By SIMON WEBSTER
Here’s something you may not know about me. I did not grow up in Texas. I didn’t even grow up in the United States.
I was born in England and at the age of four my parents immigrated to New Zealand. I didn’t really understand why they left and I was always curious to go back and experience England on my own. I returned when I was 25 and that’s where I stayed until I moved across the pond — to Texas.
When I lived in England, Cheshire to be exact, I worked at an old English pub. It was called the Church House Inn and was part of an old cotton mill town that was set in a valley. Called Happy Valley for many good reasons, it included 26 pubs and the clean, beautiful water that ran through the mill, and also made quite a bit of beer.
One of the dishes we sold a lot of was a beef stew made with Guinness which gave the beef a rich, dark gravy with deep, bold flavors. With the addition of carrots, onions and a pastry top you have a wonderful and warm winter pie.
We still have some cold days ahead, and this pie will definitely keep you warm.
Steak & Guinness Pie
For the stew:
1 to 2 pound lamb roast or beef stew meat
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 bottle Guinness beer
2 cups beef stock
1 cup frozen peas
For the pastry:
2 cups flour
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons water (approx)
1 egg beaten, plus 1 tablespoon water
To make the stew: Trim fat from the meat and cut into one inch cubes. Place in a bowl and toss with the flour salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large stock pot. Add the meat and sauté until all sides are browned. Add the onion and carrots and sauté for one to two minutes. Pour in the beer and allow the pan to deglaze while scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the beef stock and bring to a simmer. Cover with foil, lower the heat and let simmer for 45 minutes or until meat is tender. Check every 15 minutes to make sure the meat is still covered with liquid. Add more stock or water if necessary. During the last 15 minutes add the peas. Refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight before making the pie.
To make the pastry: Sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and shortening and rub together with your hands until it reaches a sandy consistency. Make a well in the center. Begin adding the water to make a firm, yet pasty consistency. You may need more water. You may need less. It will actually depend on the humidity and temperature of the day. Handle as little and as lightly as possible. Cool in fridge for 1 hour before use. To assemble the pie, brush the egg mixture around the edges of a 9x13 pan. Spread the chilled stew across the bottom. Roll the pastry out to the size of the pan. Place over the top of the stew. Crimp the edges and press a fork around the sides to create a decorative edge. Egg wash the top of the pastry. Bake at 350 until the pastry is brown and the stew is heated through. About 30 to 45 minutes.
Simon Webster is the Executive Chef of Sabor a Pasion Country House & Bistro a multi-faceted dining destination just outside Palestine. For more information go to www.saborapasion.com or call 903-729-9500.