Sunday, September 19, 2010

Beer in the Kitchen: Guinness Meat Pie

Here is the meat pie I made for a small gathering of favorite people a couple weeks ago. This recipe combined inspiration from Jamie Oliver's Guinness pie recipe (too labor-intensive, I said!) with the Kitchn's easier method (but no artichokes, I lamented!). The Guinness made the filling slightly sweet. Don't think too much about precision here -- just kind of go with it. Any veggies you have lying around and need to use up will do.

Guinness Meat Pie
Adapted from Jamie Oliver's & The Kitchn's recipes

2 pie crusts (I made mine)
about a cup and a half of stew meat, cut into chunks (Donnell Century Farms)
about 1/4 cup flour
one or two cups of diced veggies (I used carrots and celery)
salt, pepper, about a tablespoon of dried thyme, a couple pinches of dried rosemary
1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons of butter
2 cups of Guinness
1 cup beef stock

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Dredge the meat in flour.

Heat a large skillet, Dutch oven, or wok, and melt about 1/2 tablespoon of butter and brown the meat (note: I needed more than that . . .) Remove and set aside.

Melt the remaining butter and cook the vegetables until just soft (they smell so good!)

Add the meat, herbs, salt, and pepper to taste to the pan. Add the beef stock and bring to a simmer.

Then add the Guinness and stir well, and bring to a simmer until the beer reduces to half and thickens.

Pour the mixture into a 9-inch pie pan that you've placed one of the pie crusts in. I had blind-baked mine before starting so I wouldn't get the dreaded Soggy Pie Crust. Place the other crust on top and cut slits in it for the steam to escape. Place on a baking sheet and bake it in the oven -- the recipe says 30 minutes, mine took about 40 to brown to my satisfaction.

We had this with the carrot and winter squash risotto and some --- well, you know.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Carrot and Winter Squash Risotto

So this is not my first attempt at risotto, but it is my first successful attempt. I made it once before, during 1L year, and was most unimpressed with the results. It didn't even make the blog under the category "Valient Efforts." I think I used PBR because I was too poor to buy wine (or good beer, for that matter). Anyway, this recipe doesn't even call for any sort of alcohol (that's okay, supper club is eating it tonight with Guinness meat pie), and it's delicious. I think the keys were lots of butter, generous Parmesan, and persistent stirring. The stirring part is what scares a lot of people off risotto, but this only took about 30 minutes to get all nice and creamy.
Even though it's not super autumn-y yet, I wanted to make this dish because I had fresh carrots from Whitton Farms and about a cup of frozen roasted acorn squash from Windemere Farms. I'd really like to make this again with butternut squash, though. The short-grain rice I picked up at Mediterranean Grocery on Park.

Carrot and Winter Squash Risotto
From The Produce Bible by Leanne Kitchen

1/3 cup butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 3/4 cups diced winter squash
2 carrots, diced (mine were smaller than standard grocery carrots, so I used more)
8 cups vegetable stock, heated (I used some homemade light beef stock I had on hand and supplemented with hot water)
2 cups risotto rice (arborio or any other short-grain)
1 cup shaved Romano or Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Prep your veggies!

Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan (I think you'd really need a larger cooking vessel than a standard frying pan because the rice expands exponentially. I used my wok). Add the onion and fry for 1-2 minutes or until soft.

Add the diced winter squash and carrot and cook for 6-8 minutes or until tender. Mash slightly with a potato masher (whoops, forgot this step).

In a separate saucepan, heat the stock over medium heat and keep the stock at simmering point.

Add the rice to the vegetable and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, until the grains are translucent. Ladle in 1/2 cup of hot stock and stir well. Reduce the heat and add the stock little by little, stirring constantly for 20-30 minutes, until the rice is tender and creamy. You may use not all the stock or need to add some water.

After 10 minutes of cooking

After 30 minutes - yum. Remove from the heat, add the remaining butter, the cheese, and nutmeg, season with freshly ground black pepper and stir thoroughly. Cover and leave for 5 minutes before serving.

I tasted it when I made it last night (going to see how it reheats tonight...). The nutmeg addition is a stroke of genius.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Judith Jones' "A Potato Dish for Julia"

This basic recipe comes from Judith Jones' The Pleasures of Cooking for One. Jones was the editor who took a chance on Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The story behind this dish, which she shares in the cookbook, is very cute -- she was working late one night with Julia Child, who asked her to throw together a "nice little potato dish." Talk about unnerving. But, she made this fast version of potatoes Anna, and it met with Julia's approbation. Whew.

Anyway, in addition to being Julia Child-approved, the basic recipe really is simple and easy to make. I had some bacon and goat cheese that I threw in for fun.* The butter and garlic smell so very good while cooking, but when you finally get around to eating the thing, the goat cheese adds a nice tangy note.

A Potato Dish for Julia
Adapted from Judith Jones' The Pleasures of Cooking for One

2 or 3 small-to-medium new potatoes (Mai Vue Farms)
1 small garlic clove, minced (my own! German Extra Hardy. is v. pungent)
freshly ground pepper
4 teaspoons butter
a strip of bacon, crumbled
a couple teaspoons of goat cheese (Bonnie Blue Farms)

Jones recommends peeling your potatoes -- I didn't. So either peel or don't peel, but in any case, slice them very thin.

Peel and mince the garlic, then, using the flat of a knife or the back of a spoon, mash it with a little salt until it is a paste.

Work a little of the butter into it.

Heat two teaspoons of butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat and lay in half the potato slices, overlapping slightly, to fill the bottom of the pan. Salt and pepper them lightly and smear the garlic paste on top. I found it difficult to "smear," so I settled for dotting. I also threw in the goat cheese and bacon here.

Add the remaining layer of potatoes and cook gently, setting a small cover askew on top of the pan. After about 8 minutes, turn the potatoes, which should be brown on the bottom, by setting a small, sturdy plate on top of the pan and flipping the potatoes over onto it. This won't come out perfectly. There are also not pictures of this because it is hard enough to do it, let alone take pictures of yourself doing it.

After heating the remaining butter in the pan, slide the potatoes back in and arrange as neatly as you can. Let them cook, semi-covered, for about 5 minutes, then uncovered a couple minutes more. They'll be nice and brown and delicious. I had these for an early dinner with a lentil salad. Yum.

*And I swear I am not in any way related to Paula Deen.

Friday, September 10, 2010

ZooBrew Review!

Hi everyone! Check out my review of ZooBrew at the Memphis Zoo over on Many thanks to Mike for letting me guest-blog!

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Look! A home version of Memphis Pizza Cafe's Alternative pie. With olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella, it's my favorite slice there. This version used local Ripley tomatoes and feta. There is little that cannot be improved with feta. It was made (homemade pizza dough included) by my very sweet SO, so I have no recipe, only pictures and a full tummy.

The New Belgium Sunshine Wheat was pretty good, too.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Eggplant Sausage Stuffing

Can you stand getting back in the kitchen? Then use this recipe as a way to combine a prolific summer veggie with a fall-ish dish. Then head to the Memphis Farmers Market to buy a copy of the MFM Cookbook, which this recipe comes from. It has tons of simple, innovative recipes for using up everything you bought at the market. If you're feeling daring, local chefs have contributed fancier schmancier recipes.

Eggplant Sausage Stuffing
From the Memphis Farmers Market Cookbook (contributed by Anita McCarty)

1 small eggplant (U of M garden)
1/4 lb sausage (spicy italian from the home freezer pig)
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1 egg
1/3 cup to 1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Cube eggplant. Soak it in salt water while browning sausage and onion in a skillet. Drain eggplant and simmer in water until tender.

Drain eggplant and then combine with sausage mixture, bread crumbs, egg, milk, salt, and pepper.

Pour into a 1 quart casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

This is more like a casserole, and I've had it several times as a easy one-dish dinner. Comfort-food weather is upon us -- I can't wait to make split-pea soup again.