Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Rick’s Pub-style Beefsteak and Mushroom Pie with Ale

I can’t get my crowd to eat kidneys, so this is my take on an old pub favorite, steak and kidney pie, only in this case using mushrooms.  You can substitute a dry red wine for the ale, and it will be delicious, but very different.

3 tbs. vegetable oil
¼ cup flour for dredging, plus 3 tbs. for filling
2 lbs. beefsteak, boneless top sirloin or chuck, cut in 2 inch pieces
1 lb white mushrooms quartered
4 tbs. butter, divided
1 large onion chopped fine
1 bottle or can of ale (I used “Old Speckled Hen”)
1 cup beef stock or broth
2 carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp dried thyme

This is another popular winter comfort dish.  Many traditional recipes for meat pies have you make the filling first, then cool it completely, even a day ahead, and then pour it into a casserole dish, top with a crust and bake.  That may be the best way, but takes more time than most of us have these days  So I cheat and do it all at once.  I make my filling in my Dutch oven, cook it for an hour or so, cool it for about 20 minutes, then transfer it and cook to finish. It comes out just fine.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Dredge beef in the flour (I just dry the beef with paper towels and dump it in a freezer bag with the flour, seal and shake.  Remove excess flour before putting in oil.)

Heat the oil in Dutch oven or pot over medium high heat.  Brown (but don’t burn) the beef in two batches, and remove to a plate with a slotted spoon.  Put 2 tbs. butter in the pot and sauté mushrooms for 3 or 4 minutes.  Remove them to a plate with a slotted spoon.

Sauté the onions for about five minutes. Reduce the heat to medium.  Add the remaining 3 tbs. flour and stir to incorporate.  Add the ale, stock, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, thyme, and bring it all to a boil, stirring, until it thickens slightly.  Return the beef and mushrooms to the pot, add the carrots, stir, cover and put it in the oven and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Remove pot from oven, take off the cover, give it a stir, and let it stand for twenty minutes.  Add the frozen peas.  Pour the whole thing into a 3 quart buttered casserole dish.  Cover casserole with a piecrust cut to size (you can use biscuits or puff pastry if you prefer.)  Brush the crust with an egg wash consisting of 1 large egg to 2 Tbs. milk whisked together for a golden crust.

Raise the oven temperature to 425 degrees F. and place the casserole in oven.  Cook for 25 minutes, checking it toward the end to keep the crust from burning.  Remove and let it sit for 5 minutes before serving.

The perfect beverage to go with this is a pint of the ale in the pie, or else a hearty dry red wine.
(Photo:  R.L. Floyd)

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