Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Steak and Guinness Pie (Stew)

This is a recipe borrowed from Jamie Oliver - one of the best chefs ever!  Sometimes I make it as a stew but mostly I make it as a pie with a puff pastry topper.  For my girls' dinner last night, I made the stew with puff pastry cutouts in deference to Weight Watchers...here's the drill.

Slice meat into bite-sized chunks and dredge in flour and salt and pepper.  Heat some olive oil in the bottom of a Dutch oven and brown meat in batches.  Don't crowd the pan. I use sirloin grilling steak for this recipe so the meat is always tender without a lot of cooking.

Once all the meat is browned, add one chopped cooking onion (or whatever kind of onion you have on hand) and 4 minced garlic cloves to the pan and brown.

Once the onion is softened, you are going to add some liquids to deglaze the pan.  The best kind there is for a rich brown gravy in the stew - Guinness!

Start by adding the Guinness to the pot and stirring to loosen all the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. 

Once you've done that, add the entire can of tomatoes to the pot and stir. 

Next you are going to add the veggies to the stew - one stalk of celery.

2 or 3 carrots...

and 2 or 3 parsnips.  Yes I know you hate parsnips.  We all hate parsnips but trust me, you'll never know they are in there.  They just add another layer of flavour.  Just try it - you can always fish them out later if you really don't like them.  When I've served this, people haven't known they were eating parsnips unless I told them.

Last but not least is potatoes - definitely not least if you are Irish like me and we are all Irish when we are drinking Guinness!

Add it all to the pot and stir to combine.

Add enough beef broth to raise the liquid about one inch above the stew.  Then stir to combine and let simmer about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

I like to add fresh rosemary to the stew for flavour but any herb you like would taste great.  I also like to add fresh parsley near the end of the cooking time.  If you don't have fresh, don't hesitate to use dry - it's all good.  While you are simmering the stew, stir regularly so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.  Because you've used such nice tender beef, you are only worrying about cooking the vegetables and thickening the gravy.  Once that is done, you are ready to eat.  If you are just having stew, then you are done.  But if you are making Steak and Guinness Pie, there is one  more step.  Heat your oven to 400 degrees, and cool your stew.  Put it into a couple of casserole dishes or small individual dishes.  Cover with puff pastry - I use President's Choice puff pastry which I think is the best.  You have to thaw it a bit so you can unroll it and cut it out.  Beat an egg with a little water and use a pastry brush to brush the edges of the dishes to help seal the pastry to the casseroles. Cut vents in the top of the pastry and brush with egg mixture.  Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes until the pastry is puffed and browned and yummy!  This freezes well so if you decide to put some in the freezer, don't bake it - just add the puff pastry and freeze. Then take it out in the morning and thaw in the fridge all day.  When you get home from work, bake at 400 but for about 45 minutes or until it is heated through and pastry is browned.

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