Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Legend Of the Beer Pie

Let's be real here for a moment: I'm not a very good cook. I mean, yes, I'm good at a few things as long as either a frying pan or bbq is involved, but in the kitchen, I'm no Gordon Ramsay.

Except for the swearing part. That I've got down pat. It's like Tarantino writes the recipes.

However, there is one huge exception here, and that's my ability to create amazing meat-and-beer pies. Here's one:

Baaaaaaam, son!

Even though I've inexplicably cropped the bottom off the picture by making sure the Alcan tinfoil box is clearly visible in the background, you get the idea. That pie weighs more than the moon. Five different types of meat, a pound of mushrooms, onions, garlic, peas, two pints of beer and I forget what else. Everything, probably.
It's like the Ark, but with a crust. The Health Canada Nutrition label would either read, "4000% of your recommended dose of everything" or possibly just, "NO. BAD." It's the sort of pie about which even Caligula would say, "A second slice? No thanks, that would be a bit excessive."

Here's another one:

Epic, n'est-ce pas? You can just imagine scarfing the whole thing down and then bloatedly clambering into that papasan chair in a (vain) attempt to digest it, much like a boa constrictor that's swallowed a whole antelope. Made of butter.

So how do you get two pints of beer into a pie? Well, you reduce it, then reduce it, then reduce it some more. It basically takes me 3+ hours to make the filling, finishing off by adding a roux to the remaining liquid to enhance inner pie solidity. If you don't know what a roux is, it's basically how a Frenchman commits seppuku.

Anyway, if you want the recipe, there really isn't one. You basically need to approach the creation of pies of this magnitude in the same way you would master a martial art. First start out with some light combat pastries and work your way up.

*Note: this Pie not recommended by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of B.C.
** This one neither.


  1. Just what I needed on a dreary January morning after reading Malcolm Parry's column with my second cup of espresso - a non-recipe for what could be the perfect meal for my carnivore friends - and then discover that it's even less than a non-recipe. Okay, I can cut a decent crust, and I've built some beer-based stews, but I'm confused about the reduction of the beer. Separately? Once it's added to the meat/veg mix? And, five meats? Okay, maybe a little excessive, but interesting nontheless. Thanks, I think.

  2. Hi Wayne.

    Decased sausages work well, and I usually make this pie after there's been a turkey cooked (i.e. post-Easter or Christmas) as use the leftovers. The reducing takes HOURS, and I basically stew it all together at low heat until everything's pretty soft. Works best with malty beers and heavy stouts, and adding the more delicate veggies and mushrooms closer to the end.

  3. Beer is such a great ingredient! Try using barley wine to blow the richness level into the stratosphere!