Highland beef with pickled walnuts & puff pastry tops

Highland beef with pickled walnuts & puff pastry tops

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(17 ratings)

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Cooking time

Ready in about 3½ hours, including cooking

Skill level

Easy

Servings

Serves 8

A rich beef stew that gets better the longer it's kept. The pickled walnuts add a tangy touch. Make up to three days ahead

Nutrition and extra info

Additional info

  • Freezable
Nutrition info

Nutrition

kcalories
900
protein
51g
carbs
37g
fat
54g
saturates
17g
fibre
2g
sugar
5g
salt
1.51g

Ingredients

For the pastry puffs

  • 375g pack ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten

For the stew

  • 1½ kg stewing beef, cut into 5cm/2in pieces, excess fat removed
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 x 440ml cans of dark stout such as Scottish Oatmeal Stout or Guinness
  • 85g butter
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g smoked streaky bacon, roughly chopped
  • 3 large Spanish onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 350ml port
  • 390g jar pickled walnuts, halved (reserve 2 tbsp pickling vinegar)
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh flatleaf parsley, plus extra to serve

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Method

  1. Up to three days before, make the pastry puffs. Preheat the oven to fan 180C/conventional 200C/ gas 6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry a little thinner and stamp out sixteen 6cm rounds. Put the rounds on a baking sheet and brush with the egg. Sprinkle with salt and bake in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Cool on a wire rack, then store in an airtight container until ready to serve.
  2. Make the stew. Put the beef, garlic and bay leaf in a large non-metallic bowl and pour in the stout. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably overnight.
  3. Preheat the oven to fan 130C/ conventional 150C/gas 2. Drain the meat and pat dry on kitchen paper. Set aside the marinade liquid.
  4. Heat both half the butter and oil in a large lidded ovenproof casserole. Over a high heat, brown the beef in batches until each piece is sealed and dark brown. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon as you go. Set aside.
  5. Wipe the dish with kitchen paper, melt the remaining butter and oil and fry the bacon and onions for 10-15 minutes until the onions are golden brown, very soft and well reduced.
  6. Stir in the flour until blended, add the port and reserved marinade and return the beef to the dish. Bring to the boil, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook in the oven for 2½ -3 hours or until the meat is very tender (no need to season). Cool, put in a large sealed container and store in the fridge, or freeze for up to 1 month.
  7. To serve, return to the casserole and bring slowly to the boil (if frozen, defrost and continue as above). Add pickled walnuts and reserved pickling vinegar and simmer for 30 minutes until hot. Stir through the parsley. Re-heat the pastries at fan 180C/ conventional 200C/gas 6 for 3-4 minutes. To serve, ladle into bowls, top with a couple of pastry puffs and sprinkle with a little chopped parsley.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, January 2004

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Comments

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aimsy123's picture

I put in a spoonful of extra flour, which was good and made the sauce thicker. This recipe uses a LOT of port! In the end I wish it had a deeper "beefy" flavour, but it went down very well, and was relatively easy to cook. I also put the pastry on top as a pie lid, which worked really well, and looked impressive.

skiffgirl's picture

First used this recipe in 2004 when it appeared in the magazine as part of a whole Burns night menu feature. It is excellent. I didn't use pickled walnuts but put in some chestnuts which worked fine.

lynnegraham44's picture
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Easy to make and impressive supper dish for friends. Leftovers absolutely devoured by kids the day after. Never used pickled walnuts before but seemed OK although don't worry if you decide to leave them out. Served with mash and spinach.

acatraps's picture
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After 2 hours of cooking, I sampled the sauce and found it to be too sweet, so I added a splash of red wine vinegar and I found it needed a lot of seasoning. This may be because I couldn't find any pickled walnuts so this worked instead. I cooked this for 4 hours in total and the beef was so tender. It went down a treat at the dinner party.

canoedolly's picture
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Still in love with this recipe, almost a year later!

muishkas's picture
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This was yummy. But instead of stout I used beef stock. Also instead of pickled walnuts I added real ones, and a touch of vinegar.

Served this recipe in large Vol Au Vents. Yumm!!!

canoedolly's picture
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Outstanding!!! I made this for our wedding anniversary aka Robbie Burns Day, the make-ahead feature being most welcome for a weekday dinner that was to be somewhat special. I substituted a Pinot Noir for the port; this worked well.

Next time, and certainly there WILL be a next time judging by family reaction, I shall find a pickled walnut substitute. The flavour appeared to be all in the pickling liquid for this costly item ($10 CDN for a 390g jar here in SW Ontario). As this could have been pickled 'anything', the walnuts being largely indistinguishable tastewise...turnip/swede seemed a reasonable sub....I'll try my hand at an online recipe. Or dump in malt vinegar, worcestershire, an a spot of tamarind if in a rush.

divadesfeuers's picture
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This is one of the most flavoured, delicious stews I've every cooked. I made it for my birthdayparty and everyone was delighted and asked for the recipe. The best thing is that it is really easy to prepare.

annmariepg's picture
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Made this at New Year for our party of 14.Not only did it taste fantastic,it could be prepared ahead which greatly reduced my stress level and allowed me plenty of time with our guests . Served it as suggested with baked haggis,braised leeks and tatties and neeps. Everyone had seconds so it really must have deserved all those positive comments.

mellie_mac's picture
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This has become my daughter's favourite meal (with the neeps and tatties!) She asks for it whenever we have a something to celebrate. Delicious flavour and so easy. I use beef stock in place of the port and it still comes out lovely and rich.

essgeebee's picture
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Very tasty and rich. Went down a treat on Burn's Night.

sasibbit's picture

I haven't made this recipe yet, but would like to. Unfortunately, I live in Portugal and feel that pickled walnuts and stout might be a little difficult to get hold of. Also, the recipe does not say how much beef to use.

alisonwheeler's picture
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We had 12 guests round for Burns Supper, and this went down a treat, I could have made double and it would have gone - aong with the Whiskey!

Thanks

nicniclambert's picture
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we all loved this one!!!! made this for burns night for my partners birthday meal. didnt put in the oven though, put it in the slow cooker for 8 hours, wow....how lovely!!!! the boys were spooning the gravy out of the slow cooker.....

maylogan's picture
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We get together with a group of friends to have dinner parties and make one course each. Made this for a Burns' Supper in 2004 and have just rediscovered it in time for ///25th Jan 2008. It was fantastic the first time so fingers crossed......

steve147's picture

Excellent ! did this over the weekend, it was well recieved

hotnspicy's picture

Hi, l live in ltaly and l would like to make this dish but where can l find pickled walnuts? Thanks Josie

limoncello's picture
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Made a great dish for a winter dinner party with mustard mash and fine green beans. My dinner guests felt loved with this delicious casserole. Hugged but on the inside!

emilyedinburgh's picture
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Made this dish for a lunch party and it gots lots of positive feedback about it. Make sure you are organised and prepare your marinade and pastry puffs a couple days beforehand. A very easy dish to make and only need to put it in the oven on the day of serving so frees you up to enjoy yourself!

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