An easy vegetable dish that is so pretty ... it sits nicely beside an elegant poached fish or a homey piece of meat pie. Completely unfussy and just beautiful in its simplicity.
Beets and Onions with Dill and Sour Cream
4 large beets
1 cup, sliced purple onion crescents
Two dashes light olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
¼ c. light sour cream
½ c. dill springs, coarsely chopped
- Wash the beets well and place them on a large square of aluminum foil. Drizzle with one dash of olive oil, sprinkle on some salt and pepper and wrap them loosely to form a pocket.
- Place the beets in the oven and set the oven to 425° F. Roast them in the foil for an hour.
- Meanwhile, place the onion crescents in a pretty roasting dish and toss with the other dash of olive oil, sprinkle on the salt and pepper.
- When the beets have been roasting for 30 minutes, place the onions in the oven and roast until the ends begin to become golden and the onions have wilted beautifully.
- Remove both vegetables and poke the beets to see if they are soft. If they need a bit more time, re-wrap and continue roasting. If they are done, gently peel and slice them into bite-sized chunks.
- Toss them gently with the onions and then place dollops of sour cream over top, sprinkle on the fresh dill and serve immediately.
This time of year, I always look around and find the last of the beets, turnips, potatoes, and carrots in the cold storage bins and a mix of onions in the kitchen drawer. With the bouquets of fresh herbs that are popping up at the market I can get such a nice side thrown together for the last of the warm 'stick-to-your-ribs' roasts and meat pies that late winter seems to call for.
Yesterday, the roads were muddy and it was a chore to head out to vote in the local elections, but we did our civic duty. Then, I headed to the library for a copy of 'Rebecca', Daphne DuMaurier's dark, psychological thriller. I was in the mood for a good creepy read and when it rains this way, I am reminded of the coast of Cornwall and the moors up back of the cliffs and headlands. Du Maurier's book also came to mind, so I was set on getting it as my next read (I'd been thinking about it for a while).
Home we went, wet from the rain, where I curled up for the rest of the afternoon with my nose in the book and a hot cup of tea beside me. When dinnertime rolled around, I made us a beef and onion meat pie and these beets ... once again, the fires were lit to keep the damp chill at bay. It was a meal that I could envision having in a little Cornish pub, sitting in an old creaky booth beside a fireplace lit and crackling nicely. My afternoon of reading got my imagination worked up, what can I say?
This meat pie is also an easy affair ... a simple saute of celery, onions, and a bit of garlic, seared floured cubes of chuck steak, quartered and browned mushrooms, a handful of cocktail onions, red wine and beef broth and flour slurry to make a gravy. All this gets prepped and then cooled a bit before a puff pastry topping gets plopped on top. Brush with some egg and into the hot oven it goes to crisp up and bubble hot.
Mmmm ... with a cold beer and those beets on the side, we were back in Boscastle and reminiscing about our vacation there years back! Pub food ... so good!
Beef and Onion Pie
1 ½ lb. boneless beef chuck steak
8 oz. Crimini mushrooms, stemmed, brushed clean, and quartered
2 shallots, minced
2 stalks celery, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsp. butter, divided
1 generous cup dry red wine
2 tbsp. Madeira wine
1 ½ c. strong beef broth with 2 – 3 tbsp. flour to make a slurry
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 c. cocktail onions, drained and well-rinsed
½ c. fresh parsley, chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper
Flour for dredging the beef
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, enough to cover a 13 x 9 inch baking dish
1 egg, beaten for glazing the pastry
Making the Dish:
- In a deep fry pan, melt half the butter over medium high heat. Add the shallots and celery and sweat until soft and glistening. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two.
- Turn the vegetables out into a bowl and set aside.
- Place the other half of the butter into the pan and toss in the mushrooms, working in batches to brown up the edges and removing the mushrooms to the bowl of vegetables as they brown and adding more until all the mushrooms are browned.
- As the mushrooms brown up, cut the steaks into 1 inch cubes and toss them in salt and pepper and flour to coat them.
- When the last of the mushrooms have been turned into the bowl with the other vegetables, toss the steak cubes into the hot pan and sear them on all sides – let the flour coating crisp up a bit.
- Turn the vegetables back into the pan and tuck them around the cooking meat.
- Pour the red wine and Madeira over all, drop in the bay leaves and thyme and stir well to loosen the crispy bits on the pan’s surface. Cover the pan. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or so.
- Drain the cocktail onions and rinse them well ( they are tart, so you want to get some of that tartness out of them).
- Chop the parsley and make the beef broth slurry.
- When the meat and vegetables have simmered for 15 minutes, add the onions and the beef broth slurry, stirring to make a thick gravy. Turn the heat off and let the mixture cool a bit.
- Place the filling in a 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Sprinkle on the chopped parsley.
- Roll out the puff pastry sheets into a rectangle that will completely cover the top of the mixture. Lay the pastry over top, turning the edges back on the pastry to make a crimped edge.
- Beat an egg and brush the pastry top, chill the pan for 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 425° F.
- Bake the meat pie for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the gravy bubbles at the edges of the pie.
- Let the pie sit for a few minutes before serving.