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Monday, 7 November 2011

Post the Forty-second (in which our heroine plays catch-up a bit)

There's been a bit of a deafening silence around here lately.  Sorry about that.  I had last week off work and tried to get a set amount of college work done every day.  Unfortunately our crappy mobile broadband also decided to take the week off, so by the time I had my assignment quota done, my patience with t'interweb was pretty much spent.  Hopefully we'll be back to normal this week, though.

So, in my last post I was about to embark on a pot-pie making journey with the leeks and carrots we had harvested from the garden.  Kristin at Edible Ireland had a totally drool-tastic recipe that I had been dying to try, so all in all, I was terribly excited to give them a bash.

Now, before we start, I will happily admit to using shop-bought pastry.  And before you get all judgemental on me, have you ever actually seen what's involved in making puff pastry?  Go and Google it there.  Now, tell me who in God's name has a) the time, or b) the inclination to do that?  Just buy it.  You're keeping someone in a job.  Good for you.

Oh, and Kristin, not only did I copy your recipe, I also stole your presentation idea of writing on the pies.  Please don't sue me.  It was just too cute.  Even though my crappy photo is actually just embarrassing.

Beef, Stout & Blue Cheese Pot Pies - makes 4 individual pies

2 carrots, peeled and chopped                     2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 large red onion, chopped                          1 leek, cut in half lengthwise and sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped                              1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 kg stewing beef, diced                              2 tablespoons flour
500ml stout                                                 150g crumbled blue cheese
2 sheets ready-rolled puff pastry                  1 large egg, beaten

1) In a large oven-proof casserole dish, heat a good splash of olive oil. Add the carrots, celery, onion and leek along with a pinch of salt so the onions don’t brown. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft. Add the garlic, thyme and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper and cook for 1 or 2 minutes more. Stir in the beef, then add in the flour. Stir well to coat the beef and vegetables with the flour and cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Pour in the stout, give everything a stir and bring to a boil.

2) Cover the pot with a lid and place in an 180C for 2 1/2 hours, giving it a stir now and then, until the meat is tender.  When the beef is cooked and the stew has a nice, thick, silky consistency, stir in the blue cheese, taste and correct the seasoning if necessary.

3) Place one large ovenproof pie dish or individual gratin dishes on a baking tray just in case any filling bubbles up and over the sides, then spoon the stew into the dish(es). Cut the ready-rolled sheet of pastry to fit the top of the pie dish (or individual dishes), rolling it out a little on a lightly floured countertop with a rolling pin if you need to in order for it to cover your dish. Brush the edges of the dish(es) with some of the beaten egg to help the pastry stick in place, then carefully place the pastry lid on top. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg, then bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the pastry has risen and is golden. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.

I really can't thank Kristin enough for this recipe; it is really, really good.  Go on and give it a try - you know you want to.  Beef, cheese and booze - what's not to like?

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