Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Guinness Pie

I always hated when people claimed that they "didn't like Guinness unless it's in Ireland." Like... seriously? That's got to be the snobbiest thing someone could say about a beer. It is snobby for a few reasons:

1. Elitism! Gah!
2. Beer is BEER, c'mon, what could they be doing differently over there?
3. You're humble-bragging about the fact YOU'VE BEEN TO IRELAND, while the un-cultured peasants that surround you are forced to drink the swill that is American Guinness. THE HORROR!

I never thought I'd actually BE one of those people... with a touch less snob, of course.

My first taste of Guinness was in a black and tan my exboyfriend made me at a party in college where I most certainly was not underage or anything. After half a sip I handed it right back to him--yuck. Even mixed with a milder beer it reminded me of coffee grounds or kitty litter. No thank you.

Downtown Dublin

The second time, I was actually IN Ireland, and a friend shoved a glass into my palm despite my insistence that I loathed the stuff. She had been studying there for a semester, I was visiting during my study abroad in Amsterdam, and she swore up and down that "Guinness is better here" so I reluctantly took it. No, I didn't have a grand beer epiphany, I still was not thrilled. Kitty litter. Coffee grounds. Yuck.

A castle we visited in Ireland

The third time I was in Ireland yet again, as a graduation gift to myself my exboyfriend and I were doing a mini-tour of Europe. I hadn't been thrilled about the idea of a return to Dublin, as it was my least favorite spot overall the first time around, but since he has direct roots to Ireland through his grandma I agreed. We were only there three days and were trying to fit everything in--the Guinness factory was one of those things.

After getting lost twice and realizing that there is no easy public transportation to the factory, we ended up there only an hour before close. At the top of the factory, you are given a free Guinness. If you get to the top with only ten minutes before closing, you are given many free Guinnesses. For two vacationers on a budget this was not something we could take lightly. We grabbed four each (doing some awesome balancing) and started to down them, me holding my nose.

But then, something amazing happened: I stopped chugging and started sipping. This was not the bitter gross-ness that I'd remembered. No, this was smooth, creamy, almost sweet, with a rich aftertaste. I liked it. In fact, I loved it! I wondered what I'd been doing wrong all these years. I loved Guinness!

On top of the Guinness Factory, ENJOYING a Guinness!

Upon returning to the states I ordered a draught the next time I went out. And again, the bitterness was back. Thick, toxic sludge. Ughhh. Since then, I will get the occasional Guinness, but I've found that the canned kind is best. Also, I've begun utilizing it in my baking all year round. To honor St. Patrick's Day this weekend, I'll be posting the creations I've made recently!

Guinness enhances a chocolate flavor in baked goods and adds a delicious moisture and richness. You cannot taste the beer at all, but you can taste the amazing flavors it leaves behind. It infuses its flavors well in meat as well, and makes a decadent sauce for just about anything. I highly reccommend experimenting with it yourself!

Guinness Pie
(Adapted from Closet Cooking and Food.com)

  • 1 lb stew beef or chuck, cubed
  • 5 slices thick cut bacon, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cubed
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and cubed
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced thin
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 can Guinness
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 tbs rosemary, diced
  • 1 tbs thyme, diced
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbs corn starch mixed with cold water
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbs water

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large skillet, cook the bacon. Set aside, and use the remaining grease to brown the stew meat. Set aside on a separate plate. Add all veggies and cook until slightly soft, about ten minutes or so. If they begin to burn, add a little olive oil.

-Add the Guinness and de-glaze the pan. Add the beef broth, tomato paste, bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer. Cook for about five minutes, until thick. The cornstarch can be used to achieve the desired thickness. Remove bay leaf.

-Press one of the pie crusts into a pie baking dish and prick crust all over. Add stew, and cover with the other pie crust. Press crusts together and prick crust all over to vent. Whisk together egg and water and use a pastry brush to brush on top of the crust. Bake until the crust is golden, about 50 minutes.

*Note* I wanted a more pronounced Guinness flavor, so I cracked open another can and reduced the liquid to a thick sauce and added that to the filling.


  1. Delicious! This is one of my favorites. My mother in law makes this for St. Patrick's Day.

  2. Yum! this looks and sounds amazing. AND I'm totally jealous you've been to Ireland! :)

  3. I love cooking/baking with guiness, but its just too heavy to drink more than one glass. This sounds tasty, I might just have to vegify it!

    1. You know, when I got to the point where I was going to add the beef, my skillet was SO full I half-contemplated leaving it out entirely. However, my veggie-hating boyfriend would not have liked that very much, so I made room. But I'm sure you could make an awesome meat-free version by subbing out the beef broth for veggie broth and getting vegetarian Worcestershire and maybe using tofu or tempeh. I'd love to see it if you do!

  4. I love Guinness (and am a bit envious that you've had it in Ireland). I use it in a lot of baking and cooking, too. You pie looks awesome!

  5. Guinness is one of my favorite beers, actually...so thick and creamy and satisfying! I did order a few while I was in Ireland, but honestly I didn't think they were that much better in Ireland (sacrilege, I know). It may have to do with the fact that I already loved it!?

    Love this Guinness Pie...it sounds comforting and delicious.

  6. I've always wanted to make a Guinness pie and need to get on it! Guinness was one of the first beers I really enjoyed and I've heard it's much better in Ireland!


  7. It took awhile for me to embrace it too! But I love it now and this hearty, amazing looking pie! Love that you added extra. A girl after my own heart.

  8. I have one guiness a year and it's on St Paddys day. Woo hoo!

  9. This looks great! But I am a beer snob, not about being to Ireland, just about beer. Guinness is fun for St. Paddy's Day, but there are so many better stouts out there.

    But I get back to the pie and when EVER I got a chance to make a pie with beer, I'm in!