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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Just the Highlights

I feel like I should have so much to say about our trip. Besides suggesting that you voice an objection when someone mocks the culinary experience of London however, I really don’t have much else to say. We definitely did not go hungry. Vegetables and fruits were perhaps less prevalent, but that could have more to do with ordering in an ‘on vacation’ mentality than anything else.

I did decide upon our return that clotted cream should be illegal because of how bad it is for you, but oh how decadent it is on a freshly baked or toasted scone. I wish I could make some at home, but too bad its illegal to purchase the unpasterurized cream needed to make it. Unless I've been mislead about this little fact. Oh please let me have been mislead.

That’s about it as far as insights go. I do have a renewed interest in tea, but perhaps another time. Suffice to say, we had a blast. What I found most impressive though was how stores, even the major chains of grocery stores privileged locally grown, cultivated, butchered, etc., products. This was not just to be found in our trip to Borough Market, but in wondering into small grocery stores and convenience stores near our flat as well. Despite the abundance of fresh ingredients that would have made cooking in our tiny flat fun, we ended up not doing much cooking there because, well 1. All of the walking & sightseeing we did which kept us out and about from morning to evening and then some; and 2. Did I mention the flat was tiny? Really it wasn’t, to be fair, the flat wasn’t that small and had a huge bathroom. I was actually referring to the kitchen. The kitchen was literally big enough for one person to do a 360 in to cook. Not very effective for us.

So, what I have to share with you is not actually a recipe we enjoyed on our trip, although Daniel did have something similar at the Rose & Crown Pub in Oxford served with mash instead of pastry. BUT, the dish does highlight a few decadent things we enjoyed while there. Specifically, butter and beef. I was never impressed by shortbread cookies to be honest. And then I had one in London. Or three. In one day.

Although the dish isn't from our trip directly, I hope you'll enjoy it nonetheless as a dish that holds a special place in our hearts. Inspired by a British pub we tried during our honeymoon in St. Augustine, it seemed an appropriate way to integrate some of things we loved from our trip with our life back home. 

Beef & Guinness Pie
2 LB Cubed Beef Chuck
2 Tbsp Flour
1 Tsp Salt
½ Tsp Pepper
2-4 Tbsp Vegetable Oil (NOT OLIVE OIL)
1 Large Onion
1 Cup Halved Mushrooms (Cremini or whatever you have)
2 Garlic Cloves
3 Tbsp Water
1-1/2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
1 Cup Guinness
1 Cup Beef Stock
1 Tbsp Worcestershire
2 Tbsp Peppercorns
2 Tbsp Thyme

1.Preheat oven to 350. Stir flour salt and pepper together in bowl. Pat cubed meat dry. Toss cubed meat and flour mixture to coat.
2.Heat oil in oven proof pan until hot and almost smoking. Brown beef in three batches turning occasionally. Remove meat and place in bowl.
3.Quickly add mushrooms, chopped onions, chopped garlic and water. Cook until onions are softened (about 5 minutes), and stir using a wooden spoon to scrape the bits from the pan while onions cook.
4.Add tomato paste, cook and stir for one minute. Add beef, beef broth, beer, Worcestershire sauce, peppercorns, and thyme. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat.
5.Cover an transfer to oven. Cook approximately an hour and a half.
6.Remove from oven and cool uncovered for at least thirty minutes.
7.Preheat oven to 425. Divide beef between shallow dishes and cook approximately 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 400 and cook 5 more minutes.
8.Serve with puff pastry prepared as directed.

Although the pie calls for Guinness, any strong stout would work well, we’ve used a Murphy’s stout that worked well in the past. Typically, if we have time, we try to do steps 1-6 one day, let it cool, and then refrigerate it over night for the final bake and puff pastry the next day. This gives it a little more flavor, and makes it slightly more convenient to have a delicious meal relatively quickly.

For the puff pastry, I used the little bit I had left from my first Daring Bakers Challenge (still as decadent). If you happen to have some homemade in the freezer or already made, use that, otherwise just use what you have.



Rambling Tart said...

I'm so delighted to see your post today! :-) My cooking group is doing Pub Food next week and this will be PERFECT! :-)

Anonymous said...

Yum! Beef and guinness pie sounds absolutely perfect right now!

Tracy (Amuse-bouche for Two) said...

Beef, Guiness, mushrooms...a perfect marriage of flavors.

Cinnamon-Girl♥ said...

What a rich and tasty pie! It looks positively delicious with that flaky piece of pastry! Serious comfort food.

Fresh Local and Best said...

I adore Borough market. Did you have a chance to visit. Portobello? This looks like a very hearty pie.


That looks more like curry than pie. And is that puff pastry I see there? Absolutely impossible (for me)to make!!! But it definitely looks Slurrpalicious...

Sharmila said...

If you'd like to buy clotted cream, you can find some at Whole Foods. Love the pastry on this pie!

Carol Egbert said...

If you buy directly from a farmer in Vermont it is legal to buy raw milk. Clotted cream is yummy.

Cocina Savant said...

do they really?! we are there literally every friday and i have missed it! i will be on the hunt tommorrow and let you know :)

i thought i remember reading that there was someway to get around it where it wasn't illegal if you bought directly, if whole foods fails me, i've always wanted to visit vermont :)

Cocina Savant said...

that was rude of me to only reply to the last two comments, i apologize, instant gratification at the thought of clotted cream
@Rambling Tart- I hope it comes in handy! we usually serve it with a side of peas, either mushy peas, plain salt & pepper, or saffron (if its leftovers and there isn't as much.
@ 5 Star, Tracy, Cinnamon-Girl, & Butterfingers- Thanks :)
@ Fresh Local & Best- Daniel may have responded to you already, we didn't get a chance to go there though, we had two or three on our list to see but just poor timing we could only get to borrough (and made two treks at that!).

Kathleen said...

I love pub food. This dish looks perfect. Yum!!!

Chef Aimee said...

Honestly, everything is better with Guinness! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

Anna said...

Awwwww!! I miss London, love the flavor combination.Looks yummy.

Cajun Chef Ryan said...

Wow, does this really look like the kind of dish I need to eat NOW!!!!! Hey, I have nominated your for an "Honest" award, you can read the details on my blog!

Have a great weekend!

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