We originally got this recipe from ThinkGeek on their Pi Day blog post in 2012. This is a great place to get awesome pie recipes of all types, and this one really appealed to us. We love meat, Shawn loves beer (and I love beer in things), so we decided to give it a try.
When we first did it, we stuck to the recipe as it was written. Pastry shells, frozen veg and regular brown gravy were the norm. But, like most of the things we make, we started tweaking it until we had one of our favourite things to eat: Guinness Shepherds Pie.
You will need (for a single batch):
1 pound of lean ground beef or pork (get it ground fresh from a butcher. It’ll taste better.)
1-2 minced onions (we like more onion, so we usually do 2 small ones)
Minced garlic to taste (fresh or freeze dried works, and freeze dried is just as tasty and a lot faster to prep)
Enough olive oil to saute the onions and garlic properly (Our choice is a Tuscan Herb Olive Oil. It adds a little kick without overpowering anything.)
Half a small can of tomato paste
One packet of Knorr Hunter Gravy
One can of Guinness Beer
One large carrot, coarsely grated
Enough radishes to cover the meat layer (when thinly sliced)
One can each of peas and corn niblets (try and find unsweetened, unsalted corn and rinse with water before adding.)
Pepper to taste
An 8-serving batch of Idahoan Instant Mashed Potatoes (you can use fresh, but this tastes just as good, is quicker and reheats better)
Start off by heating the oil in a large saute or sauce pan. Once it has reached the right temperature, add your minced onions and cook until just translucent. Add your garlic, and continue cooking until well caramelized. Add your beef or pork and brown until cooked through. Draining is optional, and if you have a lean enough meat, it shouldn’t be necessary. Add the tomato paste, gravy powder and veggies and stir to mix before adding the can of beer. Simmer over low to medium-low heat until sauce is reduced and thickened. Add pepper if you think it needs it (we usually add salt and pepper when the onions are first on).
While the meat mixture is simmering, preheat the oven to 350 F. Cook the instant potatoes according the package directions and put aside. Once the meat mixture has reduced (and you have the flavour where you’d like it), spread it into a glass or ceramic baking dish that will hold it and have about half the room left over for the potatoes. Layer the thinly sliced radishes on top in a single later. Top with the potatoes, and sprinkle with cheese if desired.
Put in the over and bake for about 20 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly. Let stand for five minutes before serving and enjoying!
Most of the steps are the same from the original recipe; we’ve just changed out some of the ingredients for “upgrades” and switched up how the whole thing is assembled. This makes a hearty meal that will easily serve four adults, and is easy to double if you have more people to feed. For doubling, we add the whole can of tomato paste and stick to the single can of beer. The flavours still balance out and the beer isn’t over powering.
You can also add whichever veggies you feel will work for you. We started off using frozen peas and found that the canned ones turned out to be flavourful, and held up better during reheating. Experiment with it. Try it out. Definitely let me know if you try it, what you thought, and about any changes you make.