Beef and Guinness Hand Pies

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It’s frosty this evening. Still, cold and soaked with winter rain. I’m sitting on the couch, tightly wrapped in a furry blue blanket. Despite just finishing dinner, I’m dreaming of food.

You may know by now that that’s not unusual. As a food blogger/recipe developer/carbohydrate and dairy obsessive, I think about food for at least 90% of my waking hours. Heck, sometimes I even dream about food. It’s rather good because… well, effectively I get to eat twice as much.

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Anyway, I digress. Tonight, I’m dreaming of one thing in particular: beef and Guinness hand pies. These gems were fashioned last weekend in partnership with my beautiful friend Erin who, for the record, makes the very best apple caramel cheesecake that I have ever tasted (I still need to steal her recipe). We drank tea, chatted, made spiced pumpkin soup and rolled pastry in clouds of flour. A few hours later, we ate glorious pockets of beef and gravy by the fireside in the best of company.

It was blissful, in every sense of the word.

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It’s now been six days since I ate those golden hand pies. Six long and arduous days, most of which were spent sitting in my shoebox office with dishwater coffee and a pile of paperwork. Between phone calls and assessments, I found my mind drifting towards crisp golden pastry, nuggets of tender beef and rich Guinness gravy. And pulled pork rolls, tacos and flax macarons but… well, mostly beef and gravy (see? all.the.time).

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These little pies are easy on both the eyes and the stomach. Erin and I stole the bones of the recipe from the Australian Women’s Weekly cookbook, though as per usual it’s been considerably tweaked. The pies themselves can be assembled in a flash; the only involved component is making the filling (and the pastry, if you’re that way inclined). Both elements can be prepared the day before, chilled overnight and assembled in minutes before cooking.

If you can, eat these by the fireside. With a chaser of peat-bog whisky. Winter food at its best.

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Beef and Guinness Hand Pies
Adapted from Food We Love by The Australian Women’s Weekly

Makes 24 snack-sized pies

  • 500g beef skirt or chuck steak, finely diced
  • 1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 440ml can Guinness stout (we actually added an entire 750ml bottle and cooked it down for aaaages; do as you like! *substitute another stout if desired)
  • 1 cup (250ml) organic beef stock
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 350g homemade shortcrust pastry (or 3 sheets ready-rolled)
  • 350g homemade rough puff (or 3 sheets ready-rolled)
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten lightly
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Heat the oil in a large, heavy based saucepan. Add beef and cook, stirring, until browned. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add in the flour, stirring until the mixture bubbles and is well browned.

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Gradually add in the stout and stock, stirring until the gravy boils and thickens. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Uncover and check for seasoning – add salt and pepper if necessary. Continue to simmer, uncovered, for another hour or until the gravy has reduced and thickened (it should appear thick and glossy; add a little cornflour slurry or cook for longer if required). Allow to cool.

Preheat oven to 220 degrees C (430 degrees f) until hot. Lightly grease 2 x 12 hole standard (1/4 – 1/3 cup capacity) muffin pans. Using a 10cm upturned bowl or pastry cutter, cut 24 rounds from the shortcrust pastry sheets. Using an 8cm upturned bowl or pastry cutter, cut 24 rounds from the remaining puff pastry.

Place one round of shortcrust pastry into each of the muffin holes, pressing lightly with your fingers to fit. Divide the beef filling between each pastry case (about 1 heaped tbsp each) and brush the edges with egg. Top with the rounds of puff pastry, pressing with your fingers to ensure that the edges are sealed. Brush with the remaining egg, then make a small slit in the top of each pie with a sharp knife.

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Bake pies for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden. Stand for 5 minutes in the pans before serving hot, with or without tomato sauce.

Note: Cooked pies can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 2 months (though I doubt that they’ll last that long)

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*Thanks to Wendy at Chez Chloe and Susan at The Wimpy Vegetarian for inviting me to be part of the Writing Process Blog Tour. I’m working on my responses and hope to post something by mid-next week!

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83 responses

  1. Wow, Laura, this looks so delicious. Of course it is summer here, but today is dark and rainy, with thunder and lightning. I could eat one of these easily between a salad and a gaspacho. Like you, I spend most of my time thinking of food, and I can clearly imagine the smell of these in the oven…

  2. Oh it never fails to amaze me how lately it can be so boiling hot and muggy outside, but as soon as I read a post of yours, I’m ready to cozy up next to a fire with some hearty winter grub. These swapped seasons are such a mind-boggle! What a lovely description of digging into some luscious pies with your friend–ugh that pastry looks like PERFECTION. We would be such bad influences on each other if we were close enough to hang out because I would TOTALLY be building off of your food daydreams (what if we make FIVE kinds of hand pies!! and tacos with..hmm…a savory macaron shell? and vegan pulled pork with say…biscuits?!) and we would probably never stop cooking. Or eating.

    Oh! And thanks for the link love you awesome lady <33333333

    • It’s strange isn’t it? Opposites in terms of seasons. I am now in the northern hemisphere though so YAY, summer all over again!! And I would love to be your neighbour. For the record. Our men would be very well fed… And the rest of the neighbourhood, probably!! Haha. Hugs and more hugs xxx

  3. I have a very soft spot in my heart for meat in pastry. It has to be my hands down most favorite thing to eat. Ever. And that is no small statement. Sausage rolls, I’m there. Chicken Pot Pie, all over it. Beef and Onion pie, I die. (a local British deli makes the best and I’ll drive an hour to get them. When I order, I order six at a time and the lady looks at me like I’m touched in the head.) They don’t make the week, but they are so, so worth it! Love this recipe Laura! Need to go make some and drink some whisky now. :)

    • Oh yes. We are of the same mind on this Maria! So delicious, I had to exercise significant self control to stop myself eating all of these! I’ve only recently started making my own sausage rolls but I love the process… And the ability to put whatever I like in them. Whoever first thought of meat in pastry was a genius :) xx

  4. Meat pies are my FAVORITE! These look and sound amazing Laura. I can so relate about thinking about food ALL THE TIME. I’m a food blogger, so it just helps to feed my obsession. Great recipe, thanks for sharing!

  5. Such great looking pies! Although pot pies are pretty common in the US, this sort of meat pie isn’t — our loss, because they’re so good. I haven’t made a meat pie in ages, and never with Guinness. Definitely should do this when the cold weather returns to us. Thanks.

    • Oh what a shame John, I didn’t realise that they weren’t common in the US. I have eaten pot pies though, and they are delicious! They’re the potato topped ones, right? Hope that you are enjoying your summer

  6. “As a food blogger/recipe developer/carbohydrate and dairy obsessive, I think about food for at least 90% of my waking hours. Heck, sometimes I even dream about food. It’s rather good because… well, effectively I get to eat twice as much.”

    THIS. All the damn time. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who is always thinking of her next meal and what she can create next. :)

    Also, while it’s hot as blazes in Texas right now, I desperately want one of these hand pies. They sound delicious and filling and cozy, and I’ve pinned this recipe because I know I’ll be craving something like this when the days get shorter and winter descends upon my hemisphere. Can’t wait to try ‘em out!

    • Haha, it makes me feel a bit better that we relate so well Erin! Hope that your summer is going brilliantly! And yep, definitely not the weather for pies if the sun is blazing (hm, ice cream?). I’ve crossed over to your side of the world now and I am loving it! Xx

  7. Aw damn. Now I need a beef and guiness pie, no hands in mine please, and some whiskey! And I need to be at home in front of the fire and not at work… hmmm, I really should get ready for the breakfast rush!! Cracking pics as always my friend. Smiley face

  8. They are so cute! They appear to be what we call pot pies, but whatever you want to call them, I would be all over these. Yum!!

    • Oh, I was wondering about that. I looked up a few other American hand pies and they were more like what we call ‘pockets’ or ‘pasties’. I get confused between nations! But yep, they were delicious. I had to refrain from eating them all! X

  9. Winter seems like such ancient history here – as we are in our steamy summer. But these little goodies are going on my list for one of our first winter days!

    I like the mix of shortcrust on the bottom and puff on top, and I am a big fan of Guiness in beef stew. But at first I panicked, thinking you put that lovely single malt in the beef :-)

    • Haha, yes I would’ve panicked too! The single malt is definitely too good for pie making! Hope that you are staying cool… Weirdly enough, I am now in the summertime too! Back in a t-shirt again! X

  10. I am sorry – but when I saw the bottle of Laphroaig, I forgot anything else I was going to say! {just kidding} These look terrific and I will definitely make them – maybe even this summer even though it is beastly hot here now. Thanks, Laura – and I love the photos, especially the candle shot.

  11. Oh. Jeeeeez! This was what I was meaning when I said that you have plenty of autumnal foods to get excited about :-)
    I love the simplicity of these. You don’t need herbs spices or vegetables in there if you’ve good quality beef, beautiful homemade pastry and Guinness. This almost makes me wish our small amount of fairly crappy sunshine away in favour of autumn. Almost! X

    • Yes, such gorgeous winter food. You were so right, lots to look forward to! Being in sunny Sweden now, it’s weird looking back on this post. I do love winter in some respects, but it is so good to be out if the rain and cold. Hope that you’ve been getting some sunshine over there x

    • Haha, I wish you were there! You could’ve definitely had two or three! Erin and I have a tendency to over cater so there are always goodies left over :) Thanks so much lovely x

  12. This looks so comforting! Even though it’s summer here, our evenings are cool and this would be so nice to tuck into. I’m always on the lookout for meat recipes that are fairly easy but full of flavor for my husband. This one is perfect!

  13. These look great Laura! I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks about food all the time, in fact sometimes I don’t own up to it because I get told “You’ve only just eaten!!!”. Shame about the weather, it’s been pretty rainy here today although I think some parts of the UK have been nice. Have a good week!

  14. thinking and dreaming about food. . it’s crazy isn’t it? I’ve now left a notebook next to my bed when I have ideas or I’ll use my voice notes app on my iPhone so I don’t forget anything. . it’s borderline crazy. . and I’m so with you. thinking about food like all the time. :) and now I’m trying to re-gain some balance in this crazy food blogger life of mine and I’m starting to say no to things. . baby steps over here. :P
    I love that it’s winter for you over there and you are eating absolutely delicious beef and guinness hand pies!! and love that you said to eat these by the fire with a chaser of peat-bog whisky. sounds so fabulous!! and I have to ask, what is the Writing Process Blog Tour?

    • That is such a good way to keep track Alice. I often think of things/ideas and then forget about them a few minutes later, so frustrating. I have voice notes too but haven’t used it yet. And yes, I do think that balance is the key. Sorry for the late reply on the writing process blog tour. I’m too late, now you know! Thanks for the lovely thoughtful comment as always A xxx

  15. Oh Laura, these look and sound gorgeous, as always. I love small things a lot, and I love even more the idea of having guinness gravy in a small pie (had my first Guiness in Dublin lately and liked it a lot). My goodness, I will have to try that – do you think some smoked tofu will work as well? There’s a tofu dealer on a farmer market nearby with a very dense and tight one, maybe I should give that one a try… Great inspiration, thanks so much!

  16. Laura, I shall try one more time to comment – these hand-pies look wonderful – I am totally partial to individually-portioned food. I am sure they are as wonderful in fall as they are at a picnic. Your photos make me want to run in the kitchen and make some for us – this is certainly a recipe that I would love to try.
    Hope your workweek is good and that the weather will be kind,
    Andrea

    • I’m sorry that it was so difficult for you to comment Andrea :( Thanks for taking the effort to get one through. I definitely agree that handheld food is extra special, I love to snack on small things :) Thanks for the lovely words, hope that you are well! Xx

  17. Looks like the perfect comfort food (and I don’t think I could just stop at one!). Gorgeous hand pies, Laura.

    What a lovely time, wrapped up all cozy by the fire with snacks & drinks aplenty.

  18. Hello, Laura! I have a very strong feeling that my hubby would be very impressed indeed if I made him these pies. We had something very similar one day last week from a local bakery and they were delicious – I’d love to try making my own!
    I have a feeling my mother-in-law has a copy of that Australian womens’ weekly cook book, too – she has the first edition, I think, which I really enjoyed leafing through last week. Anyhow, great recipe!

    • Hello Helen! The Aust Women’s Weekly cookbooks are a bit legendary over here. I have a few early editions – this recipe was out of a more recent book (last year, I think?) but I am sure that there are similar ones from waaaay back in time! Hope that you’re settling in well over here? xx

  19. FB gets worse! Shouldn’t moan, but I’ve just shared your post with the photo of your hand and a glass of whiskey. Oh! I’m sure people won’t think you’re a lush! Haha.

    Even though I’m not a big fan of Guinness I’d happily tuck into one – or two – of these. They sound delicious.

    • Haha, ah dear. You’re spreading a bad image of me Johnny! Thanks for the share though my friend, I appreciate it :) And as for the Guinness, Aaron hates it but he really enjoyed these pies. The flavour is diffused in the gravy so it’s not highly prominent as a ‘distinct’ flavour in the finished pie. Thanks J!

  20. I can easily see why your mind was drifting towards these pies. They look smashing. Better than the ones that I have eaten till now…no kidding! I love my pies to have meaty chunks however most of them come with mince. I can’t wait to make these…the recipes seems so doable and the pies are making my mouth water. Fabulous post as always!

  21. HI Laura– these do look pretty mouth watering. And using the rolled puff pastry, I think I could really attempt them!! They look so warm and golden lined up on the rack fresh from the oven! gorgeous.

    • Thank you lovely Rhonda, yes there is definitely much merit in using ready-rolled puff pastry! Making puff from scratch takes a whole lot of effort and time. I actually bought some all-butter puff the other day and it worked brilliantly! x

      • Laura– I’ve only used puff pastry a few times– didn’t know there are varieties like “all-butter.” Now you’ve got me on the search for the best puff pastry. thanks!

      • Yes, a lot if the pre-packed versions are made with various types of vegetable shortening and they aren’t as delicious in my opinion! Definitely look for all-butter! X

  22. Yum, gorgoeous! Good pies are not a thing in Spain, so I always drool when I see pies like yours. I’ve actually had to start making my own Australian meat pies, lol. I’m not sure you need to do that in Australia…I think I’m going to try your recipe but in the version of one big pie :)

    • Haha, as you know, pies at EVERYWHERE back home. Mrs Macs and the more deli-kind of gourmet pie. I love them. And yes, I made a big version of this pie for my family and it worked brilliantly! Hope you liked it Sofia x

  23. Um, I also think about food 90% of the time, maybe even 100% of the time! I’ve always been this way…
    When Jake (my little guy) was born, he had colic. He screamed and cried for 6 weeks straight. It was torture. And during that phase, the only thing that would keep my brain sane was writing recipes (normal?). I learned how to bake bread, make a sourdough starter from scratch, and taught myself the metric system. I wrote recipes in my sleep. it was my oxygen. So, I get it. I totally get it ;)
    These hand pies are too cute for words Laura, I would easily devour all of them! Your pictures are always so stunning- so much so I might have drooled on my laptop :) xx

    • Oh Emilie. I totally relate to this. Not that I’ve had a colicky baby (but I have friends who have nursed theirs and it sounds like an excruciating experience, both for parent and child!) but whenever I am stressed and overwhelmed, I head to the kitchen. It’s definitely therapy. Thanks for these lovely reflections. Sending you hugs xxx

  24. I’d like to make about 5 dozen of these to have stashed in the freezer over winter. I love love Cornish pasty’s and these look right up the same alley…. could just about live on them I think.
    Thanks again for posting on the writing process tour:)

  25. I love finely diced meat in pies. It always tasted far much better than minced meat. The pies look so delicious, they have left me drooling and dreaming. I’m bookmarking and I hope to try them soon. Thanks for sharing!

  26. These are the second little hand pies I’ve seen this week so I think the universe is trying to tell me something, Laura. Possible it is to make hand pies, although it could also be, get more sleep. Ah, the combination of jet lag and late nights watching the football. Good times. Seriously, though, I am pinning these on my recipes to try board because steak pie is one of my husband’s favorite pub lunch orders. He would be the envy of the office lunchroom with these on his plate.

    • Haha, yes I often think the same when I see a few of the same recipe Stacy! Hope that you enjoyed watching the of the cup, we saw a little of it in Paris. We actually stopped over in Dubai on the way to Paris and I was thinking of you, so close and yet so far!! Hope that you are doing well xx

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