Beef and Beer, Need I Say More? PC Stout Braised Beef.
It’s funny how the finest things in life begin with “bee”. Beef, beer, beets. Ok, my wife would definitely disagree with that last one. This recipe doesn’t use beets anyway so I am not sure why I even mentioned beets.
Beets aside, chuck roast is fast becoming one of my go-to meats. It’s great for someone on a budget (that would be me), and it turns out great in the pressure cooker. I’ve used it before in recipes such as my Steak and Stout Pie and French Dip. Oddly enough, most of my chuck roast recipes also include beer. Go figure.
This particular preparation came about because I couldn’t wait to try a new spice blend that I bought. I started out planning to make a traditional pot roast with the carrots and potatoes and whatnot, but I ended up making more of a brisket-style preparation. Maybe because I had thought about making a brisket first, but the chuck roast was cheaper.
If you use a pre-made Berbere blend, carefully give it a little taste first. Some of them are spicier than others, so you might want to use a bit less than a tablespoon.
I used a two-pound piece of chuck, but I probably would have gotten a 3 pound one if the store had it. This recipe will still work fine with a 3-pounder.
So, to get started, heat a couple tablespoons of oil on medium-high heat and brown the beef on both sides.
Put the meat on a plate and sauté the onion until slightly brown, then add the garlic and sauté for another minute or two.
Add in the spice mix and continue to sauté for another 30 seconds.
Plop in that ‘mater paste and mix it all together.
Add a touch of salt and pepper (You can add more at the end. The amount will vary depending on whether or not your spice mix includes salt and pepper, along with personal taste, which is impeccable.)
Now add the Worcestershire Sauce, vinegar, brown sugar and stout.
Pour in the water and add the Better Than Bouillon. You can substitute one cup of beef stock for this.
Add the meat back into the pot.
Toss in the bay leaves, slap the top on the PC and crank the heat to high.
When high pressure is reached, adjust the heat to maintain high pressure.
Set timer for 40 minutes.
When the time is up, let pressure come down on its own for ten minutes, then release the hounds, er, I mean do a quick release.
Remove the meat to a plate. If you would like to thicken the sauce a bit (which I did), put the pot back over medium-high heat and bring to a low boil for 7-10 minutes.
Slice the meat and serve with some of the sauce, being sure to put some of the onions on top.
Serve with mashed potatoes and a vegetable (if you are into that sort of thing).
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.