Irish Steak Pie

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With St. Patrick’s Day a week out, Laura and I felt that it was our Food Bloggers’ Obligation to provide you with some Real Irish fare.  And friends, this recipe for Irish steak pie is as Real Irish as they come.  First, it was adapted from a cookbook called The Irish Farmers’ Market Cookbook; second, the cookbook was written by an Irish woman; and third, my mom bought the cookbook for me in Ireland. If that’s not an authentic pedigree, I don’t know what is.  Real Irish, I tell you.

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Irish steak pie takes a bit of time to put together, but it’s wonderful comfort food.  The combination of beer-braised beef, sweet carrots, and puff pastry just can’t be beaten on a brisk March day.  (Or in a March snowstorm, seeing as those are unfortunately common this year.)  Serve it with mashed potatoes and a veggie for a St. Patrick’s Day warm-up.

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Irish Steak Pie
adapted from The Irish Farmers’ Market Cookbook

1 tbs. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 pound round steak, cut into small pieces
salt & pepper
2 cups chopped carrots (about half a pound)
12 oz. ale (I like Sam Adams Boston Ale or a fall ale)
1 cup beef broth
1 1/2 tbs. butter
3 tbs. flour, plus extra for rolling out pastry
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten
sesame seeds (optional)

1. Brown the beef and the onions in the olive oil over medium-high heat.  When the beef bits are browned, stir in the carrots, ale, and broth, just enough to almost cover the ingredients.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat.  Simmer gently for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the meat is tender.

2. When the beef mixture is done, make a roux with the butter and flour in a small saucepan over medium heat: Melt the butter, then whisk in the flour until it becomes a thick paste.  Stir the paste around the pan for about 30 seconds, or until it begins to brown ever-so-slightly.  Add broth from the beef mixture a spoonful at a time, up to about 3/4 cup.  Stir the broth into the roux to make a smooth, thick sauce.  Add the sauce back into the beef mixture and heat on low, stirring to incorporate.  Remove from heat.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 F. While the beef mixture is cooling, gently roll out one sheet of the puff pastry on a floured surface just until it fits the inside of a 9-inch pie pan.  The sheet will still be square, but it should cover the sides of the pan.  Let the corners hang over the edge.  Fill the pie pan with the beef mixture.  Gently roll out the second sheet of puff pastry, until it is large enough to cover the top of the pan.  Lay the second sheet over the filled pie pan so that the corners of the squares do not line up.  Tuck the corners of the top pastry down the outside of the bottom pastry, and fold the corners of the bottom pastry over the top. If this doesn’t work out exactly, that’s fine. The pie can have a rustic look.

4. Brush the top of the pie with the beaten egg, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Bake at 350 F for 35-40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden.