Monday, December 7, 2009

A couple of recipes as requested

We are well into December and we have snow actually sticking on the ground here. I had to find my winter driving skills today driving to karate and horseback, some wicked black ice out there.

On Facebook today I mentioned that I was making Guinness Stew and Candy Cane Brownies for dinner tonight and I had a lot of requests for the recipes. Here they are, enjoy!!!!

Guinness Stew (I call it this, but the recipe is actually called Deep Dish Pub Pies, I got it years ago from

2 lbs (1 kg) boneless lade, cross-rib or round steak or stewing beef, cubed
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 cups beef broth (I use the VE Beef Bouillon)
1 can of Guinness
1 cup plain tomato sauce (I use V8 for added flavour)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp thyme
2 carrots, diced
2 potatoes, diced
3/4 cup celery, diced
1 1/2 cups small mushroom, halved

1 (about 14 0z/400 g) package frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg lightly beaten

Combine flour, salt and pepper in a plastic bag. Add beef and shake to coat with flour. Reserve remaining flour. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large, heavy saucepan set over medium heat. Brown beef cubes in batches, adding more oil as needed. Add onions and garlic and cook until softened. Add broth, beer, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf and thyme. Bring to a boil, stirring well to scrape brown bits from bottom of pan. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 1 hour or until meat is nearly tender. Add carrots, potatoes and celery, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, then add mushrooms and simmer for 15 minutes longer or until meat and vegetables are tender.

Mix reserved flour mixture with a little cold water until smooth. Stir into beef mixture and bring to a boil, stirring. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Taste and adjust seasoning. Divide beef mixture between 8 individual casseroles (each about 10 oz/300 mil or 4 inches in diameter) Cover with foil.

Make -Ahead: Beef mixture may be refrigerated before or after filling casseroles, for up to 2 days)


Preheat oven to 400 F. Roll out pastry to 1/8 inch (3 cm) thickness and cut into 8 round that are the same diameter as the casserole dishes (pastries will puff up during baking and shrink slightly in diameter) Place on large baking sheet.

Chill until pastry is cold, about 15 minutes. Brush with lightly beaten egg. Bake in preheated oven for about 12 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Reserve

Make Ahead: Pastries may be made up to a day ahead. Cover with a tea towel and store at room temperature)

Bake foil-topped casseroles in 400F oven for 15 min or until bubbling hot. Remove foil, top each with reserved puff pastry rounds and return to oven for 5 minutes. Serve hot.

If you like beer, have a can of Guinness while eating the stew/pies.

I normally don't make this into pies, I don't always have the time. I skip the pastry part and just eat the stew part. You can also add dumplings to the stew the last 15 minutes or so of cooking.

I have also made this stew in the slow cooker. Brown the beef and add to the slow cooker. Use the beer and some of the broth in the pan that you browned the beef in, scraping up the bits and add this to the slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients, mix well and cook on low for about 8-10 hours.

Now for dessert:

Candy Cane Brownies

This recipe is from Canadian Living Holiday Best 2002

2/3 cup butter
8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt

1/2 cup crushed candy canes
2/3 cups mini chocolate chips

Line a 13 x 9 inch metal cake pan with parchment paper, set aside.

In saucepan over medium-low heat, melt together butter and semisweet and unsweetened chocolates. Let cool for 10 minutes. Whisk in sugar, then eggs, 1 at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in vanilla. Using wooden spoon, stir in flour and salt. Scrape into prepared pan.

Bake in 350 F oven until cake tester inserted in centre comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging, 25 to 30 minutes.

TOPPING: Sprinkle with candy canes, then chocolate chips; return to oven for 30 seconds (do not let topping melt). Let cool in pan on rack. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour. Cut into bars. Makes about 40 bars

I use a whole package of candy canes (i think there are about 12 or so candy canes per pkg). I can't be bothered measuring crushed candy canes. I put the unwrapped candy canes in a large Ziploc baggie, seal the baggie and beat the crap out of them with a rolling pin. It is a great stress reliever. I also just eyeball the chocolate chips on top as well, in my world you can never have too much chocolate.

We also say screw it to refrigerating the bars for 1 hour. After a couple of hours I remove the brownies from the pan, and cut into squares while the chocolate chips are still ooey and gooey and oh so good and you end up with chocolate all over your hands and face. Yummy.