Monday, March 10, 2014

Archive Recipe of the Week: Beef and Guinness Stew or Pot Pie

St. Patrick’s Day is just a week away and I have nothing to report that is either green or Guinness-y. That just leaves me the perfect opportunity to give some love to this Beef and Guinness Stew that I tend to serve every year.

In the past, I’ve presented this as a pot pie because I served it in individual stew bowls with a puff pastry lid. You wouldn’t have to do that. Well, you wouldn’t have to, but I highly recommend it. In fact, you could do that with just about any thick stew. Just give it a pastry covering of some kind and you have pot pie.

This is just such a good stew/pot pie, however, that I don’t want you to miss out on it’s fabulous beefy and peppery flavors just because you don’t have pastry skills or some kind of frozen or refrigerated pastry on hand. It’s usually pretty easy for me to pass up a beef dish, but when that beef is flavorfully slow-cooked, I’m in trouble. It’s also easy for me to pass up a bottle of beer, but when you give the dark, rich flavor of Guinness to a slow cooked beef stew, we’re talking about something different entirely. Something so good it’s worthy of a celebration.

Don’t let the brined green peppercorns in the ingredient list scare you. They’re just black peppercorns in a younger stage bottled in brine. They’re delicious and if you haven’t tried them, I’d recommend getting your hands on a bottle to use in this stew. In fact, I can’t think of any other recipe I use them in and I still find them to be worth the purchase. You can find them near the capers (and pickles, etc.) in supermarkets.

And – trust me – it’s worth saving out one bottle of Guinness just to make this stew. Celebrate responsibly!

Beef and Guinness Stew or Pot Pie
Modified from Gourmet magazine

Making this stew into a pot pie is optional, but really good.

2 lb boneless beef chuck
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
2 Tbs canola or vegetable oil, divided
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 ½ Tbs tomato paste
1 ½ cups beef broth
1 (11.2 ounce) bottle Guinness or other Irish stout
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp drained brined green peppercorns, coarsely chopped
2 fresh thyme sprigs or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 pound peeled potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
½ (17.3 ounce) package puff pastry (1 sheet) (or more if needed), thawed

1. Pat the beef dry with paper towels if it is damp on the surface. Cut the beef into 1-2 inch cubes. Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the cubed beef and toss to coat with the flour mixture.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot, such as a Dutch oven, over medium heat. Add the beef in one layer and cook, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the browned beef from the pot and place in a clean bowl or on a clean plate. Repeat with the remaining beef, adding more of the oil as needed.

3. When all the beef has been browned, add the onion to the pan. Cook over medium heat 3 minutes. Add garlic and ½ cup beef broth. Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.

4. Stir in the tomato paste and cook 1 minute. Add the beef and any juices that may have accumulated in the bowl. Add the remaining 1 cup broth, Guinness, Worcestershire sauce, brined green peppercorns and thyme.

5. Bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer 1 hour. Add the potatoes. Simmer about 1 hour more or until the beef is very tender. Remove the lid for the last 30 minutes to thicken the stew if desired. Remove the stems from the thyme sprigs if you used fresh thyme. The stew can be made ahead of time or served without a pastry covering at this point.

6. Preheat the oven to 450 F. Spoon stew into 4 oven-proof single-serving crocks or soup bowls. Cut the puff pastry sheet into 4 squares. (You can cut it smaller or larger, or use more than one sheet, depending on the size of the bowls you are using.) Place 1 sheet of puff pastry on top of each filled bowl. Gently press to adhere to the sides of the bowl. Cut 2 to 3 slits in the top of the pastry to allow steam to escape as it bakes.

7. Place the pot pies on a baking sheet for easy transfer to the oven. Bake at 450 F 10-15 minutes or until the puff pastry is well browned. Remove from the oven and let stand 5-10 minutes. The stew under the pastry will be very hot.

Makes about 4 servings

One year ago: Orange Butter Cookies

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