I wish I was in a winter cabin in the woods somewhere, slowly simmering this pie filling while attending to the beautiful sour cream pastry. You don’t need to actually be in a cabin to enjoy these, but wouldn’t it be fantastic if we all could linger for a few days in a woodlands hideaway, sipping on steamy drinks next to a fireplace, slowly preparing comforting dishes throughout the day to enjoy when the sun goes down. Time stands still, the quietness fills the air with tranquility and the earthy smell of the thick pine needle carpet outside seeps into your clothes.
This hearty beef & stout pie with sour cream & thyme pastry is simply perfect for a cosy winters holiday. Don’t rush it – enjoy every moment of the preparation process like healing therapy for your soul. It’s totally worth it.
Beef & stout pie with sour cream & thyme pastry: (serves 4-6)
Tip: Start making this pie in the morning if you want to serve it for dinner. It takes a few hours to prepare, but I promise it is worth every minute.
For the filling:
Time: 30 minutes prep plus 3 hours simmering plus cooling.
Tip: Make the pastry while the filling is simmering.
- 30 ml olive oil
- 1 kg beef cubes
- salt & pepper
- 30 ml flour
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, finely sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cloves
- 15 ml tomato paste
- 440 ml stout
- 500 ml beef stock
- 15 ml Worcestershire sauce
- In a large dutch oven / cast iron pot, heat the oil and fry the meat over high heat in batches, giving it some colour and seasoning it with salt & pepper as you fry. Add a little flour to each batch as it is frying, using all the flour by the last batch. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside (it will still be raw on the inside).
- If the pot is smoking hot at this point, remove it from the heat and give it a few minutes to cool. Turn the heat down to medium, then add a little more oil and fry the onion, garlic and celery until soft.
- Add the bay leaf, cloves, tomato paste, stout, stock and Worcester sauce, stir well and bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom to loosen and dissolve any sticky bits (covering the pot with a lid will help).
- Return the meat to the pot, then simmer over low heat for 3 hours, covered, until the meat is very soft and the gravy is dark brown and rich (stir once or twice during the process). Pour some excess liquid off and keep aside for serving as gravy later. Use a fork to pull some of the meat apart, keeping some cubes whole.
- Cool the filling completely before baking in the pastry.
For the sour cream & thyme pastry:
Time: 30 min prep plus 2h30 resting.
Tip: For a more classic version, leave out the thyme leaves.
- 3 cups (750 ml) white bread flour
- 5 ml salt
- 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
- 250 ml cold butter, cubed
- 250 g sour cream
- 1 egg, lightly whisked, for brushing
- Mix the flour, salt & thyme together. Rub the butter into the flour mixture using your fingers. When it starts to resemble coarse bread crumbs, add the sour cream and cut it in with a knife. Continue to mix until the mixture comes together in a non-smooth ball of dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangular shape. Turn the dough so that it lies horizontally in front of you (divide it into thirds in your mind), then fold the right side over to the middle, and the left side over the folded part, to form three layers. Turn the dough over, turn it 90 degrees, and roll out again, folding it in the same way. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.
- Remove from the fridge and repeat the rolling and folding process. Return to the fridge for another hour.
To assemble the pie:
Time: 20 min assembling plus 1 hour baking.
- Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface (the dough should be very smooth by now) to a long rectangle with a thickness of about 5 mm.
- Spray a medium size deep pie tin with non-stick spray, then line the bottom of the tin with pastry, easing it gently into the corners and taking care to not stretch the dough too much (leave the edges overhanging for now).
- Fill with the beef & stout mixture, then use a pastry brush to lightly brush the edges where the top layer needs to stick. Lay the rest of the pastry on top, cutting a hole in the middle or making slits here and there for steam to escape.
- Use a sharp knife to neatly trim the sides, then use a fork to press grooves into the edges. Use any leftover pastry to cut out shapes, or to make a plait for decoration. Brush with egg all over, then bake at 180 C for about 1 hour or until golden brown and cooked.
- Serve hot, with steamed veggies, the reserved gravy and mashed potato.