Sunday, March 24, 2013

Recipe #215: Beef and Ale Pie

Fantastic English dish!  I didn't make it look all that pretty (since I get in fights with anything involving dough), but it was delicious!!!  Can't wait to have the leftovers.  I am pasting this recipe with its European measurements, with my comments and changes.


900g (about 2lbs) good quality stewing beef, diced
25g (enough for coating the meat) flour, seasoned with salt and pepper, plus extra for dusting
100g (6-7tbsp) butter (I ended up skipping the butter completely)
olive oil
2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped (I used one large one)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
250g (8oz) chestnut mushrooms, trimmed and sliced (I used crimini)
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
400ml ale (a bottle)
500ml stock (1 beef stock cube)
1tsp tomato puree
3tbsp Worcester sauce
1tbsp Dijon mustard
2tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1 egg and 1 extra yolk, beaten
300g ready-made rolled puff pastry (I used a 2-sheet pack, approx)


Toss the meat in the seasoned flour. Shake off any excess flour.

Heat a large pan and add ½ (50g) the butter and a drizzle of olive oil (Shockingly, I skipped the butter). Add the meat and cook, turning frequently until golden brown and sealed. This will take around 10 minutes.

Next add the onions, garlic, mushrooms and herbs, then pour in the ale and stock. Add the tomato puree,
Dijon mustard, Worcester sauce and balsamic vinegar and stir well.

Cover the pan with a lid and simmer gently for around 2 hours until the beef is meltingly tender (I cooked it for 1.5 hours and it was very soft). Taste and season the stew if necessary (it wasn't!). If you have too much liquid left, drain some off and thicken the remaining gravy with a little cornflour mixed with water (I didn't do this- I liked the sauce!).

Transfer the mixture to an ovenproof pie dish and cool.  (I had a casserole dish and no time to let it cool.)

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface. Cut a strip of pastry roughly the width of the rim of the pie dish long enough to fit all the way around the dish. Firmly place the pastry strip along the edge of the pie dish and brush with beaten egg.

Roll out the remaining pastry until you have a piece roughly the size and shape of the top of the pie dish. Lay
the pastry over the top of the filling, pressing the edges firmly together.

Pinch and flute the edges of the pastry, then trim off any remaining from around the edge. Make 2-3 small
slashes in the centre of the pie to allow the steam to escape. Cut out a few decorative leaves if you like, and
stick them into position with a little of the beaten egg around the steam vents.

Brush the pie top with beaten egg and place in the oven for approximately 25 minutes at 220C/Gas mark 7 (425 degrees), until the pastry is golden brown.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Recipe #214: Easy Indian Curried Lamb

Oh how I love lamb.  Here's another recipe.  The flavor is rich and delicious!  If you want it to be saucier, add water or broth to it as it cooks.  I also used minced garlic instead of crushed cloves.

Copied from my favorite site,

3 tablespoons canola oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, or to taste
1 pound lamb stew meat, cubed
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon red chile powder, or to taste
1.Heat canola oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir onion, garlic, and cumin seeds in the hot oil until onion is browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Add lamb, tomato paste, coriander, salt, garam masala, turmeric, and red chile powder; stir to coat. Cover saucepan and simmer until meat is tender and no longer pink in the center, about 1 hour.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Recipe #213: Pressure Cooker Beef Bourguignon

Sometimes I have to learn things the hard way.  My last (and first) pressure cooker recipe said to release the pressure quickly, so I did, and everything was fine.  This one didn't specify and I was getting hungry, so I tried the same, which ended up with a steamy sauce all over the ceiling, stove, cabinets, floor, and my feet.  It was worth it though... and I learned my lesson.  Anyway, this was really good and hearty, tastes like pot roast but you don't have to spend hours cooking it.  The meat fell apart.


1 tablespoon oil
3lbs stew meat, cubed
2 large onions, chopped
4 large carrots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 parsnips, sliced
Salt and pepper
2 cups red wine
1 bay leaf
5 sprigs parsley
2 cups water
1 beef stock cube
1 rounded tablespoon cornflour


In a large pressure cooker, heat oil over high heat.  Add meat and brown on all sides for a few minutes.  Add the onions, garlic, carrots and parsnips.  Add salt and pepper and mix well.

Pour in red wine and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the bay leaf, parsley, stock cube and water, then close the pressure cooker.  Cook for 1 hour.

When themeat is cooked, remove bay leaf and sprigs of parsley.

In a small bowl, combine a few tablespoons of the cooking juices with 1 tablespoon cornflour.  Mix well then pour into the pot.  Thicken over low heat for a few minutes.  Garnish with some parsley and serve hot.

Recipe #212: Spaetzle, Sauerkraut and Sausage Casserole

I was going to do my usual meal with kielbasa and sauerkraut by just cutting up and frying the kielbasa in a pan and then adding the sauerkraut to the pan to warm it up, but I found a recipe in the meanwhile that I modified to make this.  I'm glad I tried it because the meal was good when I ate it, but it was the LEFTOVERS that were phenomenal!


4 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 small Gala (or similar) apple, cored and chopped
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 16oz package sauerkraut
1 16oz package kielbasa, cut into coins


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the bacon in a skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring often, until the bacon is crisp.  Remove the bacon, leaving the drippings in the pan, and set aside.  Cook the onion in the same pan until browned.  Remove the onions.  Add butter, apple, and brown sugar to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes.  In a bowl, mix the spaetzle, onions, butter, apple mixture and sauerkraut together.  Put this mixture into a greased 9x9 casserole dish.

Brown the kielbasa in the pan.  Layer on top of the casserole dish.  Bake for 15 minutes in the oven.