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  • Steak and Guinness Pie


    I’m cold. It’s cold. There is no end in sight to this frigid weather. There really isn’t anything to do to keep warm. Once you come in from the cold you don’t want to go out again … EVER! Yeah, yeah, I know, it’s winter, but this is a particularly brutal one!

    I don’t know about you, but this is the time of year I hibernate. Well, cook and hibernate. And all I want to eat are comforting, warming meals. I was searching through the recipes I’ve collected that I have had every intention of making, looking for something not too complicated, pure comfort food, and packed with flavor. That’s when I came across my foodie friend Amber’s recipe, she’s the wonderful gal behind Bluebonnets & Brownies, for Steak & Guinness Pie.

    I must have been mumbling slightly as I scrolled through the recipes. As the words ‘steak and guinness pie’ came out of my mouth there were shouts of joy and a wee bit of begging … please, please make this! And so I did. And she helped. And we ate HALF of it for dinner! And the other half was gone by the morning!

    Amber, I am eternally in your debt for this one! I didn’t feel the need to change this much at all. I added a carrot in lieu of a parsnip and used crimini mushrooms instead of porcini.

    • 1 1/2 lb. chuck (stew meat), cut into 1/2″ pieces
    • 1/2 vidalia or yellow onion, diced finely
    • 8-10 crimini mushrooms, diced finely
    • 3 carrots, diced finely
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • salt & pepper to taste
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 2 T of oil
    • 1 12 oz bottle of Guinness
    • 1/2 C of beef stock
    • Double pie crust

    NOTE: Now you know what I’m going to say here … you can make your own, which I couldn’t do today (even if I wanted to) because I don’t have any kitchen tools, gadgets or machinery at my disposal at the moment … or you can use ready made pie crust (which I did).  Also, as you can see from my photos, I didn’t chop everything REALLY finely – especially the carrots – but there’s no harm there, except it’s a little chunkier and they take a little longer to soften and begin to brown.

    Preheat oven to 400

    Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet.


    When the oil is hot, add the chopped onions and mushrooms. Once they’ve started to brown add salt and pepper to taste.  Next add the diced carrots and cook until soft and beginning to lightly brown. Once done, put this vegetable mixture in a bowl on the side.

    Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in the same skillet. Add diced stew meat, allowing to brown while stirring often. You may need to do this in two batches. while the meat is browning, add the minced garlic, and again, salt, and pepper to taste.


    When the meat is browned, add vegetable mixture back to the skillet, add the stock and Guinness. Bring to a bubble and lower the heat a little and let the liquid cook down, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes until you have just a small amount of gravy with meat.

    Putting pie together

    Place one pie crust in the bottom of a pie dish, add filling, and cover with second pie crust. Cut a few slits in the top of the crust for steam.

    NOTE: I used a deep dish pie dish.

    Pie Slice

    Bake  for roughly 45-60 minutes until the pie crust is golden brown.

    DIVE IN!

    Mini Peach Pies


    Ah, New Year’s Eve … the time to renew one’s self, make virtuous resolutions to ourselves regarding health and wealth and family, look forward to a bright shiny year with hope, promise and anticipation.

    I am fortunate enough to have had the one thing I wanted to accomplish this past year come into being … but for the most part, let’s face it, all our good intentions on New Year’s Eve, while giddy with champagne, fall by the wayside before that little cherub comes along with his bow and arrow.

    So, for this year, I plan to love more, live better, be kinder to those around me, and take it easier on myself. I can accomplish any goal I set my mind to, but I do need to learn to take it easier on myself when that goal doesn’t come to fruition instantly.

    I learned that the hard way this past year. Moving to Maine was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. I cried and screamed and fell to pieces, but with the help and support of friends I made it through the long dark tunnel to a bright future waiting on the other side.

    As I sit here on New Year’s Day, freezing, looking out the window at our beautiful snow covered landscape, I realize I am much stronger than I ever gave myself credit for … and with love anything can be accomplished.

    Perhaps that should be the resolution first and foremost on everyone’s list. LOVE. Love your friends and family, love those who may not always deserve it (they need it the most), but most importantly love yourself, take it easy on yourself, with that small word, everything is possible.

    Enough mush.

    It’s cold and blustery and the snow is still here (as if a fairy were going to come along and make it 40 and melt the stuff HA!), but it’s New Year’s Eve and sinner should be special. I’m not quite sure why. It would seem that dinner on New Year’s Day, that first meal on the first day of a new year should be the special one. A special meal on the last day of the year is sort of like a man’s last meal before the gas chamber.

    I get sidetracked so easily!

    Steak and baked potatoes, salad … pretty simple. So dessert had to be something special.

    There are still peaches in the freezer … hmmm … I saw Mini Peach Pies one day over at Dessert for Two and have had it bookmarked for quite some time. With temperatures hovering at 0 and only expected to get colder, what was better than a little bite of summer?

    Happy New Year, my friends! I hope 2014 brings you happiness and health.

    Makes 4 small pies in regular muffin cups, or 2 pies in Texas-sized muffin cups

    For the pie crust:

    • 2 1/2 T unsalted butter
    • 1 1/2 T fresh lard (or solid vegetable shortening)
    • 1/2 C + 2 T flour, plus extra for rolling
    • 1/4 t sugar
    • 1/4 t salt
    • 2-3 T cold water

    NOTE: I cheated. I just couldn’t face making pie crust. Pillsbury pie crust, you are my savior! I used a biscuit cutter a bit bigger than the cupcake mold.

    For the filling:

    • 1 medium ripe peach
    • 1/4 t apple pie spice
    • 2 t sugar
    • 1 t cornstarch
    • milk for brushing on top
    • coarse sugar for dusting on top (optional)

    NOTE: And this is where my having prepped a bunch of our peaches for the freezer comes in handy! I took a handful of slices (I figured about 10 for a medium peach) out of the freezer, let them thaw, and carried on with this recipe.


    First, make the crust: place the butter and fresh lard onto a plate, dice it into small pieces, then place it in the freezer for 10 minutes.

    Meanwhile, whisk together all remaining pie crust ingredients (except the water). Once 10 minutes has elapsed, add the slightly frozen butter and lard to the flour mixture and cut it in until it is the size of grains of rice. Use a pastry cutter or two butter knives.

    Next, add 2 tablespoons of the water and press it into the dough with a spatula, turning and smashing it in to the dough. Add extra water if it’s not coming together or appears too crumbly. Dump the mixture on a piece of plastic wrap, shape it into a disc, then store it in the fridge for 20 minutes to let it rest.

    While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 375° and peel and dice the peach. In a small bowl, stir together the peach with the apple pie spice, sugar and cornstarch. Set aside.

    After the dough has rested, flour a clean counter and roll it out to 1/4″ thickness.

    If you’re using a standard muffin pan: use a 3″ round biscuit cutter to cut out 4 circles of dough, placing each one in the bottom of 4 muffin cups. Divide the peach mixture between all 4 cups. Then, use a 2″ round biscuit cutter to cut out 4 more circles of dough and place them on top of the peaches. Pinch together the bottom and top pieces of dough, then cut a slit in the top of each pie before brushing with milk and sprinkling with coarse sugar.

    If you’re using Texas-sized muffin cups: use a 4″ round biscuit cutter for the bottom crusts and a 3″ cutter for the top crusts.


    Bake for 30-33 minutes, or until the peach filling is bubbling and the bottom crust is golden brown (use the tip of a knife to peak). Let cool slightly before serving.

    Apple Pie Filling … For the Freezer

    Ready to freeze

    Seriously, it don’t get much easier than this!

    After making it through freezing peach pie filling, how hard could apple pie filling be? Certainly apples are easier to peel and core and slice. I honestly don’t remember where I found this recipe, but the gal whose blog it’s from doesn’t freeze it in pie shape, but flat in freezer bags and makes 10 or so at a time right in their own freezer bags.  All the dry, add apples, shake and freeze.

    I wanted to be as lazy as humanly possible on t his venture and decided to freeze the apples the same way I did the peach pie filling, all ready to plunk into a pie shell and bake.

    • 2/3 C white flour
    • 1 1/2 C  sugar
    • 2 t cinnamon, or to taste
    • 6 to 6 1/2 C apples, peeled and sliced thin
    • 1 gallon freezer bag

    Place first first three ingredients into a bowl and stir.


    Add apples and toss until well mixed.

    Line a pie plate with tin foil and saran wrap. Add the apple mixture. Place in freezer until sold.  Remove from tin. Wrap tightly and store in freezer.

    TO BAKE:

    Put frozen pie filling into crust lined pie dish.

    Using 5 tablespoons of cut up cold butter, dot the filling.

    Put top crust on, flute edges, and sprinkle top with cinnamon and sugar, if you like.

    Line edges with foil to prevent burning.

    Bake at pie 350 degrees for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Until inside is just hot and bubbly. I would put it on a baking sheet to avoid a big mess in your oven.

    NOTE: Take foil off for the last 25 minutes to brown the crust.