Beef & Stout Pie with Vanilla Rice Pudding & Caramelised Pears

You don’t actually need to be in a cabin to enjoy these, but wouldn’t it be fantastic if we all could linger for a few days in a woodlands hideaway, sipping on steamy drinks next to a fireplace, slowly preparing pastry dough and fillings for a dinner pie. Time stands still, the quietness fills the air with tranquility and the earthy smell of the thick pine needle carpet outside seeps into your clothes.

This menu is simply made for a cozy winter’s day: toasty almonds with rosemary and salt flakes, beef and stout pie with sour cream and thyme pastry and the creamiest vanilla rice pudding with caramelized pears. Don’t rush it – enjoy every moment of the preparation process like healing therapy for your soul. It’s totally worth it!

Roasted Rosemary Almonds

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 200g Raw almonds
  • 45ml Extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 sprigs Rosemary, stalks removed and finely chopped
  • 10ml Salt flakes

Method

  1. Place the almonds, oil, chopped rosemary and salt in a mixing bowl and mix well with a spoon or spatula. 
  2. Spread out on a roasting tray, then roast in the oven at 180C for 10 minutes. Stir and return to the oven for another 10 minutes. Stir and repeat, if necessary – you’re looking for a golden brown result, but not too dark. 
  3. Remove from oven, cool slightly and serve hot or at room temperature.

Beef & Stout Pie 

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

  • 30ml Olive oil
  • 1kg Beef cubes
  • Salt & pepper
  • 30ml Flour
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks Celery, finely sliced
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 2 Cloves
  • 15ml Tomato paste
  • 440ml Stout
  • 500ml Beef stock
  • 15ml Worcestershire sauce

Method:

  1. In a large Dutch oven, or cast iron pot, heat the oil and fry the meat over high heat in batches, giving it some colour and seasoning it with salt and pepper as you fry. Add a little flour to each batch as it is frying, using all the flour by the last batch. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside (it will still be raw on the inside).
  2. If the pot is smoking hot at this point, remove it from the heat and give it a few minutes to cool. Turn the heat down to medium, then add a little more oil and fry the onion, garlic and celery until soft.
  3. Add the bay leaf, cloves, tomato paste, stout, stock and Worcestershire sauce. Stir well and bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom to loosen and dissolve any sticky bits (covering the pot with a lid will help).
  4. Return the meat to the pot, then simmer over low heat for three hours, covered, until the meat is very soft and the gravy is dark brown and rich (stir once or twice during the process). Pour some excess liquid off and keep aside for serving as gravy later. Use a fork to pull some of the meat apart, keeping some cubes whole.
  5. Cool the filling completely before baking in the pastry.

Sour Cream & Thyme Pastry

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (750ml) White bread flour
  • 5ml Salt
  • 250ml Cold butter, cubed
  • 250g Sour cream
  • 1 Egg, lightly whisked, for brushing

Method:

  1. Mix the flour and salt together. Rub the butter into the flour mixture using your fingers. When it starts to resemble coarse bread crumbs, add the sour cream and cut it in with a knife. Continue to mix until the mixture comes together in a non-smooth ball of dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove from the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangular shape. Turn the dough so that it lies horizontally in front of you (divide it into thirds in your mind), then fold the right side over to the middle, and the left side over the folded part, to form three layers. Turn the dough over, turn it 90 degrees, and roll out again, folding it in the same way. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.
  3. Remove from the fridge and repeat the rolling and folding process. Return to the fridge for another hour.

To assemble the pie

  1. Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface (the dough should be very smooth by now) to a long rectangle with a thickness of about five millimetres.
  2. Spray a medium-sized, deep pie tin with non-stick spray, then line the bottom of the tin with pastry, easing it gently into the corners and taking care to not stretch the dough too much (leave the edges overhanging for now).
  3. Fill with the beef and stout mixture, then use a pastry brush to lightly brush the edges where the top layer needs to stick. Lay the rest of the pastry on top, cutting a hole in the middle or making slits here and there for steam to escape.
  4. Use a sharp knife to neatly trim the sides, then use a fork to press grooves into the edges. Use any leftover pastry to cut out shapes or make a plait for decoration. Brush with egg all over, then bake at 180C for about one hour (or until golden brown and cooked).
  5. Serve hot, with steamed veggies, the reserved gravy and mashed potato.

Creamy Vanilla Rice Pudding 

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Arborio/Jasmine rice
  • 250ml Cream
  • 500ml Milk
  • 80ml Water
  • Seeds of 1 vanilla pod
  • 15ml Butter
  • 60ml Caster sugar

Method:

  1. Add the rice, cream, milk, water and vanilla to a medium pot and bring to a simmer. 
  2. Cook on a low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice is just cooked and the mixture is thick and creamy (it will thicken on standing, so rather take it from the heat when it is still slightly runny). 
  3. Serve immediately in bowls with caramelised pears.

Caramelised Pears

Ingredients:

  • 1 Large or 2 smaller pears
  • 45ml Butter
  • 45ml Brown sugar

Method:

  1. Cut one or two pears into 5mm-thick slices. 
  2. Add 45ml butter and 45ml brown sugar to a frying pan, heat up and stir until the butter is melted. 
  3. Add the pear slices to the pan and cook over medium-high heat for about eight to ten minutes until soft and caramelised. Serve with the rice pudding (make the pears while the rice is cooking).