Sunday, December 23, 2007

sunday supper: battle pastry

Most people who know me at all know that I'm crazy about pastry. All kinds of pastry. Yet I haven't worked much with pastry beyond pie crusts or shortcrusts. I don't know why I haven't, considering how easy many pastries are. Because frozen puff pastry is the most amazing food item ever. Now that I've started working with it, I really think I may try wrapping everything in puff pastry. It would just make everything better, after all. For dinner tonight, I broke out a couple sheets of puff pastry to make a simple, hearty Steak & Guinness Pie.

Beef stew, wrapped in puff pastry? Bring it on. The ultimate in comfort food. Recipe after the jump:


2 lbs stew meat (round or brisket), cut in 1-inch cubes
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 cup portabella or cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 sprig rosemary
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
2 tbsp Worchestershire sauce
1 can Guinness Stout
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, defrosted
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium dutch oven or stock pot, heat olive oil. Saute onions and garlic until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add celery, carrots, mushrooms, rosemary and butter and saute until just starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Add beef, sprinkle with flour, and season with salt and pepper. Add Worchestershire sauce and Guinness. The liquid should just come to the top of the beef but not completely submerge it. Add water or beef stock if there is not enough liquid. Cover and simmer in preheated oven for 2 hours, stirring periodically. I recommend skimming the fat off about halfway through the simmer, depending on how fatty your beef is.

After 2 hours, remove the stew from the oven but do not turn off the heat. Set stew aside to cool slightly while you roll out the pastry. Roll out one sheet of puff pastry to about 1/8th inch thick and lay in the bottom of a 2 quart ovenproof deep casserole or bowl, allowing excess pastry to hang over the sides. Fill with stew, but avoid putting too much liquid in the pie. Roll out the other sheet of pastry a bit thicker than the first. Score lightly in a crisscross pattern. Brush the edges of the bottom crust with beaten egg. Lay top crust and press lightly around edges to seal. Bring excess bottom crust up over top crust. Brush top of crust with egg wash. Return to the 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes until crust is golden brown.

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