I’ve been thinking quite a bit about locally grown food lately — not unusual for me by any means, but my thoughts have just been more intensely focused. So it shouldn’t be unusual for an article like “Butchers’ Banquet: England’s Lincolnshire Wolds” published in the October 2011 issue of Saveur to have an impact on me. I’m always looking for truly good recipes for traditional food, and even though I’m not British, I have solid connections. In 1881 at the age of three, my great-grandfather sailed with his family from Newport, Wales to San Francisco hoping to find inexpensive land where his family might grow apples. But that’s a story for another day.
This is more about the group of men mentioned in the article who have gotten together over years and years to enjoy a Sunday meal each week. They know where the food has been grown, how it’s been grown, and have prepared it to showcase its quality. Of course, it helps that they’re in the business. I’d like to be invited to a table like that to hear the talk and understand more about what they know. I’ll work on that from here in San Diego and maybe, just maybe, by the end of this year, I’ll know more about the more than 6,000 farms in our county and the farmers who tend them.
In the meantime, I thought I’d share these great Steak & Guinness pies with you. My father-in-law loves Stilton and will jump at any excuse to tuck his napkin into his shirt and cozy up to a plate of hot food like this with a pint. The recipe isn’t challenging, but does take some time, so plan ahead. It’s worth it.
Steak & Guinness Pie Recipe
¼ c. olive oil
1-1/4 lb. beef chuck, cut into 1″ cubes
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 large yellow onions, sliced
2 ribs celery, thickly sliced
2 small carrots, thickly sliced
2 T fresh rosemary, chopped
1 12-oz. bottle Guinness
1/4 cup flour
2 c. vegetable stock
2 tsp. mustard powder
1 bay leaf
1 T olive oil
10 oz. mushrooms, quartered
6 oz. English Stilton, crumbled
1 medium zucchini, sliced quartered
1 egg, lightly beaten
For the crust, use the dough recipe from my Cornish Pasties .
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Season beef with salt and pepper, then brown in batches, removing to a bowl as it finishes.
- Add the garlic, onions, celery, carrots, and rosemary to the skillet and saute until softened and just beginning to brown.
- Pour in the Guinness and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 20 minutes.
- Sprinkle the flour into the mixture and cook, stirring until mixed.
- Add the browned beef to mixture along with any juices that have accumulated in the bowl, the stock, mustard, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook partially covered, about 1½ hours.
- Make the dough for the tops while the beef is cooking. Wrap in plastic and chill until ready to use.
- After the beef mixture is done, remove it from the heat and set it aside.
- In another skillet, heat the 1 T of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and zucchini and cook, stirring, until browned, then add to the beef mixture.
- Add the Stilton to the mixture and stir in. Correct seasoning.
- Heat oven to 375°.
- Divide beef mixture among four 6″ oven-proof bowls or pie pans able to hold up to 12 oz.
- Roll the dough into a 14″ square and cut out four 6″ circles. Press each circle gently down over the filling.
- Brush the dough with the egg and with a pair of scissors, cut an “x” into the top of each.
- Bake on a baking sheet until browned and bubbling, about 40 minutes.
- This recipe was adapted from this one which accompanied the article linked above.
- I’ve made it a couple of times and although I have switched things up a bit each time, it’s just plain delicious. Is there such a thing as gourmet pub food?
- The filling is very forgiving, but taking time to brown the meat properly without crowding it in the pan, and then allowing it to braise with the veggie mixture is key.
- You can make the beef mixture minus the Stilton a day ahead, covered in the fridge. Reheat, add the Stilton, then place the dough on and bake.
- If you try the original recipe in the link, the purchased puff pastry is decent, but I loved the dough crust better. It’s so easy to make — nothing fancy at all — give it a go!
- You’ll probably have dough and filling left over — I did each time I made it — so if you need to, you can probably squeak out six smaller pies.
- We enjoyed these pies with Bubble and Squeak. Think mashed potatoes with veg and you’ll have it right.
- Now, for pork pie. I have lots and lots of pork in my freezer from a local farmer. Lots.