We love this meal for a small group on a chilly night. Post football game? Mel Brooks movie marathon? It requires only the most basic preparation, and both dishes fill the house with mouth-watering aromas as they bake. Prep in advance, if you wish, and pop the pie in the oven when your guests arrive. Do the same with the crisp when you sit down to dinner. Put out some crusty bread and soft butter on the table to round out the meal, or make individual portions of pie and curl up in front of the flat screen. Dessert continues the warming-trend, ending the evening on a sweet and comforting note.
Adapted by C&S from Irene Sax’s recipe
from The Age of Casseroles (Best Food Writing 2007)
14 tbsp. butter
2 ½ lbs. beef roast, trimmed and cut into ½” cubes
1 medium white onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 tbsp. flour
1 cup beef stock
1 cup dark beer
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
½ tbsp. dried rosemary
½ tbsp. dried thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
4 large russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
½ cup whole milk
1. Melt 2 tbsp. butter in a large Dutch oven over med-high heat. Add one third of the beef and season lightly with salt and pepper. Brown on all sides, 4-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer browned meat to a plate (do not line plate with paper towels), leaving fat in the pot. Repeat the process two more times, adding more butter as necessary to brown remaining meat. After last batch of meat is removed to the plate, add onion and carrots to the pot, reduce heat to medium, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook until just softened, scraping up any browned bits. Return beef and juices to pot along with flour and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Stir in stock and beer, Worcestershire, rosemary and thyme. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until beef is tender, about 45 minutes. Uncover pot and simmer, stirring often, until thickened, about 40 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and stir in peas. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, put potatoes into a large pot and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until tender, 20-25 minutes. Drain and transfer potatoes to a bowl. Add 6 tbsp. butter, milk and salt and pepper to taste. Mash smooth with potato masher or electric mixer.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Transfer stew to a large casserole dish or 4 large (or 6 small) individual oven-safe bowls. Top evenly with mashed potatoes. Cut remaining butter into small cubes and scatter over potatoes. Bake until golden brown, 15-30 minutes, depending on the size of the serving dishes.
Apple and Pear Crisp
FoodiePrincess uses Ina Garten’s recipe, with the addition of ground ginger
4 ripe Bosc pears
6 firm, tart apples (such as Granny Smith)
1 tsp. grated orange zest
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tbsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
For the topping:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
½ pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (for serving)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Peel, core, and cut the pears and apples into large chunks. Place the fruit in a large bowl and add the zests, juices, sugar, flour, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Pour into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch oval baking dish.
3. Make the topping: Combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal, and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 1 minute, until the mixture is in large crumbles. Sprinkle evenly over the fruit, covering the fruit completely.
4. Place the baking dish on a sheet pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the top is brown and the fruit is bubbly. Serve warm with vanilla bean ice cream.