Hearty Beef and Stout Pie

An amazing weeknight meal, this meat pie will become a winter favorite. The saying "easy as pie" really does apply to pie crust. Don't be scared to make a simple pie crust at home, it's super easy and totally worth it!. You can use a premade frozen pie crust if you so choose, but have a little fun and give it a try. 

Ingredients for Pie Crust:

The trick to a GREAT pie crust is COLD butter and COLD water. 

1 1/2 cups of flour 
1 tsp of salt 
1/2 cup of COLD butter cut into chunks--we really like using a stick of butter and cutting it into 8 tbsps
3-5 tbsps of COLD water 

Instructions for Pie Crust:

With a fork stir together the flour and salt. Add butter, and work it in roughly with your fingers, a pastry cutter, or a mixer. Don't mix too much, you want big chunks and little chunks mixed throughout this. 
Add 2 tablespoons of water and toss the mixture lightly until just combined.
Add a tablespoon at a time and toss until you get a chunky mixture. It should barely hold together when you squeeze a handful of the mixture, the rest of the mixture can still look dry and that's okay. 
Dump mixture onto a board and press it together to form a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes. This is where the magic happens---this keeps the butter cold and allows the flour to absorb water making it easier to roll out. 

Ingredients for Beef and Stout Pie:

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb of Duncan Farms Ground Beef
1 packet of Duncan Farms Shiitake Mushrooms reconstituted
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 onion chopped
1/2 tbsp of dried thyme 
1/2 a can/bottle ( about 8oz) of your favorite local stout. We love Straight to Ale Stout at the Devil 
1/2 cup of water
( you can replace the stout and water with 1 cup of good beef stock--just add less salt when cooking the meat)
1/2 cup of chopped carrots
1 cup of frozen peas 
1-2 tbsps of flour for thickening
1 Duncan Farms Egg 
1 pie crust 
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions for Beef and Stout Pie

Preheat oven to 375F.
Heat oil in a 9-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add beef, mushrooms and salt and pepper ( about 1/2 tablespoon of each), and cook, breaking up the beef with a spoon, until browned. Drain any fat. 

Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add in onions, thyme and flour. Stir for about a minute and then add the stout ,(or 1/2 cup of stock), and simmer until thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of water ( or the other 1/2 cup of stock if not using stout). Add carrots and peas and return to simmer. 

Roll out your pastry to about a 12" circle on a flour dusted surface(  or to just large enough to cover your cast iron skillet).
If you have made the pie crust and left it in the fridge longer than 30 minutes, take it out and let it thaw for 5 minutes before trying to roll it out, this will make it easier to roll.
Dust your rolling pin in flour before rolling out the pastry. Roll away from you a few times, and turn the dough 90 degrees after a few rolls to keep the dough from sticking and to roll a perfect circle. You can always add a little more flour underneath when you turn the dough as well.
Once rolled out to about 12" in size, dust a little flour on the top of your pie crust and use the rolling pin to roll it up. Start at one end of your skillet and unroll the pie crust over it to create a pie crust top. Gently tuck the edges of the dough around the inside of the skillet. Beat one egg and brush on the pie crust. Cut a slit into the middle as a vent. 
Bake until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.  If you don't have a cast iron pan, pour your mixture into a pie dish and put the pie crust over it.