Come in! Come in!

"If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean buyer; if you're a pretender, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!" -- Shel Silverstein

Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Leftovers

The Nor'easter cut short my plans for feasting, the day after Christmas, on leftovers from Christmas dinner.

Ah, Facebook friends to the rescue!

I put out a plea for recipes for left over Prime Rib. I gave extra points for the exotic and unusual. I had a little over two pounds left, which was so amazingly delicious, I was not about to let it go to waste.

Well, the winners were the Beef Biriani - which I made last night, and the Beef, Guinness and Cheddar Cheese Puff Pastry Pie, pictured above.

I'm sorry, I didn't think to take pictures of the Biriaini, which was Most Excellent. So, of course, it's gone. Thank you, Ms. Carrie, for the recipe.

This is the basic recipe she sent, which I worked from:
"Onions sauteed in ghee or olive oil various spices of choice plus essential tumeric to yellow the rice chopped garlic. 3 or 4 cloves some sweet peppers rough chopped one or two chillis depending on heat tolerance 4 oz of currants 6 oz of beef diced and flashed in pan 2 -3 cups of rice salt to taste stock water to cover. Lid on simmer for 20 mins. GET Out of Here! Taste sensation. Serve with Greek yogurt and chopped bananas garnish with freshly toasted almond flakes.

Biriani is a must eat at least once a month cleansing on the pallet (!) and just wonderful for the aromas in the kitchen whilst simmering. . . . .Elizabeth go easy on the chillis though - in India when younger nearly gave myself a heart attack on an evil wee seeded chili slice lurking in the bloated grains of saffroned rice!
It was amazing. Truly.
To my amazement, I had enough left over to make a Beef Barley Vegetable Soup.

I boiled down the bones of the left over prime rib to make a stock with some rosemary, thyme, sage, salt and pepper, until the bones had practically surrendered the marrow. Or, you could simply start with six or eight cups of beef broth.

Then, in a large "dutch oven" or soup pot,I sauteed in a "glug" of EVOO: onions and garlic, then added celery, carrots and mushrooms. Once the onions were wilted and golden, I added about a cup of the left over beef, added the stock, and let the whole thing come to a gentle boil. Then, I added a cup of barley and cooked them together for about 40 minutes.

Some people like a can of diced tomatoes in their Beef Barley Soup. I don't. But, it's optional for you and your family. Also optional: I add just a dash of either red or white wine or sherry just before serving. Serve with crusty bread and a side salad of Boston Baby Bib lettuce with light EVOO dressing, salt, pepper and, perhaps some shaves of your favorite cheese (parmesan, cheddar, whatever). AMAZING.

It's my lunch for tomorrow, after all the ingredients have had a chance to "marry" each other overnight.

The house smells absolutely glorious.

So, I'm going to share this amazing recipe for the Guinness Beef 'n Cheese Puff Pastry Pie with you. Jane Dunning sent it to me. It's Jamie Oliver's recipe which I adapted (but, of course!). You can, too, according to taste.

It's very British. I think, next time, I may try it with chunks of lamb. Or, perhaps, a medley of beef, lamb and pork.

Oh, my soul!

This pie is a real winner. As it uses bought puff pastry, it's quick to prepare and you can make the filling the day before, if you wish. As you may have already suspected, it's also great for roast beef left overs. I suppose you can even make the filling in a crock pot whistle you are away at work and then spoon it into the puff pastry and bake.

I'm thinking it could easily be adapted for vegetarians. Instead of the meat, I'm thinking you might add a few chunks of turnips or parsnips (I'm not particularly fond of parsnips, but if you are, have at it), perhaps a few chunks of potatoes, and some acorn or Hubbard squash. Nice and earthy and satisfying to the soul - even if you are a carnivore.

It serves 4-6 hearty appetites on a cold, wintry night.

Okay, here we go. Ready?


6 small or 3 medium red onions, peeled and chopped (more or less)
6 cloves (more or less, depending on your taste), garlic, peeled and chopped
30 g butter (about 1/2 a stick), plus extra for greasing
2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2-3 sticks of celery, trimmed and chopped
4 field mushrooms, peeled and sliced
1 kg brisket of beef or stewing beef, cut into 2 cm cubes
a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 x 440ml can of Guinness (no larger, please)
2 heaping tablespoons flour (I only use all purpose wheat flour)
200 g (approximately one eight ounce slab) freshly grated Cheddar cheese
500 g best-quality ready-made all-butter puff pastry
(note: I used a package of Peppridge Farm)
1 large free-range or organic egg, beaten.


Preheat oven to 190/375/gas 5 degrees.

In a large oven proof pan, heat a 'glug' of olive oil (EVOO is best) on low heat. Add the onions and fry gently for about 10 minutes - try not to cook them too much. Turn the heat up, add the garlic, butter, carrots and celery and scatter in the mushrooms. Mix everything together before stirring in the beef, rosemary, a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of pepper.

Fry fast for 3 or 4 minutes, then pour in the Guinness, stir in the flour and add just enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer, cover the pan with a lid and place in the preheated oven for about 1 1/2 hours. Remove the pan from the oven and give the stew a stir. Put it back into the oven and continue to cook it for another hour, or until the meat is very tender and the stew is rich, dark and thick.

A perfect pie filling needs to be robust, so if it's still quite liquidy, place the pan on the hob (stove) and reduce until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in half the cheese, then season carefully and leave to cool slightly.

Cut about a third of the pastry off the block (if you are using Pepperidge Farm, this comes in two sheets, perforated in thirds). Dust a clean work surface with flour and roll the piece of pastry out evenly, to the thickness of a pound coin. (!!)

Butter a deep pie dish, then line with the larger sheet leaving the edges dangling over the side (Or, pat up the edges as far as it will go. Since the Pepperidge Farm sheet is oblong and my pan was round, it was not even. Which, as you can see, worked out perfectly fine.)

Tip the stew into your lined dish and even it out before sprinkling over the remaining cheese.

Cut the other rolled sheet of pastry to fit the top of the pie dish and criss-cross it lightly with a sharp knife. Place it over the top of the pie and fold the overhanging pastry onto the pastry lid to make it look nice and rustic.

Brush the top with beaten egg, then bake the pie directly on the bottom rack of the oven for 45 minutes at 375/190/gas 5 degrees, until the pastry is cooked, puffed and golden.

Jamie Oliver says this is to be served with peas, but that's a bit too hearty, methinks. I'll be serving this to Ms. Conroy with a light Boston Baby Bib salad, perhaps tossed with EVOO (that's Extra Virgin Olive Oil) that I've infused with rosemary, thyme and sage, and, perhaps, sprinkled with a few sliced black olives and some of the shredded cheddar cheese I've not added to the pie filling.

There you go. Christmas all over again - filled with Love, even if it is leftover.

Then, again, there are 12 days of Christmas, aren't there?

January 5th is 12th Night. Epiphany is on the 6th.

While this particular pie won't make it till then, methinks it's a wonderful manifestation of the Glory of God.

I think Jesus would be more pleased with this than his parents would be with the incessant "Par-ump-pa-pum" of that bloody Little Drummer Boy.

Merry Christmastide and a Happy, Healthy New Year!


Anonymous said...

Okay, will suggested on facebook. But, Lord, the amount of cheese scares me! : ) Mary C.

Anonymous said...

The problem is, I am not familiar with this category, "leftover prime rib".....

Kirkepiscatoid said...

Pardon me for being the country bumpkin in the room, but WTH is EVOO? All I know is it rhymes with shmoo.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

EVOO = Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Brother David said...

A variation on your salad is; Boston Bib lettuce, a fistful of bacon crumbles, a fistful of defrosted frozen peas and a quarter cup of grated medium or sharp cheddar (with sharp you can use a bit less) all quickly tossed with a couple of tablespoons of Ranch Dressing. (I love the Original from Hidden Valley.) Something about the peas make this taste really different!

I got this from the Mormons when I was in SLC doing research on my master's thesis about the LDS Church. They serve this in the Lion House* cafeteria and call it a Sarah salad.

*This was a Brigham Young home for many of his wives.