Monday, October 15, 2012

Your New Favourite Dish

Finally, it's time to bring out the comfort food recipes. Nothing says fall like stew.
Here's a baked stew that we ate over the weekend. Baked stew, you say? Well, it's British and they call it a pie. Not sure why but it's a big, hearty, delicious dish and with the name "Cumberland Pie", I had to share it. (Once we make it our own by tweaking the recipe, we'll call it Cumberland Stew.)
My mother discovered the recipe in a British food magazine so its origins are the most northwestern corner of England, along the Scottish border (a nod to our Scottish roots) with the English counties of Northumberland and Durham to the east, Lancashire and Westmorland to the south.

Mum has been dying to make this since she bought the magazine last March but it's not a summer dish. Perfect for a cool and sunny or raw and rainy day in October. We went to the movie while she baked (biscuits, too, for mopping up sauce on the plate).

"Crispy Topped Cumberland Pie"
(from Good Food magazine, March 2012; Sarah Cook, deputy food editor)

2 celery sticks, sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 really big carrots, halved lengthways then chunkily sliced
5 bay leaves
3 thyme sprigs
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp each plain flour, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce
2 beef stock cubes, crumbled
850g stew beef chunks
1 lb large potatoes
25g/1oz each old cheddar and Parmesan, finely grated

1. Heat over to 325 degrees F.
2. Soften celery, onion, carrots, bay and 1 thyme sprig in a large pot with 1 tbsp oil and the butter for 10 minutes. Stir in flour, followed by the paste, Worchestershire sauce and stock cubes.
3. Gradually stir in 600ml of hot water, then add the beef and bring to a gentle simmer.
4. Transfer to baking dish, cover and cook in oven for 2 hours, 30 minutes. Uncover and cook for 30 minutes to one hour more until the meat is really tender and sauce thickened.
5. Meanwhile, boil potatoes until they are 3/4 cooked.
6. Remove baking dish from oven and increase temperature to 400 degrees F. Slice potatoes into 1cm thick rounds and gently toss with seasoning, the remaining oil and thyme leaves.  Layer slices on top of beef, scattering the cheese as you layer.
7. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
Serve with peas.


The perfect dish for Friendly Village dishes.

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