Pub food is the best! In my mind, it's easy to fix, can be put together fast and slapped down on the table in the time it takes to draw a pint and let the 'head' settle a bit.
That being said, check out the plate of food we had for lunch today. Beef and Mushroom Pies - perfect pub food. Puff pastry rectangles that are split and filled with a combination of beef, onions, mushrooms, and a rich brown gravy that is perfect for swiping whipped potatoes through. The only thing missing on that plate is a side of roasted vegetables - Brussels sprouts would be a great option ... or anything seasonal.
This is a meal that can be made ahead and assembled for a crowd, as they come to the table (or the bar). The meat and gravy sits well in a crockpot. The mashed potatoes can be made and kept warm. The puff pastry squares can be baked well ahead of meal time and stored in a covered container until they're needed.
To boot, I was thinking this afternoon, as I assembled this warm lunch that a soft gravy of chicken and vegetables or a cream sauce with scallops and bacon bits or a tomato based sauce with spicy pork would go well with the general idea of this plate ... the possibilities are endless ... as are the ideas for accompanying mash!
Ah, pub food ! Get busy making this recipe or your own version of this puff pastry classic ... and draw a cold beer as you sit down with a tasty plate!
Beef and Mushroom Pies for 6
2 ½ - 3 lb. lightly marbled stew beef, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 large onions, one chopped to small dice and one cut into thin wedges
3 bouillon cubes
½ tsp. black pepper
3 c. water
1 tsp. Browning sauce or a stock fortifier (Kitchen Bouquet, Gravy Master, or the like)
Several dashes of Worcestershire sauce
½ c. water and cornstarch enough to make a thick slurry
3 tbsp. butter (divided)
16 oz. mushrooms, cleaned and cut into quarters (divided)
1 package frozen puff pastry sheets
6 - 8 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
Butter/milk for mashing the potatoes
Salt and pepper, to taste
Chopped parsley for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Thaw out one large sheet of puff pastry dough and cut it into six uniform rectangles.
- Place on the parchment paper and bake for about 20 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.
- Set aside for use later.
- Combine the first five ingredients and bring to a boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Lower the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 1 ½ hours. Use a diffusion plate to keep the pot at a very low simmer. Check periodically and add more water if needed to keep the meat and onions covered with liquid.
- After 1 ½ hours, add the browning sauce and Worcestershire sauce and stir in.
- Add the cornstarch slurry a bit at a time, stirring to let the sauce begin to thicken. Bring the heat up a bit under the pot if necessary.
- When the gravy is at the right thickness, turn heat back down to a low simmer, cover the pan and let it sit on the warm diffuser pad to help hold the heat.
- Boil the potatoes gently in another saucepan until softened. Mash with butter and milk to desired consistency, cover and keep warm.
- When ready to serve, split one puff pastry rectangle. Place the bottom on a plate and spoon the beef and mushrooms and some gravy over top, plop a good dollop of mashed potatoes on the side. Place a dollop of butter into the top of the potato mound and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
- Top the beef and mushrooms with the other half of the rectangle and serve piping hot.
- You can also serve roasted vegetables on the side … your choice.