Monday, December 31, 2012

Hogmanay Steak Pie

If you're not familiar with Hogmanay, it's a Scottish word for the last day of the year and it's basically the celebration of New Year's Eve. It's usually the beginning of a celebration that can last for days! It is believed the Scots inherited the celebration of Hogmanay from the Vikings and their celebration of the shortest day but many believe that as Christmas was virtually banned and not celebrated in Scotland from the end of the 17th century until the 1950’s, New Years Eve was a good excuse for some revelry and the excuse to drink whisky and eat good food. Hogmanay involves parties and festivals across Scotland with the largest and most famous public party in Edinburgh.
 How's that for a bit of history??? Anyway, being a Scot herself, Claire was the first to bring Hogmanay to my attention and she asked me if I would make her a traditional steak pie to celebrate the beginning of the new year. Sounds good to me!! So, I looked up several recipes, and as is often the case, I decided to take what I like from a few different recipes and make them into one.
 And here we are! This is my version of a traditional Scottish Steak Pie. It's warm and comforting and savory and delicious! Serve it up with some mashed potatoes and turnips (tatties and neeps!) and you're ready to go. Even if it's not the last day of the year, I highly recommend making it! As the Scots would say "Lang may yer lum reek", which means "Long may your chimney smoke!"
Happy Hogmanay!

2 lbs beef cubes
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
4 or 5 ribs of celery, roughly chopped
1 lb button mushrooms, sliced
 Big pinch dried thyme
Big pinch dried rosemary
2 or 3 bay leaves
1/4 cup flour
2 cups beef broth
1 cup red wine
lots and lots of black pepper
Frozen puff pastry
1 egg

Heat oven to 325F.
In a heavy pot or Dutch oven, add a few tbs oil or butter. Pat the beef cubes with paper towels to make sure they're dry, then add them to the pot in one layer. Do this is batches if you need to. Resist the urge to stir them about. Just let them sit and brown. Turn them over and do the same thing on the other side. Remove them from the pot and set aside in a bowl.
 Add the celery and onions to the pot. Let them saute until they begin to soften. Add the mushrooms, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves, and continue to cook for a few minutes. Add flour. Cook and stir for a few minutes longer. Add broth, wine, salt and pepper. Add the beef back into the pot along with any accumulated juices, and give it another good stir. Cover the pot and place it in the oven for about 2 hours. When the beef falls apart, it's ready. Remove from the oven and let it cool.
 Increase oven heat to 400F.
 Place the cooled stew in a baking dish. Cut strips of the puff pastry and place them around the edges of the dish. (Moisten the underside of the strip to make sure it sticks to the dish) Now cover the entire pie with a sheet of pastry. Press it down on the edges to seal. Trim the excess and crimp to make a decorative edge. Brush the top with a bit of beaten egg mixed with a few drops of water or milk. Make a few slits in the top to allow steam to vent. Place in oven for about 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Instead of beef broth, you can use 2 cups of water and 2 beef bouillon cubes. Just reduce the amount of salt that you add. Actually, you could probably omit it altogether since there is quite a bit of sodium in the bouillon.
You can make the stew in advance then assemble the pie and bake it when you're ready to serve.
Traditional Steak Pie is usually just beef with onions, but I added celery and mushrooms because I like them! Add anything you like! If you're not a fan of turnips, feel free to serve it with just regular mashed potatoes. other thing...
This is NOT my picture. I borrowed it from a blog called Kittens in the Kitchen. I figured maybe they wouldn't mind if I were to borrow their picture just until I can take a few pictures of my own. As soon as my pie is finished, I'll swap out their picture for my own. I just wanted to hurry up and get the recipe posted in case anyone wanted to make it for New Year's Eve!

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