Mar 17 2011

What’s Cooking: Stout Stew and Stilton Crust

(2 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Most people when they think of St. Patrick’s Day food think of corned beef, cabbage and potatoes. Being an bit of an adventurous cook and not overly fond of the cabbage part of the traditional cuisine, I found a recipe that had the beef and potatoes but also, the addition of an Irish Stout. A bit more work and planning, it is a hearty stew for any chilly day, looks pretty and goes well with a hearty Irish Stout. The stew is simmered slowly on the top of the stove and finished with the Stilton Crust in a hot oven.

Beef and Stout Pie with Stilton Crust


   * 7 Tbs. olive oil

   * 1 lb. white button mushrooms, quartered

   * 2 cups frozen pearl onions, thawed

   * Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

   * 3 1/2 lb. beef chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes

   * 1 cup all-purpose flour

   * 3 garlic cloves, minced

   * 2 Tbs. tomato paste

   * 2 1/2 cups Irish stout

   * 1 cup beef broth

   * 1 lb. carrots, cut into chunks

   * 1 lb. red potatoes, cut into chunks

   * 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh thyme

   * One 16-inch round Stilton pastry (recipe below)

   * 1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp. water


In a 5 1/2-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the mushrooms, onions, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Season the beef with salt and pepper. Dredge the beef in the flour, shaking off the excess. In the Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add one-third of the beef and brown on all sides, about 7 minutes total. Transfer to a separate bowl. Add 1/2 cup water to the pot, stirring to scrape up the browned bits. Pour the liquid into a separate bowl. Repeat the process 2 more times, using 2 Tbs. oil to brown each batch of beef and deglazing the pot with 1/2 cup water after each batch.

Return the pot to medium-high heat. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Add the beef, stout, broth and reserved liquid, stirring to scrape up the browned bits. Add the mushrooms, onions, carrots, potatoes and thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beef and vegetables are tender, about 3 hours.

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

Stilton Pastry


   * 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

   * 2 tsp. salt

   * 1 Tbs. sugar

   * 16 Tbs. (2 sticks/250g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

   * 1/3 to 1/2 cup ice water

   * 4 oz. Stilton cheese, crumbled


In a food processor, combine the flour, salt and sugar and pulse until blended, about 5 pulses. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 pulses. Add 1/3 cup of the ice water and pulse 2 or 3 times. The dough should hold together when squeezed with your fingers but should not be sticky. If it is crumbly, add more water 1 Tbs. at a time, pulsing twice after each addition. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape into a disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand for 5 minutes. Sprinkle the top of the dough lightly with flour, place on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper and roll out into a 12-by-16-inch rectangle. Sprinkle the cheese over half of the dough, then fold the other half over the cheese. Roll out the dough into a 16 1/2-inch square. Using a paring knife, trim the dough into a 16-inch round.

Refrigerate the dough until firm, about 10 minutes, then lay the dough on top of the beef and stout pie and bake as directed in that recipe. Makes enough dough for a 16-inch round.

Brush the rim of the pot with water. Lay the pastry round on top, allowing it to droop onto the filling. Trim the dough, leaving a 1-inch overhang, and crimp to seal. Brush the pastry with the egg mixture, then cut 4 slits in the top of the dough. Bake for 30 minutes. Let the potpie rest for 15 minutes before serving. Serves 8 to 10.


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  1. TMC
  2. RiaD

    this looks really yummy. i love that stilton crust.

    have i given you “my” broccoli stilton soup recipe?

    it was given me by an englishman; it’s absolutely delectable

    Broccoli and Stilton Soup


    Olive oil, salt, pepper.

    Bacon, 8 rashers chopped.

    Onions, 2 large, chopped.

    Garlic, 8 cloves or equivalent.

    Celery, 4 sticks, “de-stringed” and diced.

    Chicken stock, 1 pint.

    Broccoli, 2 large bunches; heads chopped roughly, stems diced.

    Stilton cheese or equivalent, to taste.


    Fry bacon in olive oil together with salt and pepper for about 10 minutes.

    Add onions, garlic and celery and further cook for about 5 minutes.

    Add chicken stock and broccoli and cook for 10 minutes.

    Allow to cool slightly then smooth with hand blender.

    Prior to serving, reheat and mix in blue cheese. Garnish with retained blue cheese



    Additional green vegetables can be added during cooking if required.

  3. Translator, aka Dr. David W. Smith

    have the Guinness in a glass.  The new, nonpasteurized, cold filtered ones are excellent! I LOVE Stilton!  Here is a rare treat, and easy to prepare.

    Take whole celery seeds and grind them in a mortar and pestle, or a coffee grinder if you are of little arm strength.  It is essential to use fresh, whole ones.  Depending on how hungry you are, a teaspoon, give or take, will do fine.  After they are well masticated, blend in an equal volume of salt.  It does not really matter if you use iodized (a good idea if you live in a low iodine area), sea, Kosher, or whatever.  Just make sure that the celery seeds and the salt are well blended.

    Just before doing that, take out however much cheese that you think that will be eaten and let it warm up to room temperature.  Cold cheese does not have the nose that room temperature cheese has.  Stilton is the best for this, but any good blue veined one works, and even extremely sharp Cheddar will work.

    Now get a plain cracker.  Saltines work well, but I find that the product that is made of whole wheat, woven, is better.  In the old SNL, I seem to remember that it was called Colon Blow.  I think that Triscuit is the brand name.

    Put some prepared mustard (I very much like the French Spicy kind, but the Zatarin’s Creole works well, too), just a very little bit, on the cracker, then top it with the very thin slice of cheese.  Then add another very little bit of mustard.  Then put a thumb and fingerfull of the celery seed/salt mixture on top, and slowly eat it.

    First smell it, with the celery seed aroma blending with the mustard.  Next, take a bite, savoring the aroma unleashed from the cheese, melded with the mustard and celery seeds.

    Next, take a big swig of Guinness, and if I am not far from wrong, you will experience food sensory overload!

    By the way, this is not my original recipe, but I did adapt it for Triscuits.  After half of a cracker of that, even the cheapest beer or wine will taste like a better product.

    Please try it and tell me what you think.

    Warmest regards,


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