Beef, Beer and Blue Cheese Pot Pies

by Kristin on October 27, 2011

Forty years ago, there were only a few people in Ireland making farmhouse cheeses and it’s only recently that microbreweries have arrived in the land of Guinness. Today, though, there are 17 craft brewers and around 50 farmhouse cheese makers on our small island. Like any artisan food, both crafts aren’t just about the flavour, but also the people, personalities, places and stories behind them. This weekend, people all over Ireland will be celebrating our farmhouse cheese and microbrews by enjoying them together during Ireland’s first Farmhouse Cheese and Craft Beer Weekend, with over 30 events taking place around the country.

One way of enjoying Irish farmhouse cheese and craft beer is to cook them together in these beef, beer and blue cheese pot pies. I used Howling Gale Ale from 8 Degrees Brewing Company for the beer and the award-winning Bellingham Blue cheese, but you can use whatever blue cheese and ale (or even stout) are available to you. Or you might like to try this recipe for Irish farmhouse mac and cheese, which goes all out and uses not one, not two, but three different artisan Irish cheeses.

For the best selection of Irish farmhouse cheeses, be sure to make a visit to Sheridans Cheesemongers. Drink Store, based in Stoneybatter in Dublin, carries a good range of Irish microbrew beers (as well as other craft beers from around the world) and they deliver throughout Ireland, so it’s a good excuse to stock up! A new book, Farmhouse Cheeses of Ireland: A Celebration, is a comprehensive guide to all our artisan cheeses and is a must for any food lover’s bookshelf, and with the free BeoirFinder app, you’ll be able to find a pub or restaurant around Ireland that serves craft beer. And if you’d like to learn more about pairing cheese and beer, click here to download Bord Bia’s suggestions (the second red bullet point) or click here to download the free Bord Bia Farmhouse Cheese Guide (the first red bullet point). Sláinte!

Beef, Beer and Blue Cheese Pot Pies

Serves 4

If you don’t have a Dutch oven or an ovenproof casserole with a lid, you can just simmer the beef on the stovetop instead over a low-medium heat. Instead of making pot pies, you could also serve this as a stew straight from the oven.

olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 large red onion, chopped
1 leek, white and light green part only, cut in half lengthwise and sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 kg (2 lb) stewing beef, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons flour
500 ml (2 cups) ale
150 g (1 cup) crumbled blue cheese
2 sheets ready-rolled puff pastry
1 large egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).

In a large Dutch oven or other ovenproof pot (or just a large pot if you’ll be cooking it on the stovetop; see note above), heat a good splash of olive oil on a medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion and leek along with a pinch of salt so the onions don’t brown. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft. Add the garlic, thyme and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper and cook for 1 or 2 minutes more. Stir in the beef, then add in the flour. Stir well to coat the beef and vegetables with the flour and cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Pour in the ale, give everything a stir and bring to a boil.

Cover the pot with a lid and place in the preheated oven for 2 1/2 hours, giving it a stir now and then, until the meat is tender. If the stew looks too liquid, put the pot on the stovetop, uncovered, and simmer it until it reduces to a consistency you like. Once it’s ready, either straight from the oven or after reducing, take it off the heat and stir in the cheese, then taste it and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Place one large ovenproof pie dish or individual gratin dishes on a baking tray just in case any filling bubbles up and over the sides, then spoon the stew into the dish(es). Cut the ready-rolled sheet of pastry to fit the top of the pie dish (or individual dishes), rolling it out a little on a lightly floured countertop with a rolling pin if you need to in order for it to cover your dish. Brush the edges of the dish(es) with some of the beaten egg to help the pastry stick in place, then carefully place the pastry lid on top. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg, then bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the pastry has risen and is golden. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Caroline@Bibliocook October 27, 2011 at 8:26 pm

You had me at beer and blue cheese ;-)

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Bill October 27, 2011 at 9:06 pm

So cute! And they sound amazing.

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Móna Wise October 27, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Oh – these look too cute. Did you cut out the words by hand Kristen or do you have
letter cutters? The pot pie sounds dreamy… Will try ‘em.
Have fun in KK this weekend. Will be knee deep in kids stuff here in Galway.

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Kristin November 3, 2011 at 10:05 am

My model-making architect husband is handy with an Exacto knife, so I got him to cut out the letters. He was a good sport about it!

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Stasty October 27, 2011 at 10:55 pm

Wow, these look so cute and delicious. Have a lovely weekend in Kilkenny, and enjoy all the great food.

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Rachael @ Tokyo Terrace October 28, 2011 at 5:02 am

These look absolutely delicious! I have always wanted to travel to Ireland and your site is really making me ache to get there even sooner! Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos/recipes and stories about Ireland.

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Kristin November 3, 2011 at 10:04 am

Thanks so much for stopping by, Rachael! Hopefully you’ll get over here someday. :)

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Moya October 28, 2011 at 12:54 pm

I think it is really nice to have your own individual pies especially when you are having guests over. I like the addition of blue cheese, sounds delicious and I am sure tastes even better.

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Kristin November 3, 2011 at 10:04 am

That’s a good point – just presented differently, as individual servings, a humble old pot pie can suddenly be nice enough for guests.

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Eimear October 29, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Oh Holy crap, these sound good. As it happens, I have blue cheese in the fridge from my gnocchi dish the other night, and I harvested all the carrots and leeks from the garden today, so these are totally going to be Monday night’s dinner. I’m drooling already…

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Kristin November 3, 2011 at 10:04 am

Hope you enjoyed them!

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Clare - An American in Ireland October 30, 2011 at 8:17 am

Yowzas. Those look incredible!

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Vanessa November 1, 2011 at 5:05 am

Definitely my kind of pot pie :)

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megan November 7, 2011 at 7:08 pm

all of my favorite things in one pot pie! I love it! I will definitely be giving these a try!

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Lynn December 11, 2011 at 12:02 am

I have had this concoction in the oven for just over three hours now, and the beef is still as tough as it was going in. What am I doing wrong??

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Lynn December 11, 2011 at 12:07 am

I am seriously such an idiot…and one who can’t read, at that. It is because I have been cooking at 180 FARENHEIT! GO ahead. Laugh. I’m not a novice at cooking, either. THat’s what I get for starting dinner after having Mexican and Margaritas for lunch.

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Kristin December 11, 2011 at 9:17 pm

I think we’ve all made those kind of mistakes in the kitchen after too many margaritas! ;)

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megan December 19, 2011 at 11:25 pm

I’m finally going to make these. I don’t have an over proof casserole dish or dutch oven though so I’ll be using a big pot. Do I still do 2 1/2 hours but just on the stove?

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Kristin December 21, 2011 at 7:24 pm

I imagine it would still need that much time on the stovetop. Hope you enjoy it!

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Alexa December 23, 2011 at 12:35 am

I made this earlier this evening, and it was absolutely delicious! Thank you for sharing such an excellent recipe.

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Kristin December 26, 2011 at 10:03 am

Delighted to hear you enjoyed them!

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SuperMom January 11, 2012 at 8:29 pm

I made this tonight and it was AMAZING! I posted a link to this recipe on my blog (with a picture of my pot pie). Thank you so much. This has officially made it to my favorite recipes page. And I think it may be the best thing I’ve ever made. Not even kidding.

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Kristin January 15, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Thanks so much, that’s high praise indeed! So glad to hear you liked them so much. x

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Imen McDonnell January 11, 2012 at 10:23 pm

How did I miss THESE!!!! Was only just planning a similar letter stamp pie post myself after seeing one on IG recently..not as cute as yours!!….will put mine on hold for the time being. This looks and sounds SO amazing Kristin. I will certainly give the recipe a go! xx

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Kristin January 15, 2012 at 8:51 pm

At first I thought IG meant Ina Garten – it took me awhile to figure out it was Instagram, LOL! I got the idea from a pot pie in a Nigella Lawson cookbook.

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bethany August 26, 2012 at 11:31 am

Great recipe! I made it tonight and it was a hit with the whole family! I’m just about to post a very slightly adapted version on my blog – I hope you don’t mind that I pretty much quote your recipe word for word – it is so well written and easy to follow I figured I couldn’t possibly write it any better! Now on to check out the rest of your blog… mmmmm

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Kristin August 29, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Delighted to hear you and your family enjoyed the recipe – and that you found it easy to follow!

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Leah October 25, 2012 at 4:35 pm

So what are your thoughts on making the filling ahead, stopping before the blue cheese is added, and then freezing? If possible, this would be a great last-minute dinner to make for unexpected guests. Plus I am always looking for healthy and easy meal options to leave for the family on nights I have to work.

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Kristin November 2, 2012 at 8:15 am

Sounds like a good idea to me! Let me know how it turns out when you try it. That would also be a handy method if you wanted to make a double batch and freeze half for another time.

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kelly December 8, 2012 at 10:53 pm

made this tonight with some grass-fed beef and plumped up the recipe with some parsnips along with the other vegetables in the recipe. made a home-made butter/flour crust for it though and put it in a 9 X 12 casserole dish. this is fantastic and my boys scarfed it up after basketball practice. i mean that they totally ate the entire thing along with some mashed potatoes/kale. i wish i had made a double batch to freeze. thank you!

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Kristin December 17, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Delighted to hear that you and your boys all enjoyed it so much! I know kids can be tough to please sometimes, so I’ll take that as high praise indeed. :)

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