I finally did it. I finally caved and gave into that little inner voice that has been begging for a savory pie. I pretty much dreamed of making one all summer long. I think the many days of grilling and salads were catching up with me come August. What is it about too much of anything that makes us crave a little bit of the opposite? The Yin to the Yang? This pie is definitely the yin to my summer food yang.
I made this for our dinner last night while my husband Bob was out enjoying a wining, dining and Sounders game evening. It was the perfect meal to end our day and begin the homework marathon that has become a grim reality at our house. My boys are pretty much devourers of anything meat and carbohydrate related these days and they were swarming around me like bees, while I was cooking, anxiously awaiting their dinner.
The fragrant aroma of seared beef, mushrooms, rosemary, ale and onions permeated the entire house, a heady mix of savory and smoky. "Entrancing" is the most accurate word to describe it. Scout, our German Shepherd glued herself to my side hoping to catch any itinerant pieces of meat, sniffing the air with her long elegant snout and casting baleful, woeful looks.
This gorgeous beef, was my most recent gift from the good folks at Farmstr. And comes locally sourced from Fluit Family Farms in Wallowa, Oregon. This beef variety named, Rotokawa Red Devon is 100% grass fed, and dry aged 2-3 weeks. For those not in the know, dry aging improves the overall quality and flavor of beef. Most beef sold commercially is not dry aged. If you've ever had it you can definitely tell the difference. This beef was quite possibly some of the best I've had. Normally stew beef or chuck can run tough and require many hours of braising. Not so for the Farmstr beef. Perfectly marbled without being fatty, it required significantly less braising time and the result was meltingly, mouthwateringly good.
Once the pastry was puffed and golden and I couldn't wait a second longer, I pulled this beauty out of the oven, poured a big glass of red and plunked myself down to the table with my boys. Silence reigned, utensils clinked against dishes and each other and for one fleeting moment the specter of torturous late-night homework meltdowns and weary days all fell away. Bliss.
Beef, Mushroom and Parsnip Pie
1 1/2 lb. beef chuck roast or stew meat
1/4 C. all purpose flour
2 T. olive oil and 1 T. vegetable oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
5 cloves garlic, whole
7-8 cipollini onions, peeled, left whole
1 sprig rosemary
3 sprigs thyme
2 T. olive oil
3 medium sized parsnips, peeled and sliced
2 medium size carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 lb. Shitake mushrooms, sliced
750 ml. stout beer, I used Samuel Smith's
2 C. water
1 T. beef bouillon, or beef demi glace
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed and cut to fit the top of a large cast iron skillet or medium sized casserole dish
additional sprigs of rosemary and thyme
1 egg, beaten with 1tsp. milk
coarse sea salt
In a large, heavy bottomed stock pot, heat the oils on high. Toss the beef in the flour and season liberally with salt and pepper. In batches, brown the beef on both sides until caramelized. Set aside, add 1 T. additional oil and tip in the garlic and onions. Saute until both are browning and have developed a good crust.
Remove from the pan and set aside. Deglaze the pan with the beer, scraping up the browned bits. Tip the meat, onions and garlic back into the pan/pot and add the rosemary, thyme, water and beef bouillon.
Cover and cook 1 hour until the meat is tender. Stir periodically to prevent sticking. If needed add some additional water if the mixture becomes too thick.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. While the meat is simmering, in a separate sauce pan saute the carrots, parsnips and mushrooms in the 2 T. oil over medium high heat. Cook just until they begin to brown, then turn off the heat.
After the beef has simmered for 1 hour, add the carrots, parsnips and mushrooms, continue to simmer for 15 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce. Pour the thickened stew into the cast iron skillet or casserole dish.
Carefully place both pieces of puff pastry on top of the stew, tucking the edges under, or allowing them to drape over the sides of the dish. If you allow them to drape over the sides, wet the rim of the dish and firmly press the pastry along the edge to form a seal.
Brush the egg wash over the top of the pastry, sprinkle generously with coarse sea salt and sprinkle with additional herbs.
Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 30 to 40 minutes until the pastry is puffed and golden brown.
*The good folks at Farmstr have generously gifted me this beef. No other compensation has been given. All opinions stated are purely my own.