Highland beef with pickled walnuts & puff pastry tops

Highland beef with pickled walnuts & puff pastry tops

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(20 ratings)

Ready in about 3½ hours, including cooking


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

  • Freezable


  • kcal900
  • fat54g
  • saturates17g
  • carbs37g
  • sugars5g
  • fibre2g
  • protein51g
  • salt1.51g
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    For the pastry puffs

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



      The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition packed with protein and a…

    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



      Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

    • 3 tbsp olive oil
      olive oil

      Olive oil

      ol-iv oyl

      Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

    • 100g smoked streaky bacon, roughly chopped
    • 3 large Spanish onions, finely chopped



      Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

    • 2 tbsp plain flour
    • 350ml port
    • 390g jar pickled walnuts, halved (reserve 2 tbsp pickling vinegar)



      Walnuts are one of the most popular and versatile of all nuts. When picked young, they're…

    • 3 tbsp chopped fresh flatleaf parsley, plus extra to serve


    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.

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    Comments, questions and tips

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    divadesfeuers's picture
    5th Jan, 2011
    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.
    19th Jan, 2009
    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.
    16th May, 2008
    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.
    12th Mar, 2008
    Very tasty and rich. Went down a treat on Burn's Night.
    1st Mar, 2008
    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.
    Scottie pottie
    13th Oct, 2014
    Pickled something is definitely needed, maybe use a strong beer instead of stout but there really is no substitute for stout. The recipe says to use one and a half kilograms of beef. Try it, it really is one of the best recipes ever!
    28th Feb, 2008
    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
    26th Jan, 2008
    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
    19th Jan, 2008
    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......
    5th Dec, 2007
    Excellent ! did this over the weekend, it was well recieved


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