We originally watched Waitress back in December of 2010, and the first time around I made this "The Holidays are Making me NUTS" Pie. If you're not familiar with Waitress, it's the story of Jenna, a waitress in a small town who's stuck in a bad marriage to the handsome but mental and mean Earl. When she finds out she's pregnant, she only sees that as another thing holding her down. She's pretty miserable and unlikeable, but somehow, I still find myself rooting for her.
Not only is she a waitress at Joe's Pie Diner, she's also a masterful maker of pie. So, being the pie whore that I am, you can probably guess why I chose this one. Jenna expresses her feelings through her pies, combining fitting ingredients to her current situation or state of mind. Some examples are "Falling in Love Chocoalte Mousse" Pie, "I Hate My Husband" Pie, "Baby Screaming its Head Off in the Middle of the Night and Ruinin' My Life" Pie, and "Pregnant Miserable Self-Pitying Loser" Pie.
But she also makes one with tempting names such as Naughty Pumpkin Pie, Peachy Keen Tarts, Spaghetti Pie, Spanish Dancer Pie with Potato Crust, Jenna's Special Strawberry Chocolate Oasis Pie, and Marshmallow Mermaid Pie (which was the visual inspiration behind my Pink Cloud Pie).
I decided to use a little inspiration to make my own pie with a fun name. Jenna and Dr. Pomatter fall into a completely inappropriate relationship during the course of her pregnancy, inspiring pies such as "I Can't Have No Affair Cuz It's Wrong and I Don't Want Earl to Kill Me" Pie and "Earl Murders Me Cuz I'm Having an Affair" Pie.
I went along those same lines, but looked at the other side of it (since there is also a Mrs. Pomatter), and made a hearty, rich, man-pleasing pie that I call "Borrow Your Man" Beef and Beer Pie. I almost called it "steal your man" pie...but she gave him back, so I went with borrow.
Speaking of my love of pie, today is also the last Friday of the month which means it's #FridayPieDay! I timed it perfectly, wouldn't you say? My friend Stacy at Food Lust People Love is has joined me again this with her Cauliflower Leek Roquefort Tart. I wonder what we would get if we "Jenna-ed" that one?
Beef and Beer Pie
Tender chunks of beef in a rich sauce tucked under a golden pie crust.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours + 30 minutes
Keywords: bake entree nut-free beer beef pie
Ingredients (serves 6)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 to 2.5 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 4 small onions, thinly sliced
- 2 large carrots, sliced into 1/4-inch coins
- 8 ounces crimini or white mushrooms, quartered
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 12 ounces dark beer (preferably a lager or stout)
- 2 cups beef stock or broth
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- small bunch of fresh thyme (12-15 sprigs)
- kosher or sea salt
- ground black or white pepper
- 1 9-inch pie crust, homemade or storebought
- 1 egg, beaten
Put the flour into a large bowl and season with a few good pinches of both salt and pepper. Add the beef chunks to the bowl and toss until they are all coated evenly with the flour.
Set a large, heavy-bottomed pot or casserole over medium-high heat; add 2 tablespoons of the butter and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Once the butter has melted and the pot is very hot, tumble half of the coated beef cubes in and allow to brown on all sides. Remove the browned beef to a small bowl of plate. If the bottom of the pot looks dry, add in the remaining butter and oil, then repeat process with second half of meat. This will take about 8-10 minutes per batch; don't stir too soon or too often.
Leave the pot over the heat, but lower it to medium. Add the onion, carrots, and mushroom; cooking, stirring often, until they just begin to soften, ~6 minutes. Stir the tomato paste into the vegetables and allow it to cook for another 2 minutes. You should have a layer of fond (the build-up, aka flavor!) on the bottom of the pot. Slowly pour in the beer, using your spoon or spatula to stir and scrape that fond off of the bottom of the pot as the beer bubbles up.
Add the beef stock, honey, and Worcestershire sauce to the pot. Add the bundle of fresh thyme to the pot; I like to use one sturdy looking sprig as a "tie" to bind the sprigs together for easy removal later. Add a healthy smattering of pepper. Bring to a boil, then put on the lid and reduce heat to very low, just so it's still bubbling gently inside. Let it cook for 2 hours, until the meat is tender and the liquid has thickened up a bit. Remove pot from heat.
Scoop or pour the filling into a 9 to 9.5-inch deep dish pie plate. It should just come to the top without overflowing into the ridges around the edge. If you have a little extra, just consider the cook's bonus and eat it. Remove the bundle of thyme and any stray stems. Let sit until cooled to room temperature.
You can proceed with the rest of the recipe now, or cover the dish and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours. If you've refrigerated it, let it sit out on the counter for 1 hour before proceeding.
Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with foil; you'll use this to set the pie plate on in case it overflows (optional).
Roll your prepared pie crust out into a circle that is about the size of your pie dish. Use a butter knife to cut a 1-inch strip all the way around the outside edge of the circle. Wet the rim of your pie dish with water, then set the strip you cut out on that rim, pressing down into indentations of the dish. Place a pie bird (or another pie funnel) into the center of the filling, wiggling it around until it's sitting on the bottom of the dish.
Roll the remaining crust until it is once again the size of the pie plate, or slightly larger; it should be about 1/8-inch thick. Carefully lift the rolled crust up and center it over the top of the plate. Lower it down over the top, letting it drape over the pie funnel. The beak of the bird should make a hole right in the center, if not, just push down on the pastry a bit. The bird/funnel is there to let the steam escape so that you don't get a soggy crust. Press the edges down into the strip of pastry that is already there and pinch to seal. Gently brush the top with the beaten egg.
Set the pie on the prepared baking sheet (if using) and slide into the preheated oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the crust has browned and the filling is hot. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
This pie can be refrigerated once it has cooled. Cut/scoop leftover slices and reheat in the microwave.
If you want to join us next month, we'll be getting into the Halloween spirit with Elizabeth at The Lawyer's Cookbook—Hocus Pocus is the featured film!
Join me on the last Friday of each month for pie and crust recipes, techniques, tools of the trade, and other inspiration. For more information and recipes, please check out my #FRIDAYPIEDAY page!