Steak and Oyster pie dates back to Medieval times when oysters were combined with ingredients such as bacon, beef, parsley and peas, baked into puddings or wrapped in suet pastry, whilst the broth of oysters was thickened with flour, chives and parsley and turned into gravy.
The history of oyster and guinness has it’s roots in London’s taverns and larger houses, the main point of oyster consumption being a quick and easy snack to keep punters appetites at bay and prolong merry drinking sessions.
Apart from being rich in tradition, the slow cooking of ingredients that form a beef, guinness and oyster pie produce succulent tender beef encased a deeply rich salty sauce. Any pastry fits well with this pie, suet, short crust or puff.
The oysters history has changed dramatically from being once the readily available food of the poor, into a much more exclusive mollusk that holds connotations of extravagance. Now being sold specifically in high-end grocery stores, or at the ever-disappearing London fishmonger, acquiring some on short notice can be a little tricky.
That’s where smoked oysters come in as a wonderful substitute, providing that briny sea flavour that mixes so well enriching the beef sauce and adding another extra flavour – a little smokiness. Tins of smoked oysters are readily available in most supermarkets.
Beef, Guinness and Smoked Oyster Pie
I large red onion, peeled and grated
1 carrot, chopped into small cubes
1 stick celery, finely sliced
500gm braising steak, diced into bite size pieces
1 tbsp flour
500ml beef stock
Dash Worcestershire Sauce
1 heaped tbsp plain flour
2 sprigs thyme (or 1 tsp dried thyme)
Salt & pepper
1 tin smoked oysters
Egg white, beaten
- Fry beef in hot oil until browned on all sides, then remove from pan
- Using the same pan with beef juices, fry onion, carrot and celery until soft then add thyme leaves
- Return beef to the pan along with the flour and mix well
- Pour in Guinness, bring to the boil then simmer until half the liquid has evaporated
- Next add the stock, bring back to boil, then turn to simmer, cover with a lid and cook gently for 2 hours (check the mixture every half hour to make sure sauce has not dried out. Add small dashes of water if needed)
- Heat oven to 200C (180C fan assisted). Lightly flour a work surface and roll puff pastry out to approx. 3mm thickness.
- Drain smoked oysters, chop roughly and add to the beef mixture, then spoon into a pie dish. Drape pastry over edges of pie dish and cut off excess leaving a few millimetres of pastry over-lapping pie dish.
- Pinch edges well to seal. At this point you can decorate your pie by using left over pastry bits to create leaves or other shapes.
- Brush with egg white and place in the oven for approx. 20 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.