Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cast Iron Skillet: Steak and Guinness Pie

Earlier this month I won a cookbook:  Cast Iron Skillet Big Flavors by Sharon Kramis and Julie Kramis Hearne (thanks TNT Diner).  I'm pretty excited about this cookbook since I have a cast iron skillet and am always looking for recipes specifically for them.

The book has the usual section about pantry staples, and I was pleased to see a section covering how to care for your cast iron.  The recipes seem easy to follow and sound delicious.

For my first recipe I tried the Steak and Guinness Pie.  I think it was a stretch calling this dish a pie -- it's really a stew with a puff pastry top -- but it was tasty.  I cut the carrots and onions a little too fine and they practically dissolved into the sauce (next time I'll cut them chunkier), and I used crimini mushrooms instead of button.  So, did I like the dish?  Yes, but it was a little too rich for me.  Next time I think I'll cut the butter and oil by a third -- maybe even by half.   

Steak and Guinness Pie
Cast Iron Skillet Big Flavors
Yield:  Six servings

1 sheet frozen puff pastry
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp water
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck or beef brisket cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
4 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 cup button mushrooms, cleaned and cut into 1/2 inch slices (I used crimini)
1 medium onions, coarsely chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 cup beef broth
1 cup Guinness stout
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 425F.

Take the puff pastry from the freezer and allow to lightly thaw (to not quite room temperature).

Gently roll out the puff pastry to smooth any creases.  Combine the egg and water in a small bowl.  Place the puff pastry on a baking sheet and brush with the egg wash.  Bake on the middle rack until the puff pastry is golden brown, about 25 minutes.  Cut the puff pastry into 4x4 inch squares and set aside.

Lower the oven temperature to 325F.

In a shallow dish, combine the flour, salt, and pepper.  Add half of the beef cubes and dust with the flour. Shake off any excess flour.  Add 1 tbsp each of the olive oil and the butter to a 10 or 12 inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Once hot, add half of the beef cubes, being sure not to crowd the pan.  Cook until the meat starts to brown, about 3 minutes.  Using tongs, turn the meat and cool for 3 minutes more.  Transfer to a platter and repeat with another 1 tbsp each of the olive oil and the butter to cook the remaining meat.  Transfer to the platter.

In the same pan, add another 1 tbsp each of the olive oil and the butter and cook the mushrooms until they start to brown and release liquid.  Transfer to a small bowl and reserve.  Add the remaining olive oil and butter to the skillet, and cook the onion, carrots, and celery until the onions become translucent.  Return the mushrooms to the skillet.  Add the garlic, thyme, and oregano, and cook for another 2 minutes.  Add the beef broth, Guinness, and Worcestershire sauce and stir.  Add the beef cubes and gently mix in, coating well with the onion-mushroom mixture.  Cover tightly with foil and/or a lid and place in the oven for 2 hours.  remove from the oven and season with salt and pepper.

Serve the stew in warmed bowls, each sprinkled with cheese and topped with a puff pastry square.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Beef Mushroom and Onion Tart

I love to skim through magazines to find new recipes  When I find one that looks good I save it -- or rather I save the entire magazine which is how I ended up with a huge bundle that stacked up three feet high!

Tonight's dinner is a recipe I found in Better Homes and Gardens (3/10).  With the weather getting grayer and cooler I was looking for a hot and hearty meal.  Really delicious and easy to make -- I served it with some garlicky sauteed spinach.

Beef, Mushroom, and Onion Tart
Yield:  4 servings

12 oz. lean ground beef
8 oz package sliced mushrooms (I used baby portabellos)
1/2 medium red onion, cut in thin wedges
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
13.8 oz package refrigerated pizza dough
3 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
Fresh Oregano and/or pizza seasoning (optional)

     Preheat Oven to 425F.  In a 12" skillet cook beef, mushrooms, and onion over medium heat until beef is browned and onion is tender, stirring occasionally.  Drain off fat.  Stir in salt and pepper.
     Meanwhile, grease a large baking sheet or line with parchment.  Unroll pizza dough on baking sheet.  Roll or pat dough to a 15x12 inch rectangle.  Top dough with beef mixture, keeping filling within 1 1/2 inches of all edges.  Fold edges over the filling, pleating as needed.
     Bake tart 15 minutes or until crust is golden.  Top with blue cheese, oregano, and pizza seasoning.

Changes/Substitutions:   I cooked the ground beef with some oregano, 3 thinly sliced garlic cloves, red onion wedges, and salt/pepper to taste.  I removed the beef mixture, reserving the cooking liquids which I used to cook the mushrooms (I really hate an overloaded skillet).  I didn't have any blue cheese on-hand so I sprinkled a handful of shredded Parmesan before I put it in the oven (delicious!) and I made my own pizza dough -- really easy to do, and tastes so much better.  (You can find the recipe here.)  I didn't roll my dough out to a rectangle -- just tossed it into a round and baked on my greased air bake sheet.