Made in a deep, heavy 8 quart cast iron pot with a  lid  (Dutch oven)

Last year around this time, I made a pot roast with big pieces of butternut squash and halved onions in the oven.  A day later I took the leftovers, including the gravy, and made stew.  Stew from leftovers is definitely an improvement over freshly made stew.   There’s a deeper, fuller, and more flavorful rich quality–without question.  It’s just that there’s usually less than when you make a fresh pot. That stew made very quickly with the addition of more onions, celery, and Guinness stout, etc., was divine.   I mean it, it was an incredible stew. When my boss tasted it (and she’s a really good cook), she said, “Alyce cooks for God, you know.”

At the top of Dublin’s Guinness brewery, there’s a 2DIE4 pub…here’s one view.

No who knows totally why one time things are so scrumptious you want more and more — and another time (same ingredients and method apparently) it’s like, “This is ok. Yeah, we can eat dinner here.”  Perhaps it’s the quality of the meat (in the case of stew) or maybe it’s a little pixie dust.  Your taste buds might be on their “A” game so that you are able to season the pot in an extraordinary way.   Truly, I just don’t know.  I know when I’m tired — really exhausted– the meal prepared under those circumstances is plebian.  I just did that recently, so I know.  I know when I don’t give something my undivided attention that it’s bound to be less interesting.  (As in the kids are hungry-throw a bunch of cut-up chicken in the oven and make some rice for God’s sake.)

Despite the fact that I make several pots of stew over the winter each year, I remembered that one.  I also remembered I was determined to recreate it from scratch if possible.  Hence this pot of stew that, by the end of the cooking, morphed into one big pot pie.

We could choose between three temperatures of Guinness pints. Dubliners love their Guinness and speak highly of the company that has employed and taken care of many of them over the years.

Options:
 
**If you’d like stew only, add a cup or two more liquid, and skip the biscuits.  You could, without question, make the whole pot of stew in a pot on the stove.

**I did not try it, but I’d guess it’s possible to make the stew all day in the crock-pot–cutting down the amount of herbs–, pour it into an oven-safe pot and bake with the biscuits right at dinner time.

**Another option might be (again, I didn’t try this) to cool the stew and top it with puff pastry, brushing the pastry with a little melted butter or an egg wash–one egg beaten well with a teaspoon of water.  (If you put the puff pastry on hot stew, it’ll be melting.)  You would then need to bake in a hot oven (400 degrees F) until the puff pastry was golden.  That might appeal to some cooks more than making biscuit dough.  Here’s a method.

**Like Bisquick biscuits?  Go on; I won’t know, though I encourage you to learn to make biscuits.  I once knew a woman whose husband insisted he married her because she could make beaten biscuits in her sleep.

** I also give directions –see “Cheddar-Dill Biscuits” scrolling down — for baking and serving the biscuits separately if that suits you better.

Come cold, there’s little more satisfying than a pot of stew in the oven. I encourage you to use the oven method if you can.  Play cards.  Listen to music.  Watch “Michael” or “The Quiet Man,” if it’s St. Pat’s  One of the interesting things about this stew is it’s made without potatoes though you could add some if you’d like.  I prefer other root vegetables and stick with carrots, turnips, parsnips, as well as celery, onions, garlic, and butternut squash.  I’ve you’ve no butternut squash, use extra carrots, parsnips, or a combination.  Serve this with another couple of cold Guinness stouts or a glass of your favorite Syrah or Côtes du Rhône if you’re not a dark beer person.  (You’ll still love the stew; I promise.)

Five St. Pat’s Movies to Watch This Weekend (Washington Post)

guinness beef pot pie with cheddar-dill biscuits
a look and cook recipe
Total preparation and cooking time:  approximately 2 1/2 –  3 hours.
Serves 6-8

 ( Read through before beginning.  Scroll down for separate ingredients list and biscuit recipe)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  To an 8 qt Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add 3 tablespoons canola oil. When hot, add 2-3  pounds beef chuck (seasoned well with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper) cut into 1 – 1 1/2 inch pieces. Brown well in two batches, removing the first batch to a plate while you cook the second.

To the second batch of browning beef, add 2 large chopped onions.  When beef is nearly brown, add four cloves chopped garlic.  Cook a minute, return first batch of beef to the pot, and stir in 2 tablespoons flour. Cook 2 minutes, stirring.

Pour in 2 cups each beef broth and Guinness stout,  and stir well to scrape up the bits at the bottom of the pot. Add 1 bay leaf,  1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, a large sprig each of fresh rosemary, thyme, and sage.* Stir in 1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish or a good hard shake or two of Tabasco.
Add 4 ounces quartered button mushrooms along with one each turnip and parsnip , 2 carrots, 2 stalks celery, and 1 cup of  butternut squash, all cut into around 1/2 inch pieces.
Bring to a boil stirring occasionally.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Cover and bake in the oven 1 1/2 – 2 hours or until beef and vegetables are tender and sauce is thickened. 

 Remove from oven and take out the fresh herb sprigs.^ If stew is very, very thick, add a cup water or broth, but no more stout.  Biscuits will soak up a lot of the liquid as they bake in the stew.
Meanwhile, make cheddar-dill biscuit dough. It’s a very wet dough.  (See below for recipe.)
Spoon biscuit dough (I used a wooden spoon) onto the top of the cooked stew. Brush biscuits with a tablespoon of melted butter. Biscuits will rise and expand to nearly cover top of pie. 
Return to oven and bake uncovered another 20-30 minutes until biscuits are golden brown.

Serve hot with a crisp green salad.  Store leftovers well covered in frig 2-3 days.  Rewarm in another casserole in oven.

Ingredients List (see below for biscuit ingredients):  2-3 pounds beef chuck roast cut into 1 – 1 1/2 inch pieces; salt and pepper; 2 large onions; 4 cloves garlic; 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour; 2 cups each beef broth and Guinness stout**; 4 ounces button mushrooms; one each turnip and parsnip; 2 carrots; 1 cup cut butternut squash; 1/2 cup chopped parsley, 1 bay leaf, and 1 sprig each rosemary, thyme, and sage*; 1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish or Tabasco.

*You may substitute two teaspoons each dried rosemary (crumbled) and thyme with 1/2 teaspoon ground sage.

**If you don’t want to use beer, use all beef broth.

^ Leave in bay leaf.  Whoever gets it has good luck!

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cheddar-dill biscuits for pot pie

Cook’s Note:  This recipe is for the biscuits cooked in the stew.  If you want to bake a pan of these biscuits separately, decrease the milk to 2/3 of a cup and mix until the dough just comes together. Turn out onto a floured board or counter and knead 10 times or so before patting or rolling out the dough until it’s about 1/2-inch thick. Cut biscuits out with a floured 2-inch round biscuit cutter.  You could also cut the biscuits into squares or rectangles with a sharp knife.  Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit (220C/Gas Mark 7) on a baking sheet or in a  big (10-inch) pie plate for 15 minutes or until golden. You can serve the biscuits with a pie server in the pie plate at center of the table.  They’ll stay warm a good long while and your family or friends can help themselves.

  • 2 cups unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill
  • 1/2 cup (4 tablespoons) cold butter, diced–plus 1 more tablespoon, melted for tops of biscuits
  • 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (Irish cheddar would be fun.)
  • 1 cup milk

Stir together dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  Add cold butter and using a pastry blender or two knives (you can use just your fingers or even do the whole thing in a food processor), cut in the butter until the butter is mostly blended and the mixture appears sandy.  Stir in cheese.  Pour in milk and mix well without over-mixing.  (Using a large spoon, divide dough fairly evenly around the top of the pot pie and brush with the tablespoon of melted butter before baking.)

Sing a new song; listen to Rob Leveridge,
Alyce
(first posted october 2012 right here on More Time)