2 lbs boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 large onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 Tbsp water
1-1/2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Cup beef broth
1 Cup Guinness or other Irish stout beer
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Powder
2 tsp drained brined green peppercorns, coarsely chopped
2 fresh thyme sprigs
Rough puff pastry dough
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp water
Special equipment: 4 (14-oz) deep bowls or ramekins (4 to 5 inches wide) or similar-capacity ovenproof dishes
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat to 350°F.
Pat chuck roast dry. Stir together the dry ingredients: flour, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish. Dredge meat pieces in the seasoned flour mixture, turning to coat, then shake off excess and transfer beef chunks to a plate.
Heat olive oil in a wide 5- to 6-qt ovenproof heavy pot or dutch oven over moderately high heat until just smoking, then brown meat in the oil, in 3 batches, turning occasionally, about 5 min per batch. Transfer each batch of browned meat to a bowl.
Add onion, and garlic to the pan and cook, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of pot and stirring frequently, until onion is softened, about 5-10 min. Add the water and tomato paste to the pan and cook, stirring, 1 min more.
Return the browned beef to the pan with any juices that have accumulated in bowl, along with the broth, stout beer, Worcestershire powder, peppercorns, and thyme. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then cover the pan and transfer to oven. Braise until beef is very tender and sauce hass thickened, about 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours.
Remove and discard the sprig of thyme. Allow stew to cool completely, uncovered, about 30 min. A still-warm stew will melt the pastry dough in the subsequent step in the recipe.
Place a shallow baking sheet (like a jelly roll pan) on the middle rack of oven and increase oven temperature to 425°F.
Divide cooled stew among the four ovenproof ramekins, filling them a little over halfway full. With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out pastry dough on a lightly floured surface, like a marble pastry board, until dough is approx. 1/8″ thick, 13-in square. Divide dough into quarters.
Make an egg wash by stirring together egg and water, and brush mixture along a 1-in border around each of the four dough squares. Invert 1 square over each ramekin and press sides of dough lightly to help adhere to the dish. Brush top side of pastry dough with the remaining egg wash, and freeze the dough-topped stew ramekins for 15 min, to thoroughly chill dough before baking.
Bake pies in the oven, resting on the preheated shallow baking pan, until pastry has puffed up and looks and golden brown, about 20 min.
Reduce oven temperature to 400°F and bake another 5 min to assure dough has fully cooked.
We adapted this recipe from Gourmet!