Beef and stout pie

Old McCarthy’s Beef and Stout Pie

This beef and Irish stout pie recipe, is from Old Franky McCarthy, a great friend of the family and a grand old man, who liked a jar or two of Murphy’s Irish stout, and the occasional pint of Beamish. He ran a Baker’s shop in East Cork, near the Celtic Sea coast, many, many moons ago. Old Mac’s recipe has been cherished by pie bakers in the family for years, and produces a delicious, golden topped Irish stout pie.

Recipe Details

Cuisine: South of Ireland

Recipe Type: A Main meal

Difficulty Rating: Medium

Preparation Time: 30 mins

Cooking Time: 180 mins

Serves: 8


18 oz ready-made puff pastry

5 tbsp Rape Seed oil

7 oz smoky streaky bacon rashers, cut into strips

2 medium onions, sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

30 oz well marbled braising steak

2 cups of bottled Irish stout, Guinness, Murphy’s, Beamish or O’Hara’s

2 cups of quality beef stock

1 tbsp tomato puree

3 sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped from their stalks

2 bay leaves

2 tbsp cornflour, blended with 2 tbsp water

9 oz small chestnut mushrooms, wiped and halved

1 pinch sea salt

1 pinch black pepper

2 free range eggs

Step-by-step Instructions

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil in a frying pan. Fry the smoked bacon strips with the onions until golden brown, stir regularly. Add the garlic and fry for about a minute and a half until softened. With a slotted spoon, transfer the onions, garlic and bacon to a heat-proof casserole dish.
  • Cut the steak into rough 2cm cubes and season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil in the frying pan and fry the meat over a medium heat in 2 or 3 batches until browned all over. Add extra oil if the pan is dry. Transfer the beef to the casserole dish when browned.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas mark 4. Deglaze the frying pan with half of the Irish stout. Bring it to the boil while stirring hard to lift and blend the sediment from the bottom of the pan. Pour this over the beef in the casserole dish.
  • Add the remaining stout, then the stock, tomato paste and herbs to the casserole dish. Bring everything to the boil, then cover and cook in the oven for 1.5 to 2 hours or until the meat is tender. Remove the casserole dish from the oven, stir in the cornflour paste, then put it back for 5 minutes or until all the juices have thickened. Adjust the seasoning to taste and leave to cool. Turn the oven up to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas mark 6.
  • Heat the remaining sunflower oil in a frying pan and fry the chestnut mushrooms over a high heat for about 5 minutes until golden brown, then add them to the meat. Spoon everything into the pie dish around a pie bird or venting funnel.
  • Roll out the pastry on a well-floured surface until about 5mm thick and at least 5cm larger than your pie dish. Cut strips that are around 1cm wide, from around the edge of the rolled pastry. Brush the rim of the pie dish with beaten egg and fix the strips in place round the rim of the pie dish, overlapping a little bit if necessary, then brush with more egg.
  • Place the pastry top carefully over the filling. Trim off the excess pastry with a knife and knock up the edges. Brush the top with the beaten free range egg. Cut leaf designs from excess pastry and brush with egg, place firmly on pastry top.
  • Place the dish on a baking tray and bake in the middle of the oven for 30–35 minutes until puffed up and golden.

Cork: The Home of Old McCarthy’s Beef and Stout Pie and the Blarney Stone

When in East Cork, why not have a lovely chilled pint of locally brewed stout from the wide range available including Murphy’s, Beamish and Shandon Stout. Irish stout is known to bring a warm glow and a massive increase in your blarney level. Old McCarthy, the creator of this recipe, had naturally high levels of blarney. His neighbours, near the four-faced liar church clock in Shandon, above the River Lee, would always tell him to pipe down after a night on the stout.

However, if you’re lacking in blarney, why not up your blarney levels, by visiting Blarney Castle and kissing the Blarney Stone?

Just north west of the city of Cork City, Blarney Castle is one of Cork’s and Ireland’s biggest attractions. This old medieval castle is known worldwide as the home of the Blarney Stone, said to give those who kiss the enchanted stone the most famous of Irish qualities the “gift of the gab.”

Built over six centuries ago by the Irish warrior leader Cormac MacCarthy, this fortress attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world. Once inside the castle walls, visitors can climb the battlements and kiss the stone and take in panoramic views of the Cork countryside. You can also explore this massive stone building and its gruesome dungeons.

Outside the fortress walls, there are well-kept gardens and other notable attractions like the Wishing Step, the Cave of the Badger, the Witches Stone, and the Witches Kitchen.

Where to find Blarney Castle: Monacnapa, Blarney, Co. Cork, just north west of Cork City.

Official website:

When life looks as black as night, A pint of the black stuff will put you right. – Old Franky McCarthy, Master Beef and Stout pie maker.