January 06, 2006

Watch your back, Mishawaka Brewing Company

Back in college there was a local pub with which I established a passionate love/hate relationship that continues to this day, whenever I return for a football game. They serve quite possibly my favorite meal (something called an "Irish Meat Pie", kind of a cross between Shepard's pie and Beef Wellington) and brew my favorite beer. The problem is, their kitchen is only open from 6:00pm to 6:04pm on alternate Tuesdays, and the beer (a Pumpkin dessert beer) is only served about two weeks a year.

I've never seen another restaurant that serves anything like the Irish meat pie, and every other pumpkin beer I've tried tastes more like the Irish meat pie than their pumpkin beer. So I've decided to take matters into my own hands: I'm going to these things myself.

I've started with the Irish Meat Pie, since I don't like to cook after drinking. More importantly, I don't have a brewing kit. Yet.

Lucky for me, the restaurant posted their menu on their website (the fools!), so I was able to get the basic description to refresh my memory. After a few culinary disasters, I'm getting pretty darn close. Here's the basic operation:

"Damn You, MBC" meat pie (serves 2)

1lb sirloin steak
1c mashed potatoes
3/4c cheese. I went with colby-jack.
1 sheet puff pastry
1 egg
1 tbsp water
Flour for dusting, and for gravy-making
salt and pepper
herbs if you have 'em
vegetable oil

  1. Defrost the pastry sheet according to instructions
  2. Heat up a pan (preferably cast-iron), and preheat-oven to 500°. You can even heat the pan in the oven. How efficient
  3. Prep the steak by oiling lightly with a neutral, high-heat oil, and seasoning with kosher salt and pepper.
  4. Sear steak in a hot pan over high heat, about 1 minute one each side.
  5. Move steak and pan to 500° oven, cook about 1-2 min on each side for medium rare. You want to undercook the steak in this step, since we'll be re-cooking them later in the pie, and we don't want it to overcook then
  6. Remove steak from oven, and rest on a plate (the steak, not you).
  7. Reduce oven temp to 400°
  8. Make a bit of gravy using the flour and pan drippings if you can. (optional)
  9. Prep the pastry: Lay it out flat, and push any ripped seams back together. Flour lightly on both sides.
  10. Cut out about a 6½" square from the pastry. You'll be left with an L shaped piece. Cut the L into two 6½" long strips (you'll have a bit left). and patch the two pieces into another 6½" square. Place both squares on a lightly floured sheet pan.
  11. Slice the steak crosswise into ¼" slices.
  12. Mix the sliced steak, potatoes, cheese, sauce, and any herbs together
  13. Place meat mixture into center of each pastry square. I should have measured here, but I didn't, so put in as much as you think it can hold.
    That looks like enough
  14. Whisk egg and water together, brush some on as a border of the top side of the pastry square.
  15. Fold up each corner of each pastry around the filling, and seal edges together by pinching. The egg wash should act as glue.
    Pinched Closed
  16. Brush the outside of the newly-formed pouches with the egg mixture.
  17. Bake pouches at 400° for about 30 minutes until they crisp up and turn a pretty golden brown. Awwww...
  18. Bonus: If you have any spare chocolate laying around, roll that up in the scrap piece of pastry, and bake it right along with the pies.
  19. Eat, while planning how to get your wife to agree to buying a brewing kit.
P.S. The Mishawake Brewing Company is actually a lovely establishment, and aside from some bad timing on my part (and a rude waitresses or two), I've always had a nice time there. So if you have the misfortune to be in Mishawaka, IN, I recommend stopping by. Posted by Kevin at January 6, 2006 08:48 AM

mmmmmm beeeffff!!! I know a guy that can score some pumkin ale. So what time can i come over for the pie?

Posted by: jayboz at January 7, 2006 10:21 AM

The crazy thing is that with the totally delicious Irish Meat Pie, Kevin made the world's best pasta: gnochi in butter sage sauce! It almost outshined the main dish (even though it looks like insect larvae).

Posted by: Amy at January 9, 2006 02:35 PM

If you're serious about making beer, check out www.morebeer.com. They have beginner supplies and ingredient kits (but no pumpkin beer recipes). If you can make Irish meat pie, you can make beer. We'll let Nook sample your first batch, but after that, I'm all for homebrew.

Posted by: Greg at January 17, 2006 11:43 AM
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