400g tinned diced tomatoes
  • 1½ tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • ¾ tsp English mustard powder
  • bouquet garni (4 to 5 parsley sprigs, 1 fresh thyme sprig and 1 bay leaf, tied together)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the pastry, you will need:

  • 170g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 115g chilled butter, diced
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • 150g steamed potatoes, pressed through a ricer
  • cold water (about 3 tbsp), to bind egg wash
  • 200g chestnut (or any of your favourite)
  • mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 tbsp butter

What is the method for cooking this dish?

  • Heat some oil in a casserole dish over a medium heat. Add the bacon and sauté until crispy. Transfer to a clean plate and set aside.
  • Toss the diced beef in the seasoned flour and dust off the excess.  Add a little more oil to the casserole dish and fry the beef in batches until browned on all sides. Place the seared beef pieces on the clean plate with the bacon and set aside. 
  • Add a little more oil to the casserole dish and gently sauté the  onion until just softened but not browned. Deglaze the pan with some stout.
  • Return the beef, bacon and their juices to the casserole dish and stir in the red pepper, tomatoes, tomato purée, sugar, mustard and bouquet garni and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Add the rest of the stout. Bring to the boil, cover, reduce the heat and then simmer over a low heat for about 1½ hours or until the meat is tender and the sauce thick, stirring from time to time.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the pastry. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Add the diced butter and rub with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the baking powder and mix well. Stir in the potatoes and pour in just enough cold water to form a soft dough. Turn it out on a floured surface and knead very lightly. Wrap in clingfilm and leave to rest for 30 minutes in the fridge. (The pastry can also be made several hours in advance and stored in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.)
  • During the last 10 minutes of the filling’s cooking time, heat a medium frying pan with a little butter, add the mushrooms with some salt and freshly ground black pepper and sauté for about 4 to 5 minutes. Then add to the casserole and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Check the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if required. When you are ready to make the pies, remove the bouquet garni from the beef.
  • Choose 6 ramekins (or more, depending on their size). Preheat the oven to 210°C/fan 190°C/gas 7.
  • Carefully roll out the pastry on a floured surface – it shouldn’t be too thin. Using a large cutter, cut out 6 or more discs 2cm larger than the ramekins. Spoon the beef into the bowls, brush the edges with egg wash and place the pastry discs on top. Crimp the edges. Re-roll the pastry trimmings and use to cut out leaves. Attach these to the top of the pies with egg wash. Make a small hole in the top of each disc for the steam to escape. Leave in the fridge to rest for about 20 minutes.
  • Then brush the pastry with egg wash and transfer the ramekins to the oven for about 18 to 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden and baked.
  • Rest for about 5 minutes before serving with a fresh garden salad.

Why is cooking such an important part of your life?

I learned to cook at a very young age as my mother opened one of Ireland’s first farmhouse Bed & Breakfast’s. I enjoy gathering fresh produce from our kitchen gardens and celebrating local ingredients to create delicious dishes, and the best bit is I get to eat them as well.

Why do you love welcoming Trafalgar guests into your home, and what do you think they all get from the experience?

I am so proud of my family history and heritage and our typical Irish farmhouse. It puts a smile on my face to see the joy that Trafalgar guests get from their experience here in Glenealy Co. Wicklow. 

I love the connection we as a family have by welcoming our Trafalgar guests into our home and being able to create memories for them of their trip to Ireland. Our Trafalgar visitors arrive as guests and leave as friends.

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