New Year’s Eve…. okay, I’m usually rushing around clearing away the last of the Christmas…(debris?) gifts and decorations and okay, I’ll admit it – clutter. This year it’s the pile we unloaded from the car the other day. We’ve managed to retrieve the candy from our stockings but otherwise it’s a tangle of dirty clothes, and gift boxes. If it’s just us – we’ll skip dinner and head to the junk food aisle to stock up before flopping on the floor in front of the t.v. – yeah, kids change things. For the better, I must say as I think back to all the glittery frocks I’ve owned (and worn) in this lifetime.
But now that we’re having Company in the form of all these glorious authors, well… I’m afraid a bag of Doritos with the Dr. Pepper chaser won’t do, so it’s time to brush off a holiday favorite for this time of year… Beef and Guinness Pie.
Preheat oven 350 degrees
3-4 onions carmelized in a couple tsp of olive oil
two sprigs of rosemary
4 large cloves of garlic
stew meat – aprox. 1 1/2 lbs
8-12 oz of Fresh Crimini/Brown/Portobello Mushrooms
Stout Beer – aprox 1 pint
nob of butter (2 tbsp-ish)
2 cups of extra sharp white cheddar cheese
1 Package Puff Pastry or Pie Crust for Deep Dish 9-10″ Pie
Step one: slice and well caramelize onions in a dutch oven or other oven safe pan w/lid. These melt into the beer to make a glorious sauce. Don’t be shy, the more the merrier.
When dark brown add in the other aromatics – strip rosemary leaves and finely mince (if you don’t want to pick needles out of your teeth) stir into onions along with 4 large cloves of garlic… now if you have patience (which I sometimes do) grate the garlic over the pan… otherwise finely dice, throw in, mix well.
Step two: on to the beef (well seasoned in salt & pepper, excess fat trimmed)… I toss in 2 tablespoons flour also heavily seasoned with salt and freshly ground pepper… The meat is not browned completely, though I push the veg aside add another teaspoon or so of oil to brown the beef and cook off some of the raw flourness as I go. Please note, other than the onions, the goal is not to cook anything stove top…
Step three: I add crimini mushrooms in an amount approximately equal to the beef. For this quantity probably 8-12 oz cut into similarly sized chunks. This adds flavor and extends the meat. You can sub portobello mushrooms here prepared in a large dice.
Step four: mix all the above and toss in a generous nob of butter and add a pint of stout to the pan… just until it barely reaches the top of the Veg & meat… you can add stock, or more stout if need be… we don’t bother with anything but the stout… but, well… that’s the point, right? **** don’t over liquify! the idea is for it to reduce greatly in the two hours to have a thick glossy filling which we will be using as a pie filling… less is more, just drink any excess you have, use restraint!)
Into a 350 degree oven (in my convection I also select “roast” to activate the elements, it’s just better…) If you find that after an hour of cooking your ingredients are still swimming, take the lid off and watch it. The filling should be thick not loose at all.
Should smell great already. after two hours, it should have thickened… take out of oven
while you prepare crust… (commercial puff pastry works well… I make the best crust by hand, comes out halfway bewteen puff pastry and regular crust… but again, that’s me…. find an oven proof bowl, casserole, deep dish pie plate… something the right size for the filling – use plenty of crust – this is a rustic dish, no neat sides here…
Step five: Before you fill the crust, stir in aprox 1 cup of good white cheddar cheese – grated… I use a cabot extra sharp from vermont (inexpensive at Trader Joes, with great flavor) stir it in, then fill the crust… just before adding top crust, add another cup of the shredded cheese to the top of the filling, and top with the crust.
back in the oven… for another 40 – 45 minutes until bubbly and golden.. (don’t forget docking/slitting the crust to release steam…)
Ironically, being a vegetarian I’ve never actually eaten this dish, though the people around tend to lick my hand in gratitiude once they’ve tried it… It might be in one of Oliver’s books somewhere… LE