Virtual Thanksgiving Feast

Not too long ago, I eagerly signed up for Cam’s Virtual Thanksgiving Feast. In doing so, I committed myself to sharing a holiday memory or my thoughts on the holidays or at least a holiday-related post, and a recipe that will be gracing my table on Thanksgiving Day.  At the time I signed up for this challenge, though, I hadn’t realized that my month of bad luck would turn into six weeks of such, since I am generally a person who believes luck is something that turns around. Now here I sit, at 5:30 on a Monday morning, coffee perking in the kitchen, at my desk chair, quietly hopeful that this will be the week thing start to go our way. In the past six weeks I have been, at different times, front-toothless and cell-phoneless, I have taken someone to the ER And someone has taken me to task on a project at work, S. and I have laid out thousands of dollars in unexpected expenses not related to the house, which we move into in two weeks, and I am mentally and physically depleted. I have had, as a result of the last week, to prioritize some of our plans for the future and while I don’t want to fully go into depth here yet, I will say things are going to move much more slowly in our little household of two for a while and, in all the brough-ha-ha of other people’s happening that I am a part of, I am going to have to find a way to breath through the move and the holiday season, to keep breathing and take care of myself, as well as others.

So Thanksgiving, this year, is more about rest and less about the food this year. My concentration will flow more towards yoga classes and long  naps than on a traditional heavy meal, and while there are certainly countless lovely holiday memories rattling around in my head, lately I haven’t been able to recall a single one worth sharing. While I work on breathing through the holidays and hoping for the inner joy that usually guides me to return, though, I leave you with a recipe I found at The  Other Monkey’s blog. It is not a Thanksgiving recipe (sorry, Cam!) but it is a recipe I am very thankful exists. In the future I will probably wait until January or February to make this, but it was certainly cold enough this weekend to do it justice, and on Saturday, when all I wanted to do was listen to football and play around in my kitchen, I found this dish immensely therapeutic. As far as I can tell, except for the ludicrously high fat content, there isn’t anything bad at all with this recipe, and it does everything such a pie should do – it is steamy and cheesy and warm and comforting, and will feed us for over three days.  This is a pie that tastes exactly like you think it will when you read the ingredients, but of course, I wouldn’t expect anything else from Jamie Oliver. So, here is my somewhat lame, non-thanksgiving feast recipe, with all apologies to Cam. I just don’t have a turkey/cranberry/green bean type of recipe in me, today.

Steak, ale and cheese pie

olive oil

2 onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 1/2 sticks of butter

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 sticks celery, peeled and chopped

4 mushrooms

2 lbs of brisket of beef or stewing steak, cut into 2 cm cubes

small amount of fresh rosemary

salt and peper

1 can Guinness

2 tablespooons flour

2 cups Cheddar cheese

2 sheets of puff pastry

1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

In a large ovenproof pan, heat about a tablespoon of oil on a low heat. Add the onions and fry gently for a few minutes. Turn the heat up and add the garlic, butter, carrots, celery and mushrooms. Mix everything in before stirring in the rosemary, beef, some salt and a teaspoon of pepper. Fry for a few minutes, then pour in the Guinness, stir in the flour and add some water if needed (I didn’t need) to cover. Bring to simmer and cover the pan with a lid and cook in the oven for an hour and a half. Remove and stir, continue cooking for another hour. Remove from heat and stir in half the cheese, season and let the filling cool slightly.

When you are ready make your pie. Roll a piece of the puff pastry to line the bottom of your pie dish. Butter the pie dish and line the pastry inside. Pour in your filling mixture and sprinkle the rest of he cheese on top. Roll out another piece of pastry for the top of the pie and place over the mixture. Crimp the edges together, create ahole in the center and brush with beaten egg. Bake for 45 minutes until the pastry is cooked and golden. Jamie suggests serving this with peas (which I did) and if you would like to feel really English, some chips as well (Good Lord, no.)

* Note – I cooked everything about 10 minutes less than the recipe calls for because my oven runs hot. I recommend keeping an eye on the timing mentioned above depending on your oven.

Now I am going to tip-toe into my kitchen and make some oatmeal. Perhaps, if I am  very, very good, my luck will turn around this week? Stay tuned.

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7 Responses to Virtual Thanksgiving Feast

  1. So glad that the recipe could bring you some comfort in times of needing some love and attention.
    I’ll be thinking of you in the next couple of days, breathe deeply and may the Thanksgiving force be with you.

  2. Cam says:

    Dear Courtney, no apologies needed. I think this recipe sounds like the perfect thing to make when one needs something yummy and comfy. And also a good idea for when someone still has Thanksgiving guests a few days later and nobody can stomach the thought of more turkey.

    I sure hope your luck changes soon. I know how easy it is to focus on the bad luck when lots of things go wrong and there is lots of stress – like buying a new house & moving! Take a deep breathe, look around you and be grateful for all you do have (S., your family, friends) and all that is in your control. That which isn’t in your control, let it go!

    My yoga instructor always ends each session with this, and so I will end this comment to you:
    Deep peace of the running wave to you.
    Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
    Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
    Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
    Deep peace of the infinite peace to you.

  3. Make Tea Not War says:

    Sorry to hear you are having a run of bad luck. The only redeeming feature about such times is (maybe) they help us be more mindful and happy when times are good. Not really any consolation when you are going through it though! Hope you find the time and space you need to breathe.

  4. Litlove says:

    Oh Courtney, what rotten luck. My only consolation to myself at such times is to think: it could all be worse. It’s the pessimist’s form of self-cheer! I think you’re absolutely right to take as much time as you can for rest – you know the bad times will pass, and you’ve just got to keep yourself as well as possible through them so you can enjoy the good when it comes again. And I love Jamie Oliver recipes and find them all easy, tasty and comforting. This one looks fab.

    Thinking of you.

  5. Stefanie says:

    Oh Courtney, I hope your holiday is restful and relaxing!

  6. smithereens says:

    Courtney, the recipe actually made me hungry! I hope your bout of bad luck will end soon.

  7. Courtney says:

    Other Monkey – thank you so much for sharing that recipe! It really was a knock-out success.
    Cam – that mantra is lovely. I am repeating it often and remembering to breathe. I am also sleeping quite a bit!
    Ms. Make Tea – trust me, when the good times return (and they slowly are) I will savor each and every one!
    Litlove – I am working on keeping myself well – I at least finally able to recognize the need for that in times like these.
    Stefanie, thank you!
    Smitheeens – I recommend making this recipe as soon as possible. And, from your lips to God’s ears…

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