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
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 sticks of butter
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 sticks celery, peeled and chopped
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.