Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Steak and Guinness

“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer.”
                                                            -Abraham Lincoln

If you live in a culture that produces wine, chances are some of that wine will end up in the food, hence Coq au Vin or Beef Bourguignon or Osso Bucco.
If you make beer, some of it will end up the same way; think of the beer-laced dishes of Belgium or in this case, Steak and Guinness.
The steak in the title doesn’t necessarily mean using what we think of as steak, a nice piece of beef  usually  reserved for grilling or pan searing; it would be a waste in a braised dish like this one. Any beef used for stewing is what you want to use, such as chuck, top round, or as I found recently, sirloin. If you prefer, you can cut your own beef cubes, but there it was, sirloin already cut and trimmed. Hey, I’ll take a short cut every now and again, too.
Like all stews, this begins with taking time to brown the meat. Don’t overcrowd the pot with too much meat at one time.  Brown the meat in stages. All of that browned goodness at the bottom of the pot means flavor.
There are several ways to go with this recipe. You could serve it as is along with mashed potatoes, or under a crust of pastry as a Steak and Guinness pie. Cheese, such as Stilton or Cheddar is often added to the pie but you could just as easily omit it to your preference.
When I most recently made this, I used a bottle of Brooklyn Brown Ale that was in the ‘fridge, so you don’t need to adhere to the use of Guinness; what is important is the flavor imparted by a dark beer of your liking. George Washington, a beer drinking man of the people brewed his own porter and I like to think that it might have made it into some of the cooking at Mount Vernon. We know it made its way into him.

It is snowing. Nothing I like more than watching the snow fall while the smells of slow cooking fill the air. Talk about perfect timing.

Steak and Guinness (or Steak and Brooklyn Brown Ale)
This recipe makes four servings

2 pounds stewing beef, cut into 1” cubes
1½ cups chopped onion
3 carrots, sliced, about ½ “ thick
2 ribs celery, sliced lengthwise, then across into ¼" pieces
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
2 or 3 fresh thyme sprigs and 3 fresh rosemary springs, tied in a bundle
12 ounces Guinness stout or other dark beer
1 cup water or beef stock
olive oil, for cooking
salt and ground black pepper

1. Heat oven to 275 degrees. Pat the beef dry with paper towels. Season the meat with salt and ground black pepper. Place a 4 quart Dutch oven on the stove over high heat. When hot, swirl in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add some of the beef; avoid overcrowding it in the pot. When browned on all sides, about 7 to 8 minutes, remove the meat to a plate and continue browning the rest of the meat. As the pot gets hotter, the amount of time needed for browning the meat will decrease. Replenish the pot with additional olive oil, if necessary. After all of the meat has been browned, remove the pot from the heat to cool for a few minutes before adding the vegetables.
2. Return the pot back over medium heat. Swirl in 1 or 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onion, celery and carrots to the pot.  Season with salt and pepper and sauté the vegetables for 5 minutes to soften the onion. Push the vegetables to the outside of the pot. Add the tomato paste and garlic. Stir, cooking until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the flour and mix it with the vegetables.
3. Return the beef and the accumulated juices to the pot. Add the thyme and rosemary bundle, pour in the beer and the water or beef stock. Stir and season with a little more salt and black pepper. Bring the stew up to a simmer. Cover and place into the oven. Cook for 2 ½ hours, until the beef is tender. Remove from oven.

The completed stew can be served as is, or refrigerated and served the next day or after it cools it can be made into a Steak and Guinness Pie

Steak and Guinness Pie

Pie Crust (alternatively, you could use store-bought pie crust or puff pastry)
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup (4 Tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
¼ cup vegetable shortening
6 Tablespoons ice cold water

For the pie: I used half of the stew for our pie. You may choose to use the total amount, which will serve four. If you are adding cheese, add these amounts per person: 2 Tablespoons Stilton (or other) blue cheese or grated Cheddar cheese.

1. Mix together the flour and salt. Blend the butter into the flour either using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer or by hand using a pastry blender or fork. Work until the butter is broken down into small pieces. Add the vegetable shortening to the bowl and mix, leaving the shortening in larger lumps. Add the water and mix until the dough comes together. Remove the dough from the bowl and shape it into a disk. Wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour before using.

2. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix the cheese, if using, into the completed cooled stew. Place stew into a 4 cup baking dish. Roll out the crust and fit the crust into the dish, over the stew and draping over the side. Trim any excess. Mix one egg with 1 tablespoon water. Using the point of a knife, cut a steam hole in the middle of the crust. Brush the crust with the egg wash. Using the point of a knife, mark the edges of the crust and make a crosshatch design on top of the crust. Place the baking dish onto a baking tray. Bake the steak and Guinness pie for 30 minutes, or until the crust is browned and the filling is bubbling. Remove from the oven and serve.



1 comment:

  1. Am thinking I need to visit this though a vegetarian eye, though I personally would eat your style just as well