Homey, hearty and comforting, Steak & Mushroom Pie warms a chilly Sunday. Karen Scheider / For The Forecaster

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at [email protected]

I don’t eat red meat often anymore, but this hearty dish made with inexpensive chuck steak, mushrooms and a flavorful sauce, topped with cheesy biscuits speaks to my Irish soul. It’s a wonderful meal for a Sunday when, hopefully, you have time to relax, read by the fire and can enjoy the divine aroma of supper in the oven. I especially like the way the mushrooms act like little sponges to soak up the flavor of the sauce. With the biscuits on top, this is altogether delicious and worth the bit of fuss.

If you want a totally leisurely Sunday, the steak can be cooked a day ahead and then reheated before setting the biscuits on top to bake just before serving.

Since this supper takes a few steps, let’s keep the rest of the meal simple by enjoying this casserole with a green salad. For dessert, how about a smidgen of chocolate fondue? Gather together a platter of favorite dippers: ladyfingers or pound cake, orange slices, strawberries and apple slices are suggested. Brew your favorite tea or concoct a hot toddy and continue on with your day of rest. You deserve it.

Steak & Mushroom Pie

2 tablespoons olive oil or bacon fat
2 pounds chuck steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 large onion, quartered and thickly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups Guinness beer
1 1/2 cups beef stock
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a Dutch oven or other large, oven-proof skillet, heat oil over medium heat and sear meat until browned. Remove steak to a plate and sauté mushrooms, onions, and garlic, adding more oil if needed. When the mushrooms’ liquid has evaporated and the onions are soft, put the mixture on the plate with the steak. Deglaze the pan with the Guinness, allowing it to come to a boil and reducing slightly. Add the stock to the pan, then carefully pour the liquid into a glass measuring cup.

Melt butter in the pan and add flour, whisking to make a roux. Whisk in half the liquid until smooth. Add the remainder of the liquid and whisk until sauce is the consistency of heavy cream.

Add Worcestershire and soy sauces, salt, pepper and thyme. Add the steak mixture to the pan and stir, bringing it to a gentle simmer. Cover the pan and place it on the center rack of the oven. Cook for 2 hours, checking every 30 minutes to be sure the liquid is barely simmering. If the liquid is boiling away, add more stock or water and turn the oven temperature down to 240 degrees. While the steak is cooking, make the biscuits.

Cheddar Topped Biscuits

2/3 cup buttermilk
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated and divided
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces

Mix buttermilk and egg yolk together in a small bowl. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients and 1 cup cheese. Cut in butter with a fork then gradually add buttermilk and egg, mixing just enough to make a dough. Turn onto a floured surface and knead a few times. Roll out the dough to 1/2-inch thick and cut with a biscuit cutter or knife.

When the steak is tender, remove the pan from the oven and increase the temperature to 400 degrees. Lay biscuits on top of hot steak and sauce. Return to oven and bake for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and top biscuits with remaining cheese. Continue baking for another 10 minutes, until biscuits are cooked through and cheese is golden. Yield: 6 servings

Dippy Chocolate

6 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon orange zest
7 ounces good dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier liqueur
2 tablespoons light corn syrup

In a double-boiler with the bottom of the top pan not touching the simmering water beneath, heat the cream and orange zest. Add the chocolate, coffee, liqueur and corn syrup, stirring constantly until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Keep the chocolate sauce warm in a fondue pot or in a heat-proof bowl set over simmering water. Yield: 6 servings

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