Category: steak

Some stout pie shenanigans.

The Irish (and English, for that matter) love their pies. And I don’t mean fruit pies, I mean meat pies. Hot, cold, warm or room temperature, they love them some meat pies. It’s a famous pub dish; a flaky pie crust or puff pastry topping over a beef-stew like filling. You can make them in individual pie plates or as one big pie. Similar concept to Shepherd’s pie, except this pie actually has a crust on top, whereas the former has mashed potatoes.

meat pie is a pie with a filling of meat and/or other savoury ingredients. Principally popular in EuropeAustraliaNew ZealandCanada, and South Africa, meat pies differ from a pasty in the sense that a pasty is typically a more portable, on-the-go item, as opposed to a more conventional pie.


A few weeks ago, I went to a pub that Jay’s friend opened in Brooklyn, and somewhere around the third or fourth Guinness we decided to have a beef & stout pie. It was just a simple little pub with no kitchen, so the pie was an instant microwaveable one. But it gave me an idea: make your own, Marilla!  And at some point, in between then and now, I picked up this book, which conveniently had a recipe listed on the cover for beef & stout pies. SCORE.

How perfect is that?

Anyway, I decided I’d give ’em a try this week, and they turned out pretty amazing.

And quite easy, actually. In the opinion of the Irish (according to the book), the only stout suitable for cooking with beef is Guinness. If you have another stout you want to use, then so be it. I stick with Guinness for this kinda stuff though- it’s sweet, but not too sweet. Perfect for a stew.



  • 2 lbs. boneless chuck steak or eye of round steak, cut into 1″-inch pieces
  •  1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups meat stock
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 or 5 large carrots, peeled & sliced into “coins”
  • 4 or 5 medium/large potatoes, peeled and cut into roughly 1/2″ chunks
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 1 cup Guinness stout
  • 1 pound store-bought puff pastry or store-bought pie crust
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • vegetable oil, for frying


  1. Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a medium bowl, then toss the (patted dry) beef in the mix until evenly coated.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the beef, in batches, and transfer to a flameproof casserole dish or dutch oven. Deglaze the skillet with 1/4 cup of the stock, and add the liquid to the casserole dish.
  3. Heat another 1-2 tablespoons of oil in the skillet and cook the onion and carrots for 6-7 minutes or until onions are soft.  Add to the casserole dish with the tomato paste, thyme, stout, potatoes and remaining stock. Heat the casserole dish or oven over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, then simmer gently with the lid slightly askew for around 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Check the seasoning, and add salt or pepper as needed. Drain the meat mixture in a strainer set over a large bowl. Reserve the liquid, letting rest until cool. Preheat the oven to 425° F and put a baking sheet in the oven to preheat.
  5. Divide the meat mixture among four individual pie plates or 5 -5 1/2″ ramekins. Pour in enough liquid to not quite cover the filling. Dampen the rims of the plates or ramekins with water.
  6. Cut your pastry into four pieces, each one large enough to cover the tops of the pies including a 1″ hangover.  Make holes in it or two or three slashes to allow air our and place them on top of the filling, pressing the edges down. I used a fork to push the dough onto the rim. Brush with egg yolk.
  7. Places the pies on a the preheated baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 400° F and bake for 5 more minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving so no one burns a tongue!

It isn’t the most attractive looking meal, but trust me. It’s way better than it looks! Potatoes, beer, beef, carrots… how can that be bad!?

If you wish, you can lessen the amount of carrots & potatoes, but add in some cremini mushrooms (just the caps, quartered- no stems). I’m not a big mushroom lover. I left them out. If you do choose to add mushrooms, add them with the onions and carrots in step 3. Also, I used frozen pie crust for the tops. Puff pastry will be puffier, obviously. You can also use homemade, if you’ve got a great recipe you like. For the sake of time I went with frozen. Sue me. 

I also made four ramekins, each one measures about 5″ across and 3 1/2″ high. I actually bought them at Pier 1 Imports, so here they are, the larger size. Vintage embroidered Irish linen napkins not included.

And that, my friends, is that. Serve with a hearty bread, or a bit of Irish soda bread, and a pint of Guinness! Or Harp. Or whatever. It doesn’t really matter what you pair it with, just so long as you enjoy yourself.

I hope you all have a happy & delicious St. Patrick’s Day!

Onion rings, pico de gallo & chili-rubbed steaks.

I was going through some old magazines in the drawer of my mom’s coffee table and happened upon 3 old Bon Appétit‘s, two from 2000 (July and September) and one from 2001 (March). In addition to how different the magazine was then compared to now (it was much thicker then, but I think it had a lot more advertisements, also, the photography is beautiful but not as artsy as it is now) it got me contemplating how different the world was since then. First off, 9/11 happened. We’re in two wars, George Bush isn’t President anymore (I thought that would never end), the economy has tanked, a lot of the restaurants mentioned in the older magazines probably don’t exist anymore thanks to the tanked economy, and we made history by electing a black President. Fashion has changed considerably since then, also. I know my style has certainly changed. But food- food remains the same. Particularly barbecue. Sure there are variations on a theme, but a good recipe never goes out of style!

The three old Bon Appétit‘s, Sept. 2000, March 2001 and July 2000
July 2000 (left) and July 2009 (right)

The July 2000 issue was the annual Barbecue Issue. Now, 9 years ago I was 19 so I wasn’t really interested in cooking or barbecuing anything myself, nor was I really interested in Bon Appétit magazine (plus that was the year I met Jay so I was a bit preoccupied I suppose)… but I missed out on a lot looking back. This issue is chock full (did I just say ‘chock full’? I must be 90 years old) of amazing recipes and meal ideas.

The recipes I’m sharing today are from that very issue (and are also coincedentally the cover recipes for that issue): chili-rubbed steaks, pico de gallo and red chili onion rings. I didn’t use rib-eyes, which is what the recipe calls for, I used sirloins, but it doesn’t matter. You can use any steak you like with this rub. You could even use chicken or shrimp too. The steak rub was off the hook (wow, isn’t that a blast from 1999!). The homemade onion rings are AWESOME. A-W-E-S-O-M-E. And the pico de gallo? Amazing. But then again, I could live on pico de gallo, guacamole and tortilla chips for the rest of my life and be happy. I omitted the jalapenos because my 91 year old grandmother was eating this with us and probably wouldn’t have enjoyed that surprise.

Needless to say, it was another score for me in the cooking department. Thanks to chef Stephan Pyles who contributed these recipes to the magazine.



  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • ¼ cup paprika
  • 2 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • 4 14-16 ounce bone-in ribe-eye steaks, about 1 ½ inches thick (You can use any steaks you want, this is just what the original recipe was for, like I said I used sirloin)


  1. Mix first 4 ingredients in pie dish. Coat steaks with spice mixture and transfer to another dish. Cover; chill at least 8 hours.
  2. Spray grill racks with nonstick spray; prepare barbecue (medium heat). Grill steaks to desired doneness, moving and turning occasionally to prevent chili rub from burnin, about 20 minutes for medium-rare.
  3. Serve with pico de gallo and onion rings.



  • 1 ½ pounds plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • ¾ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeno chilies (about 2 medium)*
  • 1 garlic clove, minced


  1. Mix ingredients in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover; chill.



  • 2 large onions, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices, separated into rings
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon salt


  1. Place onions in a bowl. Pour milk over; let stand 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.
  2. Whisk flour, chili powder, cumin, paprika and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Pour enough oil into a large pot to reach depth of 3 inches. Heat to 350 F.
  4. Working with a few onion rings at a time, shake off excess milk. Dip into flour mixture, coating lightly.
  5. Add onion rings to pot; deep fry until golden, about 45 seconds. Drain and serve.

I plan on going through and making things from these old magazines all summer. So stay tuned!

Flat Iron steak & oven-roasted potato wedges with cilantro-lime mayonnaise.

I don’t eat much red meat anymore- I’ve lost my taste for it. But this recipe sounded so damn good it actually made me want to have some. But also, I’ll be honest: the main reason I wanted to make this was because it was called Flat Iron steak, and I happen to adore the M·A·C store in the Flatiron Building in Manhattan (and the building itself) so I thought it was a nifty name for a steak. Considering how delicious this was, I think my instinct for judging a recipe by its name is pretty damn good.

(image courtesy of Tony Shi on Flickr)

The Flatiron Building, or Fuller Building as it was originally called, is located at 175 Fifth Avenue in the borough of Manhattan, and is considered to be one of the first skyscrapers ever built. Upon completion in 1902 it was one of the tallest buildings in New York City. The building sits on a triangular island block at 23rd Street, Fifth Avenue, and Broadway, anchoring the south (downtown) end of Madison Square.

The potato wedges just sounded so amazing, I had to make them. The steak recipe is from Chicago’s Custom House restaurant, and the potato wedges (and mayo recipe) are from the May 2009 issue of Gourmet magazine. I didn’t make the mayonnaise because I didn’t have cilantro, but I’m adding it here because a) it sounds effing delicious, b) it goes with the potatoes and c) it’ll remind me to make it A.S.A.P. Psst… Ley, this is a perfect recipe for you to make, the name of your blog being Cilantro & Lime 😀



  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp each: black pepper, smoked paprika, crushed fennel seeds* and kosher salt
  • 4 flat iron (top chuck) steaks, about 1 ½ lbs
  • 2 tsp unsalted butter


  1. Combine 1 tablespoon olive oil with seasonings. Spread paste over both sides of steak, and let sit 20 minutes.
  2. Heat remaining oil and butter in large skillet, over medium-high heat.
  3. Cook steak 10-12 minutes, turning once, or until instant read thermometer registers 140°F for medium-rare.

*I didn’t use these.



  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 lbs baking potatoes (about 4 medium), each cut into wedges


  1. Put a 4-sided sheet pan in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Stir cumin & oregano plus ¾ tsp salt into oil in a large bowl. Add potatoes and toss.
  3. Arrange potatoes, cut sides down, in1 layer in hot pan and roast, turning once, until golden (about 40 minutes).



  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tsp grated lime zest
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lime juice


  1. Stir all ingredients together, adding ¼ teaspoon salt, in a small serving bowl.

Yum. Thats all I can say. Yum.

Beware when making this: the potatoes go really fast. I suggest making 8 lbs.