I know, it’s not like the ones you used to get at (fill in the blank). First off, Italian Beef is not an Italian recipe, it is a regional dish usually found in Chicago. This recipe is not meant to emulate the Italian Beef at any particular place, it is merely Italian beef as I make it.
I am not from Chicago, and I have never had Italian Beef in Chicago. I have had it in other cities and each version was wildly different, so I figured that gives me a lot of leeway to make it “my way” (regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention, if I may be Frank).
Generally this is served on French or Sourdough rolls, but it can also be used to top noodles or rice (though not traditional). I like to use Sourdough rolls and add provolone cheese. The traditional condiment is Giardiniera, which can be spicy or mild. The only version I could find without making the trek to the Italian Deli was not really a version meant for sandwiches. It was good, but the huge chunks made it difficult to keep on the bread, and I like it with a little less cauliflower.
So, we start by heating the oil in the pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat.
Season about 2 pounds of Beef Chuck with salt and pepper (or Montreal Steak Seasoning, as I used) then brown on both sides and remove it to a plate.
Add 1 large onion, halved then sliced thickly and 2 bell peppers, also sliced thickly (whichever color you prefer) to the pot and sauté until they start to soften (about 5-6 minutes).
Toss in 5-6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed with the side of a knife and continue to sauté for another minute.
Add a level tablespoon of Italian spice mix and 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes and stir.
Pour in the 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce, 1-1/2 cups of beef stock and 1/4 cup pepperoncinis with 1/4 cup of the pepper juice.
Place the meat back in the pot.
Add a little salt and ten or twelve grinds of black pepper along with two bay leaves.
Lock the lid on the pressure cooker and raise the heat to high.
Bring to high pressure, then adjust the heat to maintain high pressure.
Set the time for 40 minutes.
When the time is up, let the heat come down on its own for ten minutes then do a quick release.
Remove the meat to a plate and let it rest for ten minutes. Transfer the meat to a cutting board and slice thinly.
Remove the Bay Leaves, taste the sauce and add more salt and pepper to taste.
Return the meat to the pot.
Serve on sandwiches or over noodles or rice (I like it on sourdough rolls with provolone cheese). Add a little more juice on top of the meat.
This is a bit of a messy sandwich (or maybe I am just a slob), so it may require a knife and fork.
Corned beef and cabbage? Bah, humbug! Wait, I think that saying is for a different holiday, Is Saint Patrick’s Day even a holiday? I don’t get a day off for it. Of course, many people call in sick the day after it.
If you tell someone from Ireland that you are making corned beef and cabbage because it is Saint Patrick’s day, their reaction is likely to be, “Um, huh?”
I’m led to believe that Steak and Stout pie is something you might actually be able to find in Ireland, at least in the pubs. And if I ever visited Ireland, most of my time would most likely be spent in pubs, so I would probably come across this quite often.
In this in-depth article (really, really in depth) it is explained that there is some corned beef in Ireland, but it isn’t even close to being the national dish. Though, some places do serve corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s day, they are serving it for tourists.
What the heck am I going on about corned beef for? This recipe isn’t for corned beef. I guess the point I am trying to make is that there are other things you can make for your St. Patrick’s day party. Take this Dublin Coddle recipe I posted last year, for example. Or this Steak and Stout Pie I hope to eventually get around to talking about.
You can use any stout you like, but I don’t recommend anything labeled as “extra stout” or “imperial stout”. These are higher in alcohol, and since the pressure cooker doesn’t let any steam escape once it reaches pressure, it will be too strong of a flavor and these stronger ones can also result in a bitter flavor.
This recipe is kind of a hybrid recipe, as the filling is made in the pressure cooker but then is cooked in the oven to cook the crust. I use frozen puff pastry for the crust, so it is still a relatively quick recipe. It is best to let the filling cool for an hour or so before putting the crust on top because if the crust becomes too warm it will not be flaky, and as anyone will tell you, I know flaky.
I like to use frozen pearl onions, but if you can’t find them, or already have onions on hand, a large chopped onion will work fine. The onions mostly break down during the cooking time anyway, I just think the pearl ones lend kind of a nice, sweet flavor to this recipe.
Cut about 2 pounds of chuck into 1-inch cubes. Heat a couple tablespoons of oil in the pressure cooker pot over medium heat. Put as much of the meat as will comfortably in the pressure cooker pot and brown on two sides. I usually only brown about half of the meat. That is enough to add the browned flavor and it saves a little time. Remove this to a plate.
Now brown the onions. Add another splash of oil if necessary. Sauté the onions until they start to caramelize. Remove these to a bowl. Do not remove these to a plate unless you would like to chase pearl onions around your kitchen (don’t ask me how I know this).
Next, sauté a chopped shallot and four cloves of pressed garlic until the shallot starts to soften. Add the carrot and sauté for a few minutes until it softens slightly.
Now add a couple teaspoons of Herbes De Provence, a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, a tablespoon of tomato paste and some ground black pepper. Don’t add any salt at this point, you can adjust that later. Between the cheese and the beef bouillon, you may not need any additional salt at all.
Add 1/2 cup of stout and stir everything together.
Dump the onions and meat back in.
Add 1 cup water and 2 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon (you can substitute 1 cup of beef stock for the 1 cup of water and the Better Than Bouillon.
Put the cover on the pressure cooker and bring to high pressure.
When high pressure is reached, set the timer for 20 minutes.
While this is cooking, it is a perfect time to grate 8 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese, then after the cheese is grated, make a slurry of two level tablespoons of flour and 1/4 cup of water. Now that you’ve got those two things out of the way, grab what’s left in that bottle (or can) of stout and relax for a few minutes until the timer sounds.
When the timer sounds, quickly down the rest of the beer, then go over and take the pressure cooker off the heat. If you have an electric pressure cooker, turn it off. Let the pressure come down naturally for ten minutes, then do a quick release.
Uncover the pressure cooker, then put over medium heat, or put on “medium” sauté setting on your electric pressure cooker. Stir in the flour and water mixture and continue to stir for a couple minutes. Stir in about half the cheese, stirring in a little at a time. Continue to stir for about five minutes more to cook out most of the flour taste.
Now, at this point you have a pot of Steak and Stout Stew, and if you really want to (or if you are pressed for time) you can stop now and serve over mashed potatoes or with good bread, but you should keep stirring over medium heat for about another five minutes to make really sure that the flour taste is cooked out. But hey, you’ve come this far, you might as well take it all the way and go for the whole pie experience.
Let the filling cool for 60-90 minutes if you have time. This is where a little foresight would have come in handy and you would have bought an extra can of stout. If that is the case, open that baby up and enjoy.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Set a sheet of puff pastry out to thaw. It should be pliable enough to work with but still cold. If it gets too warm, the layers will meld together and your pastry won’t be puffy and flaky. On a floured work surface, roll out your dough until it is an inch or so wider than your pie pan.
Pour filling into a pie pan or au gratin dish about 9 or 10 inches in diameter. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the filling. Place the crust on top of the pan. Trim the edges to round it off. Roll the edges up until they only slightly protrude over the edge of the pan. Brush the top with beaten egg. Score the top in a cross-hatch pattern then pierce the top a few times.
Place the pan on a baking sheet (it is certain to bubble over, and better a baking sheet than the bottom of your oven). Set the timer for twenty minutes. Check on it after about fifteen minutes just to be safe. When the timer goes off, check that it looks brown and flaky. If not, give it another few minutes.
Take the pie out of the oven and let it cool for about five minutes. Cut the crust into four pieces and serve.