Actually, poor to mediocre Sunday because the GS and I both have (relatively asymptomatic, vaccinated + boosted) COVID. We almost made it two years, but alas it finally caught us. We decided to make use of our quarantine by potty training Greta so yes, poor to mediocre Sunday.
Thank goodness we planned ahead this week on our Sunday roast and hit up Fin & Bone early. As previously mentioned, this is a British tradition we have decided to embrace while here so I thought I’d offer a little breakdown of what we’ve made so far. Fin & Bone is an amazing butcher that has everything sustainably sourced and a focus on using the whole animal. They always offer us great suggestions of different cuts to try depending on what we’re trying to make!
The first one we kept it traditional, which I believe is generally a big chunk of meat with some potatoes and veggies on the side.
We got a top loin and it was good, but actually what was better were the Day 2 open-faced sandwiches I made with caramelized onions and blue cheese with some of the thinly sliced leftover steak. They weren’t pretty, hence the lack of photos, but they were amazing. Apparently the leftover sandwiches are also part of the tradition.
Also unphotographed- the following week’s hangar steaks. Hangar steak is truly underrated. It’s a much less expensive cut than filet mignon but great for people like me who tend to prefer something on the leaner side.
Next up I had big plans to braise some short ribs like this but then my Le Creuset dutch oven started cracking and spitting enamel (don’t worry, they replaced it right away) so that led to a very delicious backup plan of slow roasting them in the oven at a low temp wrapped in foil. They truly fell off the bone and I may never make short ribs any other way.
By my fourth week I was ready for the big leagues. Two words: BEEF. WELLINGTON.
The GS bought a piece of meat and then came home and said it was so beautiful he might not let me cook it. No pressure.
I mostly followed Eric Kim’s recipe for NYT Cooking, except I didn’t use mushrooms because I don’t like them. Don’t hate me. I did make a whole bunch of caramelized onions and stick them in there and they came out truly incredible. I can’t describe how nervous I was when we cut into the first one because there’s really no way of knowing how cooked the steaks are when they are covered in puff pastry. But Eric’s instructions were spot on and I highly recommend this if you are looking to make a special meal! Just plan ahead- you have to cook the steaks a day ahead of time and have everything chilled for a while before you actually bake them.
Last week the GS found a recipe for a Lancashire hotpot, which is basically a lamb stew with scalloped potatoes on the top. We opted not to use any kidneys and got some lamb neck and shoulder, but really you could make any stew you like and just do scalloped potatoes on the top because why not?!
And last but certainly not least, today we went with a beef & oyster pie. Beef, oysters, and Guinness. The GS didn’t even know a recipe already existed with his three favorite things in it. I didn’t actually follow a recipe for this one, just took inspiration from the idea. So here’s what I made:
Beef & Oyster Pie
1-2 lbs stew meat*
3 onions, sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbs tomato paste
3-4 tbs flour
16 oz Guinness
3 bay leaves
1 Parmesan rind
2-3 potatoes, chopped
1 sheet puff pastry
*We got a beef shin (aka shank) which had a bone in it and was 0.79 kg. You can definitely just use “stew meat” from the store, or cut up any piece of meat that is meant to be cooked low and slow.
Add some butter and olive oil to the base of a dutch oven or other deep pot. Season the beef with salt and pepper and sear on both sides, likely in two batches. Transfer to a plate. Add the onions and garlic to the pot, and season with more salt and pepper. Let the onions cook down a bit, and then add the tomato paste and stir, cooking until it’s rust-colored. Add some flour and let it cook for 2-3 minutes, then add about half the Guinness to de-glaze the pan. Don’t get obsessive about it, but try to scrape up some of the brown bits from the bottom. Add the rest of the Guinness, then put the beef and any juices back in the pot. If you bought something on the bone, stick that in there, too. Plus the bay leaves, and Parmesan rind if you have one.
Lower the heat and let it simmer, covered, for about 3 hours, stirring occasionally. You want most of the liquid to cook off so it’s less of a soup and more of a sauce-like texture with all the meat.
Toss the potatoes in some olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 425 until brown and crispy. Pour the beef mixture out of the pot, put the potatoes in the bottom, and then put the meat back in. At this point I let it cool to room temp because you don’t want to put puff pastry on something steaming hot. When you’re ready to bake, put the oysters on top of the meat. It’s easiest if you buy them on the half shell, but if you buy whole ones like we did just pop them in the oven when you’re roasting the potatoes and they’ll open up.
Top with puff pastry, and brush with egg wash. Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes, just until the pastry is golden brown. Serve!
It was very delicious, but we decided the oysters didn’t really add anything other than expense and a fancy name so you could probably skip those.
Next week we may do a pie with the potatoes AND the puff pastry on top. Is that excessive?
Elsie is just here for the beef.