Beef Pot Pie with Guinness

published Jan 17, 2023
Beef Pot Pie Recipe

Our ultra-comforting meat pie has braised beef, hearty vegetables, and a top layer of flaky pastry. There's also the added bonus of not having to blind bake the crust.

Serves4 to 6

Prep30 minutes to 40 minutes

Cook2 hours to 2 hours 15 minutes

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Credit: Tara Holland

Pot pie is the ultimate American winter comfort food. Meat and vegetables are typically cooked in gravy, which is usually made with broth and thickened with flour. In this beef pot pie recipe, once the beef has been braised with the onions, celery, carrots, and baby potatoes, it is transferred to a skillet and covered with only a top layer of pastry. No blind baking is required!

Pot pie pastry is typically of the flaky variety. but is often substituted with puff pastry or even biscuit dough. Making a pot pie is a great way to use up leftovers, and if you use store-bought pastry, it’s a super easy way to create a delicious dish with a wow factor — especially when served in the cast iron skillet straight out of the oven. 

Credit: Tara Holland

The Best Type of Beef for Pot Pie

Because the beef is braised for well over an hour in the oven, using a cut like beef chuck is best, as it creates a tender texture when slow-cooked. Because the price of meat is rocketing in the current climate, I reduced the amount of beef I would’ve usually used and added quartered baby potatoes to bulk out the filling. The results are still meaty and just as tasty. If you prefer a beefier filling, you can increase the meat by half a pound and reduce the potatoes by half.

If you are really watching your pennies, you could swap out the beef chuck for ground beef. As long as you can fill your skillet halfway with cooked meat and vegetables before topping it with pastry, you’ll be able to feed four to six people with this recipe.

For best results, I recommend you sear the beef on two sides. This allows the unseared sides of the beef to cook more tenderly and stops the beef from shrinking too much — which again, helps the pricey beef stretch further

Credit: Tara Holland

Why You Should Strain the Gravy

I’m a big gravy fan, and in my opinion (or maybe it’s the Brit in me), there is never enough gravy in a pie, which is why I always like to have some on the side. The solution: straining the gravy! I like to use the same process as my cottage pie, which prevents the mashed potato (or, in this case, the pastry) from drowning and being submerged in gravy. Plus, it gives you the bonus of having extra to pour over. Here’s how I do it.

  • Braise the beef and vegetables swimming in gravy in a Dutch oven.
  • When the meat is tender and the veggies are cooked, strain the filling (reserving the delicious gravy) and add it to the skillet.
  • Spoon over enough gravy to keep the pie saucy, then cover with pastry and bake.
  • Rewarm the leftover gravy to serve alongside the pot pie.

Why the Dutch oven? I initially tried developing the recipe by braising the meat in the skillet, but not only did it not create enough gravy, but it also bubbled over the top and created a soggy pastry. Although it creates on extra dish to wash up, braising in the Dutch oven gives you more control so that your pastry can remain crispy and, more importantly, you get extra gravy! 

Switching Up the Ingredients

You can make the filling however you want, with any vegetables at hand or even in the freezer. Here are some other vegetables you could cut into bite-size pieces and swap in or add along with the onion, celery, carrots, and potatoes.

  • Button mushrooms
  • Green beans 
  • Fennel 
  • Leeks
  • Frozen mixed vegetables
  • Red bell pepper
  • Baby spinach

Beef Pot Pie Recipe

Our ultra-comforting meat pie has braised beef, hearty vegetables, and a top layer of flaky pastry. There's also the added bonus of not having to blind bake the crust.

Prep time 30 minutes to 40 minutes

Cook time 2 hours to 2 hours 15 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces

    small or baby Yukon Gold or red potatoes

  • 2

    medium carrots

  • 2 medium stalks

    celery

  • 1

    medium yellow onion

  • 2 cloves

    garlic

  • 1 pound

    boneless beef chuck

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided, plus more as needed

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 tablespoons

    olive oil, divided

  • 3 large sprigs

    fresh thyme, plus more for serving (optional)

  • 2

    dried bay leaves

  • 2 tablespoons

    tomato paste

  • 3 tablespoons

    all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • 1 cup

    Guinness Stout

  • 2 cups

    beef broth

  • 2 tablespoons

    Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 cup

    frozen peas

  • 1

    large egg

  • 1

    store-bought or homemade pie crust, thawed if frozen

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350ºF.

  2. Prepare the following, adding each to the same large bowl as it is completed: Dice 6 ounces small or baby Yukon Gold potatoes. Peel and dice 2 medium carrots (about 3/4 cup). Dice 2 medium celery stalks (about 1 cup), and 1 medium yellow onion (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups).

  3. Finely grate or chop 2 garlic cloves. Trim off any surface fat from 1 pound beef chuck, then cut into 3/4-inch cubes. Pat dry with paper towels and season with 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper.

  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half of the beef in an even layer and sear until browned on two sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate. Add 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil to the pot and repeat browning the remaining beef, reducing the heat as needed if the pot starts to smoke. Transfer to the plate.

  5. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 3 large fresh thyme sprigs if using, 2 dried bay leaves, and carrot mixture to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally and scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon, until the vegetables start to soften at the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  6. Return the beef and any accumulated juices to the pot. While stirring continuously, add 2 tablespoons tomato paste and sprinkle with 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Cook until flour is combined and the tomato paste slightly darkens in color, about 2 minutes.

  7. Increase the heat to medium-high. Add 1 cup Guinness and cook, stirring continuously, until the liquid thickens and reduces so significantly it almost disappears, about 2 minutes. Add 2 cups beef broth and 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, stir to combine, and bring to a simmer.

  8. Cover and transfer the Dutch oven to the oven. Bake until the beef is tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

  9. Remove the Dutch oven from the oven. Increase the oven temperature to 400ºF. Place 1 large egg with 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl and whisk with a fork until the egg is beaten up.

  10. Remove and discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaves from the filling. Add 1 cup frozen peas and stir to combine. Taste the filling and season with more kosher salt as needed.

  11. Fit a strainer or colander over a large bowl. Pour the filling into the strainer (you should have about 1 3/4 cups gravy). Transfer the beef mixture to a 10-inch cast iron skillet or 9 1/2-inch deep dish pie dish. Pour over 3/4 cup of the reserved gravy into the skillet and stir to combine. Spread the filling into an even layer (save the remaining gravy to serve alongside the pie).

  12. Unfold 1 pie crust. If it is less than 10-inches in diameter, dust the counter with all-purpose flour and roll it out until 10-inches wide. Place the crust over the filling. Press the crust gently down onto the surface of the filling, then press against the edge of the skillet all the way around to seal. Brush the crust with the egg wash. Use a sharp knife to cut 5 (1-inch) slits in the top of the crust to vent.

  13. Place the skillet on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the crust is a deep golden brown, about 30 minutes.

  14. Remove the pie from the oven. Sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves if desired. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Meanwhile, rewarm the reserved gravy in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes or in a small saucepan over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve the pot pie with a small drizzle of gravy on top to be passed at the table.

Recipe Notes

Guinness substitutions: Substitute 1 cup dry red wine or 1 cup more beef broth for the Guinness.

Make ahead: The filling can be made up to 2 days ahead without the peas and refrigerated. Reheat in the cast iron skillet until warmed through, stir in the peas, and proceed with topping with the pie crust and baking.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.