Happy St Patrick’s Day! I couldn’t resist sharing a dish containing some good Irish alcohol.
Beef and Guinness is a pretty traditional filling for pies, so I thought I would twist that slightly by replacing the meat with some tasty lentils instead. Lentils never used to be an ingredient that I cooked with but they are actually very flexible. If you have family members who insist on meat in every dinner, these brown lentils might fool them as they look like, and have a similar texture, to cooked beef mince (ground). When I asked my meat pie loving husband what he thought of this filling, he said that he really didn’t miss the meat.
If helps that the Guinness forms a rich brown gravy that itself almost tastes meaty. The addition of the mushrooms gives extra bulk to the mix, and I also threw in a little grated cheese on top of the filling because I love pies that have gooey cheese inside 🙂
This recipe makes 12-15 mini pies, (depending on whether you want to use more than 1 muffin pan), but you can also make a large pie if you prefer or are limited to the amount of pastry that you have in your freezer. To make a large pie you would only need 2-3 sheets of pastry, depending on how big your pie dish is.
Ingredients – makes 12-15 mini pies:
- 1 tbsp oil, olive or vegetable
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 12 button mushrooms, finely diced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 400g/14 oz can brown lentils, drained and rinsed
- 1 and 1/4 cups Guinness or other dark beer
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- freshly ground black pepper, to season
- 2 teaspoons cornflour
- 5 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed (my sheets are 25cm/10inches square)
- approx 150g/5 oz grated cheese, optional
- a little milk, to glaze
- Heat the oil in a medium saucepan then add the garlic and onion. Cook over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until the onion just begins to soften.
- Add the mushrooms and thyme to the pan, stir and cook for 2 minutes or until just softened.
- Add the lentils, Guinness, tomato paste and a good seasoning of black pepper. Stir, bring to the boil and then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Put the cornflour into a small bowl and add a little water to form a smooth paste. Add the paste to the lentil mixture and stir to combine. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and leave the pie filling to cool. The sauce will thicken on cooling.
- Heat your oven to 200C/180C fan forced/390F.
- Grease the 12 holes of a muffin pan.
- Cut 24 rounds (measuring 9cm/3.5in) out of your pastry sheets. Use 12 rounds to line the holes of the muffin pan, then fill with the lentil mixture.
- Add a little grated cheese (if using) to each pie, then top each pie with with a pastry round to form the lid. Press each pie lid into its hole as they will puff when cooking.
- Glaze each pie with a little milk. I topped my pies with some freshly ground black pepper.
- Cook for 25-30 minutes or until the pies are golden. Don’t worry too much if the lids puff up quite a bit and the filling bubbles out.
- Remove from the oven and leave the pies to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes.
- Once the pies are cool enough to touch you can gently press down any lids that have separated from their filling.
- Serve with your favourite sauce/ketchup – tomato works well as the sweetness of the sauce is perfect with the tangy pie filling.