My husband asked me to make him steak and Guinness pie. I normally take the time to render bacon fat to brown the meat and veggies in and make my own puff pastry. . .the works! But with a little one in the house now, a bowl of cereal is as gourmet as we've been getting lately. So I decided to pull out my slow cooker; a tool I honestly never really used but it is slowly creeping on to my favorites list.
I decided to go the lazy way, especially since I wasn't even sure this was going to work. I just tossed everything into the slow cooker: cubed beef chuck, onions, carrots, garlic, and a bottle of Guinness. Five hours later, I had something that somewhat resembled my labor-intensive steak and ale pie, and it definitely needed a little more doctoring. I tossed in some potatoes, thyme, and a few slices of crispy, crumbled up bacon. An hour later I had what I was looking for.
But what to do about my husband's favorite part--the puff pastry surrounding the pie? The bottom always gets mushy and full of flavor from all the juices; it truly is wonderful, even though I know the sound of mushy puff pastry doesn't exactly sound wonderful. The top was crispy, flakey, perfect. Store bought puff pastry to the rescue!
After the pastry puffed up nicely in the oven, I laid half of the sheet in a bowl and spooned the steak and ale mixture into it. It had all the right flavors and textures. It didn't look the same--and it was a lot easier--but it was perfect.
Want to try it yourself? Get the recipe here.