Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Steak and Guinness Pie, Beer Bread and Snickerdoodle Blondies

Today is a grey, wet and dreary day. Or, as they say here in Scotland, it's dreich, pronounced dreek but with a very wet k sound from the back of your throat, like loch. So, we are having some lovely comfort food for tea.  Steak and Guinness Pie, Steamed Carrots and Beer Bread.  Dessert for the boys is Snickerdoodle Blondies with ice cream.  

Steak and Guinness Pie

Steak and Guinness Pie

Oil or butter for browning the steak and onions
750 grams (1.5 lbs) steak cut in chunks, cut off any large bits of fat
1/4 cup seasoned flour I used garlic and chilli seasoning in a grinder which has salt in it too.
2 medium onions, diced
3 beef Oxo (bouillon) cubes
500 ml boiling water
1 can Guinness or any strong flavoured beer
2 teaspoons thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 package all ready rolled puff pastry or your own recipe
corn starch and water or Bisto granules if desired to thicken gravy
egg wash for pastry

Dredge meat in the seasoned flour and brown in the oil or butter in a hot pan. Don't over crowd the pan or you will steam the meat instead of brown it.  I did mine in three batches.  Remove browned meat to slow cooker/crock pot. Brown the onions, adding more butter or oil if needed, then add to the meat. Pour the boiling water into the pan and add the Oxo cubes. Using a spoon or a scraper to get up all the lovely crispy brown bits, dissolve the Oxo in the water.  Pour over the meat and onions in the crock pot.  Add the beer and seasonings.  I added more chilli and garlic seasoning as well but you could add plain black pepper if that is more to your taste.  We like spicy.  Cook on high heat until the meat is fork tender, about five hours.  I start mine on high for about two hours and then put it on low to continue cooking for the rest of the day. When the meat is tender, thicken the gravy with cornstarch and water, or Bisto granules, if needed. 

There are two ways to finish off your pie.  I pour the hot beef and gravy into a baking dish and cover with pastry.  You can either put one big top on, cutting vents to release steam, or individual rounds of pastry, one for each person. Following the directions on the pastry package, brush with the egg wash and bake the pie in the oven until the pastry is done.  Or, if you want an easier way, cut the pastry into serving size pieces, brush with the egg wash and, again following the directions on the package, bake on a tray until done. Portion the beef and gravy onto plates and top with the baked pastry.  You may wonder why I used small rounds of pastry instead of covering the whole top of the pie. as most would.  Well, there are millions of calories in puff pastry and that is my way of cutting the calories down while still enjoying the pie.

Beer Bread

Beer Bread

375 grams (13 ounces) self-raising flour
3 tablespoons sugar
330 ml (12 ounces) strong flavoured beer of choice 
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Generously butter bottom and sides of a bread pan.

Mix flour and sugar together, add beer and mix until combined. I used a honey ale this time but often I use Guinness.   Pour into buttered pan and let rest for about 30 minutes.  Bake in preheated oven (375f/180c) until browned on top and tester comes out clean. About 50 minutes.  Once you have taken the bread out of the oven, brush with the melted butter while still in the pan. Leave in the pan on the cooling rack for about 10 minutes then remove from the pan and allow to finish cooling. Serve warm with honey butter for a real treat.

Snickerdoodles are just sugar cookies rolled in cinnamon and sugar before baking. I'm all for bars over cookies however and decided to try making Snickerdoodle Blondies.  The recipe and photo come from Lisa at My Own Sweet Thyme. They turned out great and we all loved them.  Very sweet though so if/when I make them again I might cut the brown sugar down just a bit.