*This article first appeared in the 8/24/2016 edition of The Seward Journal Newspaper*
This week was one of those weeks. You know, the sort of week where a
bottle of cheap wine and carton of ice-cream is not only a perfectly
acceptable meal choice, it’s the perfect ratio of comfort-food to
energy expended. As much as the kiddos would have loved cartons of
ice-cream for dinner, it would have resulted in my week having gone
from pretty bad, to epically bad. Needless to day, dinners consisted
largely of emptying cans and boxes into pots and declaring it dinner.
The only comforting thing about that was the fact I didn’t have to do
much more than grunt at the stove for a minute. A much more preferable
meal for any one of those days would have been an Irish stout steak
pie. Real comfort food.
This recipe is brought to you by a conglomeration of things found on
allrecipies.com. You can even find the base recipe out there, if you
want to see how they did it. While this recipe isn’t the most
difficult thing you could knock together, it does take several hours
to prepare and cook, so be ready for that. I had fully intended to
tweak it to improve the outcome and validate what I’m about to put
down here, but the tweaks are all about delivery, the flavor is fine.
2Lbs round steak or stew meat, cut into 1/2” cubes and floured with 1 Tbsp flour
3oz Lard (You can, of course, use shortening, but the lard has much
1/2lb bacon – chopped into small pieces.
3 large diced yellow onions
1 sm. pkg. of fresh mushrooms
1 1/2 C. Irish Stout
1 Tbsp chopped fresh Parsley
handful dried cranberries
1 tsp. dark brown sugar
Pie Crust (or just use store-bought or your favorite pot-pie crust) ingredients:
1 C. Lard
1 tsp salt
3 C. all-purpose flour
1 cup chilled water
Pre-heat oven to 325F
Put the lard and bacon into a large skillet over medium heat until the
lard melts – at this point, drop in the floured steak cubes and cook
until brown. Transfer this into a 13×9 casserole dish. Cook onions and
mushrooms in the same skillet until the onions are brown and mushrooms
tender. Add the onions and mushrooms to the steak and bacon mix. Stir
in the Irish stout, parsley, cranberries and brown sugar into the mix.
Cover and bake in the oven for about 2 1/2 hours.
If you’re going to make the crust from scratch, now would be the time
to whip up the dough. I’ve doubled the recipe, and that should be
enough, but if you find it doesn’t quite work, make more using the
same proportions described above.
Mix the flour and lard with a pastry blender until crumbly. Do not add
all of the water! add a little more than half of the water and mix by
hand. Continue adding water until the dough holds together. At this
point, I like to separate the dough into balls, cover and refrigerate
them for a bit so they roll out easier and stick less. In this case,
you’ll be making the bottom and top for 2 9” pies.
Remove the casserole dish from the oven and increase the temperature
to 400F. If the gravy doesn’t thicken after the bake, use flour or
corn starch to finish it up. I recommend flour as corn starch can make
the texture of your filling a little slimy.
On a floured surface, roll-out the bottoms for your pies and line your
two 9” pie-pans with them. Bake in the oven until lightly brown.
Remove from the oven and add the filling then cover with another layer
of rolled-out dough. Put the pies back into the oven until golden
brown, about 10-15 minutes.