pub pie of cider-braised beef

cooked

One my favorite new recipes this winter has been this Cider-Braised Beef Stew recipe I discovered on the local Ontario food blog Seasonal Family. I’ve been making beef stew for years, but had never thought of using apple cider to braise the beef. It makes the already-enticing bowl of steaming comfort food all the more delicious by making it both savory and sweet! Yum!

This week, I was coming up on making it for the third time this month, and wanted a way to make it a bit different. I decided to turn it into a Pub Pie (basically a single-crust pot pie) with a whole wheat crust. The Stew is fabulous on its own and if you don’t want to bother with a crust, simply skip down to the stew directions and enjoy it with some good, crusty bread. But if you have the time to make the crust, I think you’ll find it’s worth it!

You’ll want to make the whole wheat crust first.

Nicole’s Whole Wheat Pie Crust

1 ½ cup soft whole wheat flower
½ cup very cold butter (best if you can put it in the freezer for half hour before you use it)
2 t kosher salt
2 t sugar
6-8 T iced cold milk

1. Sift the flour, salt, and sugar into a medium-sized bowl.
2. Using a box grater, quickly grate the butter into the flour and mix briefly.

butter

3. Spring the milk 2 T at a time over the flour/butter mixture, using a fork to lightly stir until the flour is sufficiently moist to form the dough into a ball with as little handling as possible.
4. Form dough into a disc and cover in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for an hour.

Cider-Braised Beef Stew

For the Beef Stew, use the ingredients and directions listed here, with these few deviations:

1. I use ½ a cube of beef boullion in the 2 cups of water
2. I braise the beef in the cider and bouillion- water with the onions only for an hour before adding the other vegetables.

chopped onions
chopped onion braise

I find this allows the beef to get very tender without the veg getting over-cooked.
3. Instead of 3 carrots, I used:
½ medium parsnip
1 small orange carrot
1 small yellow carrot

parsnip & carrots

1 russet potato

potatoes

4. You may need to add more water once you’ve added the veggies, depending on how much your liquid cooked-down while the meat was braising.

stew

To make the Pub Pie:

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

2. When the beef stew is done, find a casserole dish of any shape that will just hold the contents of the stew, with only an inch or less to spare at the top of the dish.

3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out to a shape that will fit the top of your casserole dish.

crust

Place it atop the dish with as little handling as possible, cut a few slits in the top for ventilation, and bake the dish in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until he crust is golden brown.

This was simply delicious and we enjoyed it with some fresh-made local bread and a glass of Waterloo Dark beer. I hope some of you have an opportunity to enjoy this fabulous dish and put your loft box veg to great use!

ready to eat

-Nicole Marsh-Mueller loves to cook locally and seasonally for her family and blogs at The Armchair Housewife

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller

beef stew


You had to know a beef stew recipe was inevitable given all the fall root veg. Well, here it is. We had it for dinner tonight and it was really delicious. Slow cooker to the rescue. I was frazzled trying to get everything chopped and into the cooker this morning on top of getting everyone fed, dressed, blah blah blah, but coming home to a completely cooked meal was worth it.

This made great use of parsnips, jerusalem artichokes (which I put in unpeeled in place of turnip), potatoes and carrots. And truth be told, I forgot the potatoes in my haste and it was still great. Warm and perfect with a hunk of bread. Also noteworthy: I was too lazy to brown the beef and just threw it in the slow cooker raw, as is. And I had no peas or beans. Still great.

Old-Fashioned Beef & Root Vegetable Stew

From The Canadian Living Slow Cooker Collection
Makes 8 to 10 servings

2 lbs stewing beef cubes
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 each onions, carrots and parsnips, peeled and cubed
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup cubed, peeled rutabaga
3 cups beef broth
2 bay leaves
2 tsp dried marjoram or thyme (or a few sprigs of fresh, if you’ve got some)
3/4 tsp each salt and pepper
2 cups frozen chopped green beans or peas

Trim beef and cut into 1-inch cubes, if necessary. In large bowl, toss beef with 1/4 cup of the flour. In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; brown beef, in batches. Trasnfer to slow cooker

Add 1/2 cup water to skillet. Bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from bottom. Scrape into slow cooker along with onions, carrots, parsnips, potatoes and rutabaga. Stir in broth, bay leaves, marjoram/thyme, salt and pepper.

Cover and cook on low until beef and veg are tender, about 7 to 8 hours. Skim off any fat. Move meat and veg to one side of slow cooker.

Whisk remaining flour with 1/3 cup water; whisk into liquid in slow cooker. Stir in peas/beans.

Cover and cook on high until thickened and steaming hot, about 15 minutes. Discard bay leaves.

beef stew

– Dinah Murdoch lives, eats and writes in Kitchener.