Beef and Guinness Pies (with Chocolate?)

I have mentioned before that we are suckers for pot pies around here. With me having time this weekend and about to embark on three weeks of work travel and college visits that overlap St. Patrick’s Day and well beyond, I had to do my honorary cooking with beer in advance of the holiday. This recipe caught my husbands eye, mainly because it was pot pie, but also because of the chocolate. I made a few edits before I even got started and I’ve made another below. 

Skip the chocolate. Such words never uttered in this house; I’ll modify. Eat the chocolate while you cook and don’t put it in the stew. 

Ultimately these are really good and one of the advantages is you don’t need an expensive cut of meat. With the amount of time to make the stew the meat literally falls apart. 

I also had time to make dinner for Tuesday, but I’ll leave that for another day. 

I started with my prep work. I got all of my ingredients out and then started in on the veggies. 


And then  moved onto the beef; it’s really important to trim it well. This was about 1¾ lbs. and I trimmed off just under ½ lb.  


I also prepped the ingredients for the Green beans with dill; pretty easy, rinse both and chop the dill.  

With 5 minutes left on the pot pies, I heated up the pan for the green beans, warmed some olive oil in the pan, and then added the beans seasoning them well with salt and pepper. 


I turned them with tongs regularly and after the pot pies were out and resting, I added in the dill. 

Time for dinner.  


Ok, each of these pot pies fed two people – yes including male teenagers. Depending on your crowd you could make 6 of these in smaller pie pans, you would need an extra sheet of puff pastry. 

And for dessert Ina Garten’s lemon bars – perfect (do not alter). 

Beef and Guinness Pies (with Chocolate?)

Beef and Lamb, Entrées, Not Shared, Recipes To Try

Prep 45 minutes ∙ Cook 3 hours 45 minutes ∙ Makes 4 pies ∙ Source Detroit Free Press | March 13, 2016


  • 1½ lbs. beef chuck, trimmed cut into 1′ cubes
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour, divided
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 shallots, peeled chopped
  • 12-16 oz. cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 rib celery, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1⅔ cups Guinness Draught or extra stout
  • 1-2 cups unsalted beef stock or low-sodium beef broth
  • 1½ tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped or grated bittersweet chocolate or dark chocolate (optional)
  • 1 package (17.3 ounces) frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Special Equipment:

  • Four 6″ pie tins or 10 oz. ramekins


Pat the beef cubes dry with paper towel. In a large bowl, toss the beef with 2 tablespoons flour, kosher salt and black pepper. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat.  

Working in batches, brown the beef on all sides; transfer to a plate. Repeat, using another tablespoon of oil and remaining beef. 


If needed, add another tablespoon oil to the pot. Add the shallots, mushrooms, carrots, garlic, and celery.  

Cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the thyme sprigs. 

Return the beef to the pot. 

Add the Guinness and enough beef broth so the entire mixture is completely covered.  

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until beef is tender, about 1½ to 2 hours.

Once the beef is done, strain the cooking liquid into a large glass measuring cup. You should have 2-3 cups. Return the beef and vegetables to the pot, discarding the thyme.


In a saucepan melt the butter. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons flour to form a smooth paste. Whisk in ½ cup cooking liquid over medium heat.  

Gradually whisk in the rest of the strained cooking liquid and simmer until slightly thickened, about 4 to 5 minutes. If using, add the chocolate and stir to melt.  

If the sauce is too thick add more stock or Guinness. Pour the sauce over the beef and vegetables and set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one sheet of the thawed puff pastry into about a 14″ square. Cut to two circles large enough to fit in the bottom and up the sides of the pie tin or ramekin, about 8-inches. Cut out two circles that will fit the top. Repeat with the remaining puff pastry sheet. Evenly spoon the beef mixture into the pastry-lined pie tins or ramekins using about 1¼ cups each.  

Top with the 6-inch circle and pinch the edges together to seal. 

Cut 2 diagonal slits in the top center. Brush the pastry with the egg. Place the pies directly on the lower oven rack. Bake until the pastry is puffed and golden brown, 45 minutes. Remove from oven. Let rest a few minutes. Serve directly in the pie tin or invert onto a plate. 


Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

The chocolate adds nothing and takes away from the pepper – SKIP IT!

Lemon Bars

Cookies, Desserts, Recipes To Try

Cook 30-35 minutes ∙ Makes 9x13x2 inch pan ∙ Difficulty Easy ∙ Source Ina Garten | Food Network


For the crust:

  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter , room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt

For the filling:

  • 6 eggs, extra-large, at room temperature
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon zest, grated, from ~3 lemons
  • 1 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 cup flour
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting


Preparation: Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make crust: Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and creamy. 



Add in flour and salt and mix on low until just combined. Gather into a ball and flatten the dough with floured hands (or cover and press with plastic wrap) and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides.


Chill for at least 30 minutes. Bake crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.To make filling: In a bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. 



 Pour mixture over crust and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes or until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.


Dust with confectioner sugar and cut to squares to preferred size.

Simple Scallops

I have finished the book for the book club I have recently joined so now I can allow myself to write. For those of you that are interested, the book is All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, and it weaves a beautiful tale. I wish that I could write so beautifully that the words bring you in. 

In the meantime I will stick to making food. On Saturday, when making my menu for the week I knew that I wanted scallops for Sunday dinner. When I skimmed my saved recipes for ideas I noticed one for scallops with a blood orange sauce; citrus and scallops are perfect match. Although I frequently use lemons, blood oranges are still around at the grocery store. 

The most important thing when cooking scallops is ensure that they are dry so that they brown rather than simmer, so after I rinse them and remove the side muscle, I dry them on paper towels and then I replace the paper towels and flip them over so that the other side is also dry. I always season them with salt and pepper before I cook them.

In addition to this I also did all of my prep work and measuring for this meal in advance, once you start cooking it only takes 10 minutes so it is much easier to have all of your ingredients ready. I also had all of my dessert ingredients ready, but since it also only took 10 minutes to cook, I didn’t bake it until after we had all eaten and cleaned up the kitchen; I’ll get to that after the meal. 

For the scallops the prep also included chopping the shallot and squeezing the oranges (they were small so I ended up using 2). I rinsed the beans, measured my couscous and water, and minced a handful of mint. 

When I was ready to cook, I started the water for the couscous first with a bit of butter and salt while I heated my cast iron skillet for the scallops and my skillet for the green beans. When the water boiled, I added the couscous and reduced it to a simmer and put the green beans in my skillet with a bit of tangerine olive oil, salt, and pepper over medium high heat. 

Once the cast iron was hot I set in the scallops, it’s important not to move them while they cook, they should take about 3 minutes to get that nice brown color; in the meantime I stirred the beans to make sure that none overcooked.  

After flipping the scallops and letting them cook 2 more minutes I set them aside and added the additional butter and shallots to the pan. While this shallots softened I turned off the heat on the beans and couscous and stirred the mint into the couscous. 

Just before serving I added the orange juice to the hot cast iron skillet, deglazed the pan, and poured the sauce into a small bowl for serving. 

Dessert was just as simple. Before dinner I set the butter and chocolate in my double boiler on the stove, I didn’t heat it, but with the other cooking going on they softened well. I also prepped my ramekins measured my sugar, broke the eggs into my mixer bowl, and measured the remaining ingredients into a small bowl so that I could add it to the mixer when the time came. 

 After we cleaned up the dishes, I started creaming the eggs and sugar and finished melting the butter and chocolate together.    

 After mixing the remaining ingredients in, I scooped the very thick batter into the ramekins. They do only take about 8 minutes to cook and are best served warm with vanilla ice cream.   

Seared Scallops with Blood Orange-Shallot Sauce
Makes Serves 4 ∙ Source


  • 1½ lb. sea scallops, side muscles removed
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped (~¼ cup)
  • 1-2 blood oranges, squeezed to yield at least ¼ cup juice


Pat the scallops dry and season on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat 1 Tbsp. of the butter and the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until the foam from the butter subsides.

Add the scallops and cook, undisturbed, until well browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook the second side until browned and just barely firm to the touch, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add the remaining 1 Tbsp. butter to the skillet. Add the shallot and a touch of salt; cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the scallops drizzled with the sauce and sprinkled with a little black pepper.

Chili-spiced Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes


  • Butter for greasing ramekins
  • Regular or dark cocoa powder (for dusting ramekins)
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 ounces dark chocolate
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • Pinch of cayenne


Preheat oven to 450°F.

Butter four 4-ounce ramekins and lightly dust the inside of each ramekin with cocoa powder, tapping out the excess; set aside.

Place the butter and chocolate in a double boiler, melt over hot water until almost completely melted. Stir until the chocolate is smooth.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, and sugar until light and thick. Slowly add butter mixture to mixer; add flour, cinnamon, chili powder, cayenne, and mix until well combined. Divide batter between prepared ramekins. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and transfer to oven. Bake until sides are set and center is soft, 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and let stand about 1 minute. Invert each mold onto a plate and let stand for about 10 seconds. Gently tap the tops of ramekins and carefully lift to remove. Serve with ice cream if desired and berries.