Category Archives: blue cheese

Meat & Stout Pie w/ Blue Cheese Crust

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Tis the season when everyone is a wee bit Irish so why not celebrate with food?

For me, pot pies are the ultimate in winter comfort food. Chicken and turkey are my usual fillings but since my family eats a lot of beef stew I began playing with making a beef pot pie that was reminiscent of meat pies I’ve enjoyed in Great Britain. And I found success. If a rich beef stew is good, it is even better when encased in a flaky crust. But I didn’t stop there. In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day I adapted this pot pie from Williams Sonoma into an Irish tribute. Both beef and lamb and slow cooked in a rich Guinness Stout broth which infuses the entire meal with flavor. And best of all, it is topped off with a blue cheese crust. Yum.

I’m not going to lie; this is a time consuming dish to make. But you can do as I often do and make this dish is two steps over two days. The filling and dough can be made ahead of time and refrigerated until you are ready to assemble the pot pies and eat them. Simply reheat the filling until it is hot and bubbling then fill the pie dishes and proceed as directed. By doing this, you can easily serve up hot pie pies as a fast weeknight meal.

MEAT & STOUT PIE w/ BLUE CHEESE CRUST

For the meat filling:

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 cups baby portobello mushrooms, quartered

1 cup pearl onions, peeled

2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided

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

1 pound lamb roast, cut into 1-inch cubes

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 tablespoons tomato paste

2 1/2 cups Irish stout, divided

1 cup beef broth

1 cup carrots, cut into chunks

2 cups red potatoes, cut into chunks

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely minced

One 16-inch round blue cheese pastry

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large Dutch oven set over medium-high heat.
  • When the oil shimmers, add the mushrooms, onions, 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1 teaspoon of the pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally for 10 to 12 minutes or until the vegetables are lightly browned and softened. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl.
  • Place the flour and remaining salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  • Dredge the beef and lamb in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to the pot. When the oil is hot add half of the meat and brown on all sides, about 7 minutes. Transfer the meat to a separate bowl.
  • Add 1/4 cup of the Guinness Stout to the pot, stirring to scrape up any brown bits. Pour the liquid into the reserved meat.
  • Repeat the process with the remaining oil, meat and 1/4 cup of stout.
  • Return the pot to medium-high heat and add the garlic and tomato paste. Cook, stirring constantly for 30 seconds.
  • Add the meat, reserved liquid, remaining stout and beef broth the the pot, stirring to scrape up any browned bits.
  • Add the mushrooms, onions, carrots, potatoes, bay leaves and thyme and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beef is very tender, about 3 hours.

For the crust:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon sugar

16 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1/3 cup ice water

4 ounces crumbled blue cheese

  • In a food processor, pulse the flour, salt and sugar until blended.
  • Add in the butter pieces and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal; about 10 pulses.
  • Add the water and pulse an additional 2 to 3 times. The dough should be soft and hold together when squeezed but not sticky. If necessary, add additional water, by the tablespoon, until the dough is the right texture.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead with your hands a few times. Shape into a disk, wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour and place on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper. Roll into a rough 12 by 16 inch square.
  • Sprinkle the blue cheese over half of the  dough then fold the other half over the cheese. Roll the dough again until it it is 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

To assemble the pot pies:

  • Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place 4 2-cup oven proof ramekins on a rimmed baking dish and fill each one with the meat mixture.
  • Using a sharp paring knife and your baking dishes as a guide, cut out 4 circles of dough, adding 1/2 inch to each piece of dough.
  • Place the dough on top of each pot pie, crimping the edges to form a seal.
  • Cut 3 or 4 silts into the top of each pie.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes or until the tops are browned and flakey.
  • Allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Yields: 4 2-cup pot pies

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Grilled Peach & Steak Salad

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It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Entree salads are a favorite summer time dinner. When topped with protein they are cool, crisp and completely satisfying. For me, the trick to keeping salads interesting is continually changing up the ingredients. This salad is built around what is good at the markets this time of year and peaches top that list. Grilling them gives them a slightly charred flavor which complements the steak. Peppers and tomatoes add to the salad’s texture while the blue cheese and sunflower seeds add interest. I’ve kept the seasonings for both the steak and the dressing simple as to not detract from the freshness of the fruit and vegetables. Add other vegetables if you want; after all the key to a good salad is one that includes the toppings you want.

GRILLED PEACH & STEAK SALAD

2 rib eye steaks, trimmed

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

2 peaches, halved and pitted

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

8 cups mixed greens

1 green bell pepper, sliced

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 yellow bell pepper, sliced

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

  • Pre-heat a grill to high heat and lightly coat with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Sprinkle both sides of the steak with the garlic powder, half of the salt and half of the pepper.
  • Sprinkle the cut sides of the peaches with the nutmeg.
  • Reduce the grill temperature to medium-high then place the steak on the grill. Cook the steaks, turning after 6 minutes, until they are cooked to your liking. Medium-rare takes  approximately 9-11 minutes. Remove the steak from the grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing along the diagonal.
  • Add the peaches to the grill, cut side down, and cook for 3 minutes then flip and cook for an additional 2 minutes. You want the peaches to be slightly softened but not mushy.
  • While the steaks cook, make the dressing by combining the honey, vinegar and remaining salt and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Divide the greens, peppers and tomatoes between two large shallow bowls.
  • Top the salads with the sliced steak, drizzle with the dressing then sprinkle with the sunflower seeds and blue cheese.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves 2

 

Meat & Stout Pie w/ Blue Cheese Crust

IMG_4063

Tis the season when everyone is a wee bit Irish so why not celebrate with food?

For me, pot pies are the ultimate in winter comfort food. Chicken and turkey are my usual fillings but since my family eats a lot of beef stew I began playing with making a beef pot pie that was reminiscent of meat pies I’ve enjoyed in Great Britain. And I found success. If a rich beef stew is good, it is even better when encased in a flaky crust. But I didn’t stop there. In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day I adapted this pot pie from Williams Sonoma into an Irish tribute. Both beef and lamb and slow cooked in a rich Guinness Stout broth which infuses the entire meal with flavor. And best of all, it is topped off with a blue cheese crust. Yum.

I’m not going to lie; this is a time consuming dish to make. But you can do as I often do and make this dish is two steps over two days. The filling and dough can be made ahead of time and refrigerated until you are ready to assemble the pot pies and eat them. Simply reheat the filling until it is hot and bubbling then fill the pie dishes and proceed as directed. By doing this, you can easily serve up hot pie pies as a fast weeknight meal.

MEAT & STOUT PIE w/ BLUE CHEESE CRUST

For the meat filling:

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 cups baby portobello mushrooms, quartered

1 cup pearl onions, peeled

2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided

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

1 pound lamb roast, cut into 1-inch cubes

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 tablespoons tomato paste

2 1/2 cups Irish stout, divided

1 cup beef broth

1 cup carrots, cut into chunks

2 cups red potatoes, cut into chunks

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely minced

One 16-inch round blue cheese pastry

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large Dutch oven set over medium-high heat.
  • When the oil shimmers, add the mushrooms, onions, 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1 teaspoon of the pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally for 10 to 12 minutes or until the vegetables are lightly browned and softened. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl.
  • Place the flour and remaining salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  • Dredge the beef and lamb in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to the pot. When the oil is hot add half of the meat and brown on all sides, about 7 minutes. Transfer the meat to a separate bowl.
  • Add 1/4 cup of the Guinness Stout to the pot, stirring to scrape up any brown bits. Pour the liquid into the reserved meat.
  • Repeat the process with the remaining oil, meat and 1/4 cup of stout.
  • Return the pot to medium-high heat and add the garlic and tomato paste. Cook, stirring constantly for 30 seconds.
  • Add the meat, reserved liquid, remaining stout and beef broth the the pot, stirring to scrape up any browned bits.
  • Add the mushrooms, onions, carrots, potatoes, bay leaves and thyme and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beef is very tender, about 3 hours.

For the crust:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon sugar

16 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1/3 cup ice water

4 ounces crumbled blue cheese

  • In a food processor, pulse the flour, salt and sugar until blended.
  • Add in the butter pieces and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal; about 10 pulses.
  • Add the water and pulse an additional 2 to 3 times. The dough should be soft and hold together when squeezed but not sticky. If necessary, add additional water, by the tablespoon, until the dough is the right texture.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead with your hands a few times. Shape into a disk, wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour and place on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper. Roll into a rough 12 by 16 inch square.
  • Sprinkle the blue cheese over half of the  dough then fold the other half over the cheese. Roll the dough again until it it is 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

To assemble the pot pies:

  • Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place 4 2-cup oven proof ramekins on a rimmed baking dish and fill each one with the meat mixture.
  • Using a sharp paring knife and your baking dishes as a guide, cut out 4 circles of dough, adding 1/2 inch to each piece of dough.
  • Place the dough on top of each pot pie, crimping the edges to form a seal.
  • Cut 3 or 4 silts into the top of each pie.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes or until the tops are browned and flakey.
  • Allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Yields: 4 2-cup pot pies

Grilled Rib Eye Steaks With Bacon-Blue Cheese Compound Butter

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion.  If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

As anyone who has spent time in the Balkans knows, good quality meat is often hard to come by.  Local meats are so lean and are rarely marbled with the fat that is necessary to produce juicy and flavorful steaks.  When locals cook their meat they also tend to overcook them by American standards.  We’ve come to the point where we forego ordering steak in restaurants.  Rather, we dip into our stash of American-cut steaks that we bought in the Commissary in Naples, Italy.  They are so flavorful and juicy that they make the overnight ferry ride to Italy worth it.

A grilled rib eye steak is great anytime but this butter is the perfect way to dress up any piece of meat.  This recipe is adapted from on found in Cuisine at Home, a brilliant cooking magazine that forgoes advertisements and contains nothing but recipes, equipment reviews, and technique suggestions.  You can take the butter out in the morning before heading out and when you return at the end of the day  it will be at the perfect room temperature needed to combine all of the ingredients.  Once your butter is soft, this butter comes together in a matter of minutes and will set up while your steaks are grilling.  Alternatively, you can make the butter ahead of time and keep it in your freezer until you are ready to use it.  Either way, all you need to do is add a starch and a vegetable to your plate and you have a complete dinner in no time.

GRILLED RIB EYE STEAKS WITH BACON-BLUE CHEESE COMPOUND BUTTER

2 Rib eye steaks, trimmed and seasoned with salt and pepper

4 slices thick cut bacon, finely diced

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese

2 tablespoons red onion, minced

2 teaspoon minced walnuts

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

  • Pre-heat a grill to high.
  • While the grill is heating, cook the bacon in a skillet until crisp.
  • Transfer bacon to a paper-towel lined plate.  Reserve 1 tablespoon of drippings.
  • Combine butter, reserved drippings, blue cheese, onion, garlic, walnuts, zest, and Worcestershire sauce.  Season with salt and pepper.
  • Mound the butter mixture onto a piece of plastic wrap.  Roll plastic wrap around butter to form a tight cylinder, then tightly twist ends of plastic wrap.
  • Freeze butter until firm, approximately 30 minutes.
  • Place the steaks on the hot grill.
  • Cook for a total of 8 minutes or to desired level of doneness, flipping the meat every two minutes to ensure even cooking.
  • Slice coins of compound butter and place on top of each steak.

Yields:  1 cup of butter

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