I've been obsessed with Closet Cooking for awhile now. No, I don't cook in my own closet, although I've been known to whine about the diminutive size of both my kitchen and my closet. But this guy does (sort of). Kevin Lynch, a blogger out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, creates the most amazing dishes in a kitchen he's deemed actually is the size of a closet. Thus the name of his blog, which I follow religiously.
Closet Cooking has never let me down. I mean, how can you not love a blog that has at least 127 references to bacon and 48 recipes for grilled cheese sandwiches?
Kevin posted this recipe last March and reprised his post this week for upcoming St. Patrick's Day. I rushed out and made this dish last year in honor of the Emerald Isle and have recreated it several times since. You'd best believe I'll be making this again Sunday.
The Guinness beer really defines this dish. The Irish stout (which I've nicknamed 'the beer that drinks like a meal') is complex in flavor and depth and that translates well to this pairing with bacon and beef, both tenderizing the meat and flavoring the gravy. Reducing the stew really concentrates the flavors as well. I have two recommendations for this recipe: Do not substitute any beer for the Guinness. It's not just in homage of St. Patrick's Day, it really is the only beer of its kind with this flavor profile. Do not try to save time by not reducing your stew. The pie won't hold up with a runny gravy and flavors won't marry properly.
One final piece of advice: Double this recipe. You'll want more. I promise.
Steak and Guinness Pie
(Makes 6 servings)