Last year I took Mr Gem to the beautiful village of Masham in North Yorkshire for his birthday and we did a tour of the Black Sheep Brewery whilst we were there. I’m not really a big beer drinker, I don’t mind the odd one but as a general rule I’m more of a gin girl but even I found the tour incredibly interesting, I even enjoyed a half pint of Golden Sheep Ale which went down surprisingly well after all that talk of beer!
Beef in Black Sheep Pie
I’ve wanted to cook beef in beer pie for a while now, I had one bookmarked in Jamie’s Great Britain, but a proper pie needs time and attention and cold, miserable weather so that you can really appreciate how comforting a good pie is, luckily Sunday was a quiet, cold and miserable day and I got to make my pie!
The recipe for this pie can be found in Jamie’s Great Britain and here. In true Jamie style the ingredient list is pretty long but for the pie filling its worth it. I’ll be honest and admit for the second time in two weeks I used shop bought pastry, but for good reason, because Mr Gem wanted a puff pastry topping rather than shortcrust and frankly, life is too short to make puff pastry.
The recipe takes around 3 hours to make from start to finish but its worth it, plus the house gets all warm and cosy and smells amazing. Mr Gem was slightly perturbed when I started cooking tea straight after we’d cleaned up after lunch but I love a Sunday spent in the kitchen!
The first stage of the cooking is to brown the beef and onion in the herbs and a bit of oil and butter, once the beef is browned add the beer, tomato puree and stock and flour and then simmer for an hour. I used a bottle of Riggwelter from the Black Sheep Brewery – its a really dark beer that I could never drink but in a stew it has a really deep flavour which goes perfectly with the beef stock.
After the first hour of cooking is done stir in the barley and simmer for another hour (honestly this recipe is more about the waiting than actually cooking – I watched an entire Harry Potter film whilst this cooked!)
Once the second hour is done stir in the mustard, Worcestershire sauce and cheese – go easy on the mustard though, I was a bit heavy handed and it was a touch overpowering. Give the dish a good stir and then ladle into your pie dish and top with the pastry. Give the pastry a brush over with milk or egg and whack the whole dish in the oven for another hour or so.
Once the pastry is golden brown serve with green veggies – you wouldn’t need any potato with this because the pastry and barley make it pretty stodgy. It was absolutely amazing, stodgy, warm, comforting, filling…I literally ate half a plate full and was stuffed.
Perfect comfort food for a cold and dreary Sunday.