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Luck o’ the Irish!

06 Mar

Whether you are planning on celebrating this St. Patrick’s Day by wishing for a little “luck o’ the Irish” or trying to find the fabled “pot of gold”, there is no denying that Irish themed food will be on menus everywhere.  It’s not unusual to see Guinness stout or Irish whiskey in the description of an item on a menu or a ”wee bit” of green food coloring mixed into a pitcher of your favorite frosty brew.  A few of these items will also be making an appearance at my dinner table along with a leprechaun jokes and clover leaf crafts from my son!

My first recipe, Beef & Guinness Pot Pie, might just be a little “pot o’ gold”.  There is something that is so comforting about a fresh pot pie right out of the oven.  In this particular recipe, the deliciously dark undertones of the Guinness, give the sauce a smooth, rich taste and makes it perfect for dipping the flaky, buttery pie crust.  Tender vegetables and melt in your mouth beef bring all of the comforts of a “made by mom” pot roast dinner within one amazing little dish.  The low and slow cooking process used for the filling allows for the flavor of the Guinness to make its way into every tender little vegetable and piece of beef and allows for the sweetness of the carrots and molasses to reduce any bitterness from the brew.  These pot pies can be baked right away, or if you are a planner for busy weeknights, they can be made ahead and frozen for future use.   Just add 20 minutes onto the bake time and tent foil over the top of the pie crust for the first 30 minutes of baking.  It’s so easy, and much more appealing to come home to at the end of a busy work day than any pre-made frozen microwaveable meal!

After indulging in those little pots of goodness, you may find yourself craving a little something sweet.  This frozen yogurt is simple and won’t put too much strain on your belt!  This is also the part of the meal where the green food coloring comes into play with my recipe for Mint Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt.  I started using Greek yogurt a few years ago instead of making an ice cream base simply because I was in a hurry and I have been hooked ever since.  It takes away the hassle of having to cook the base and let it cool before attempting to put it into your ice cream maker, and instead you have a deliciously frozen soft serve treat in a few minutes or a scoopable bowl in a few hours.  However, when I first began experimenting, I discovered a problem.  Sometimes my frozen yogurt would freeze so hard that I would have to let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes before serving it.  I did a little research and found that there were 3 things that you can add to ensure that your frozen yogurt stays scoopable…fat, sugar and alcohol.  I have enlisted the help of all 3 in this recipe by using 2% Greek yogurt, granulated white sugar, and vanilla vodka.  When my son eats this recipe, I leave out the alcohol and opt to add a few extra tablespoons of sugar or heavy cream.  Also, if the use of food coloring makes you uncomfortable, you can always leave it out, it won’t have any effect on the flavor, but for our little St. Patrick’s Day themed meal, I knew I had to use it!

Beef & Guinness Pot Pie

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1.5 lb beet stew meat
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms, I used crimini
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon caraway seed
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary, dried
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard, or country style
  • 2 teaspoons molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1-12 ounce can of Guinness
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (plus one tbsp water to make a slurry when ready)
  • 2 pre-made, ready to roll pie crust dough sheets
  • egg wash (1 egg, 2 tbsp water whisked together)

Directions:

Place meat, flour, and first amounts of kosher salt and pepper in a resealable plastic bag.  Shake until all evenly coated.

In large, heavy bottom sauce pan, heat the first amount of olive oil until shimmering over high heat.  Add meat and brown on all sides.  Don’t over crowd the pan, cook in batches if necessary.  Do not cook the meat through all the way, just until golden brown.  Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.  Add second amount of olive oil, garlic, and vegetables.  Stir and cook over medium heat until onions are translucent and vegetables are tender.  Add caraway seed, rosemary and the second amount of salt and pepper.  Add the mustard and molasses and stir until well coated.  Add the Guinness to the pan and be sure to scrape all of the browned bits off of the bottom of the pan.  Add the cornstarch slurry and stir until mixture begins to thicken.  Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While mixture is simmering, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Roll dough sheets until 1/8 inch thick and lightly trace the outline of your ramekins or baking containers.  Cut the dough, leaving enough for a 1 inch overhang on the edges.  Scoop 1 cup of beef mixture into ramekins.  Top each one with pie crust and cut a slits to vent.  Using a pastry brush (or a paper towel when in a pinch), brush each pie crust with egg wash.  Place the ramekins on a baking sheet to catch any spills.  Bake 45 minutes or until crust is light golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

Serves 4.

 

Mint Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt

  • 2 cups – 2% Greek yogurt, plain, well chilled
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla vodka (or plain)
  • 5 tablespoons sugar, white granulated
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips, finely chopped

Directions:

Place the bowl of your ice cream maker in the freezer for 24 hours before beginning.  In a medium bowl, combine well chilled Greek yogurt, peppermint and vanilla extracts, vodka and sugar.  Stir until sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute.  Place the mixture into the ice cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions.  With 5 minutes left in the churn time, add the chopped chocolate pieces.  Finish the churning process and remove the mixture from bowl and place it into a freezer safe container.  Let the mixture firm up for 1 hour before serving.  Enjoy!

Serves 4

 

 

 
 

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