If you’re a fan of a hearty stew and of flaky pastry, put them together in this heavenly recipe for Individual Pot Pies with Guinness! Enjoy.

Ingredients
1kg chuck steak (or brisket or stewing steak) cut into 4cm cubes
3 Tbsp plain flour for coating
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion sliced
3-4 carrots, thinly sliced
2 celery sticks, thinly sliced
150g button mushrooms, roughly chopped
2tsp sugar
1tsp English mustard
1 Tbsp tomato puree
1×3 inch strip of orange rind
600ml Guinness or other dark stout
bouquet garni (bundle of herbs including parsley, thyme and a bay leaf)
salt & pepper
a roll of ready-made puff pastry

How to
Season the flour with salt and pepper and toss the beef cubes in the flour mix to coat. I usually mix the flour with salt and pepper in a Ziploc bag and toss the cubes in the bag. Heat 2 Tbsp of oil in a large shallow pan and cook the meat in batches till lightly browned. Remove from the pan and keep warm.

Add the remaining oil to a large, cast-iron casserole dish. Over medium heat, cook the onion till well-browned, stirring occasionally and adding the carrot and celery towards end. Stir in the sugar, mustard, tomato puree, orange rind, Guinness and seasoning. Add the bouquet garni and bring to the boil. Return meat and any juices to the dish. If necessary, add water to ensure that the meat is covered.

Cover dish tightly and simmer very gently for 2-2.5hrs until meat very tender. About half an hour from the end of the cooking time, add the chopped mushrooms.

Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface to about 3mm thickness. Lightly mark circles on the pastry, using the ramekins that you plan to bake the pies in. Cut circles that are slightly larger that the circles you have marked (so that they will overhang the edges of the ramekin).

Spoon the stew (remember to remove the orange rind and bouquet garni first!) into 4-6 ovenproof ramekins and cover each ramekin with its pastry lid. Press the pastry lightly down along the edges to seal. To guard against spills in your oven, place the ramekins on a baking tray.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes or until the pastry is puffy and golden. Serve immediately with some green vegetables and a hearty red wine (an Argentinean Malbec or South African Shiraz would do nicely!).

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