I’ve been on a kick lately--comforting family style dishes by English cookbook authors have been my thing. Maybe it’s inspired by the cool Google hang-out chat with Nigella Lawson after trying one of her latest recipes out on my teenagers, or perhaps it’s because March weather in Portland is grey, chilly and dreary. Cold weather makes me want to hunker down, hibernate with my family at home and create soothing and hearty food.Saturday my son was not feeling well and lay sprawled on the couch most of the day sipping tea, watching basketball games and past episodes of his favorite show Psych. Beyond having a crush on Nigella Lawson, he thinks Jamie Oliver is a super cool dude, and I think secretly wants to be just like him. I think he’s off to a good start with the blond spiked hair and twinkly eyes.
This is one of my favorite pictures of him taken when he was about 11 years old at the Oregon Coast~
So to cheer him up and fill his stomach with something that would stick to the ribs and be comforting, I pulled up an online recipe from Jamie at Home and made a pretty cool dinner with the show stopping bonus of a gorgeous, lightly golden crisped lid of perfect puff pastry. I used winter root veggies, organic natural stew meat, freshly grated Oregon Tillamook cheddar and a pint of Guinness.
(to be perfectly honest, not quite the whole pint. A pint minus a few swigs) I was slightly preoccupied and ended up forgetting to put the additional top layer of cheese on before attaching the pastry lid, so I had to pull it gently off, sprinkle on the cheese and re-assemble. It looked more "rustic" due to my last second rescue attempt, but tasted divine.
Now, you can very easily go to the Jamie Oliver website and get an even more detailed recipe, but I went ahead and attached a slightly shorter version here too. The only thing I think I’ll change next time is that I wouldn’t put the bottom puff pastry layer into the pie dish, I’d simply top it with one, like a lid, then save the left-over piece of pastry for another recipe another day.
1. Preheat oven to 190C/375F/gas 5. In a large ovenproof pan heat a glug of oil on a low heat. Add the onions and fry gently for about 10 mins - try not to color them too much. Turn the heat up, add the garlic, butter, carrots and celery. Scatter in the mushrooms. Mix everything together before stirring in the beef, rosemary, salt and pepper. Fry fast for 3-4 mins, then pour in the Guinness, stir in the flour and add just enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer, cover the pan with a lid and place in the oven for about 1 1/2 hours. Remove the pan from the oven and give the stew a stir. Put it back in the oven and continue to cook it for another hour, or until the meat is tender and the stew is rich and thick.
2. A perfect pie filling needs to be robust, so if it's still liquidy, place the pan on the hob and reduce until it thickens. Remove from the heat, stir in half the cheese and leave to cool slightly.
3. Cut a third off the pastry block. Roll out each piece to the thickness of a pound coin. Line a greased pie dish with the larger sheet of pastry, leaving the edges dangling over the side. Tip in the stew then sprinkle the remaining cheese over. Brush the edges of the pastry with the egg.
4. Cut the other piece of the pastry to fit the top of the pie dish and criss cross it slightly with a sharp knife. Place it over the op of the pie and fold the over-hanging pastry onto the pastry lid to make it look nice and rustic. cook on the bottom of the oven for 45 mins.
I now thoroughly believe Guinness Steak and Cheddar Pie could be the cure for the common cold and the winter blues.