A belated Pi day

March 16, 2016

A salute to math geekery

A salute to math geekery

Every March 14, I feel like I have to bake a pie. Or, more particularly, a Pi.

And I’m not, as anyone with any familiarity with me can testify, any kind of a math whiz. It’s just my nod to geekdom, I guess.

Anyway, I didn’t want to bake a sweet pie, or Pi, as I had the remains of Sunday’s dessert in the fridge, and I’m not supposed to be eating sweets anyway. So I opted for a savory version.

I make possibly the best chicken pot pie known to modern man (previously posted about several times, so I won’t go into detail; use the search feature on the home page if you’re interested, but it’s SERIOUSLY easy), but I wasn’t in the mood for chicken, and didn’t want to go to the trouble of defrosting and cooking a whole one. I had leftover sirloin steak — the one that was tough — so I decided I’d recycle that.

Cut the steak up in small bits, and got out the Instant Pot; sauteed an onion with some garlic, forgot to put in the mushrooms I’d bought for that express purpose. I’d decided to cobble together something based on a favorite, carbonnades a la flamande, so I added a bottle of Green Flash Double Stout. And for good measure, I chopped up a few carrots and two small potatoes. Put that under pressure for 30 minutes to tenderize that steak and cook the veggies, which it did.

Let it saute a bit with the lid off, adding my brown sugar and mustard during that period, as well as some cornstarch to thicken the juices, and ladled it into a pie crust.

Mistake. The filling was too hot. It melted some of the fat in the pie crust, thus the weird appearance and the cracks, and it wasn’t as flaky as it might have been. I should have let it cool down to room temp, but I was running late with dinner.

Letting it cool a bit more might have alleviated a bit of Child A’s major complaint about it — that it tasted “very beery.” Now, she loves carbonnades a la flamande, and reminded me I haven’t made it this winter, and I must do so if we have another chilly snap. I’m not sure if more of the beer taste cooks away in the long, slow braise as opposed to the pressure cook, but I suppose it’s possible. I will agree it had a different taste, but I couldn’t specifically identify it as “beery,” nor did I find it unpleasant. It was, essentially, a mashup of classic steak and Guinness (well, Green Flash, but they’re both stouts) pie and the carbonnades.

And the steak got nice and tender. I posited the question on the food forum I frequent about why it might have been so tough, and was advised I had (a) cooked it at too high a temp in the SV, and (b) didn’t cook it long enough. They advised 8 hours at 131 degrees. I’ll try that next time.

Yesterday, I made yogurt, because I was out, and today I’m making a loaf of sandwich bread and have some cod filets out to thaw, so we’ll have cod of some description tonight. I’ve seen a recipe for miso-glazed cod that looks quite excellent, and that may be what I make.  I have the corned beef brisket out of the brine, soaking in clear water to leach out some of the salt, and I’ll put half of him on to SV tonight, while I coat the rest down in a peppercorn/coriander rub and bag and freeze it for pastrami later this spring. Have a line on how to do the pastrami….smoke it for several hours, then finish in the SV bath to get it nice and tender. I’ll give ‘er a whirl. And I will have homemade bread on which to have my corned beef sandwich after I serve corned beef and cabbage for St. Pat’s Thursday night.

So you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em come on over and get you a sandwich this weekend. I’ll be here.




One Response to “A belated Pi day”

  1. cleavelin Says:

    I’m not sure if more of the beer taste cooks away in the long, slow braise as opposed to the pressure cook, but I suppose it’s possible.

    I’d say more than possible; remember that in order to build up pressure the pressure cooker has to seal air (well, gas) tight. Very little alcohol evaporates away during the pressure cooking phase. My sources say to be aware of this when cooking with wine in a pressure cooker, too.

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