Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Goodness, My Guinness!

Potato farls with creamy butter, freshly fried chips doused with curry sauce from the chip van outside some horrid dance club, and, today at least, a distinct lack of heavy snow ... there are so many things I miss about living in Belfast.

The haze of time has likely caused me to romanticize it much more than I should, but I still have rather a soft spot in my heart for Sundays at the pub. Whereas Sunday afternoons at the bar in Brooklyn involved jalapeno poppers and veggie burgers and the NFL (and there's nothing wrong with all that!), Sunday afternoons in Belfast offered endless pints of Guinness, traditional musicians playing music with Uilleann pipes, fiddles and bodhráns, and, perhaps most importantly, the carvery.

Of course, I never actually had anything off the carvery buffet except the side vegetables ... it wasn't as if any pub offered a giant seitan roast. But, without having ever tasted the roasts or pies, I still miss them. They just looked so good! How can you turn down buttery puff pastry topping braised beef and vegetables in rich gravy? Well, as a vegetarian, you dig into your boiled potato and plot to recreate the pie on your own.

Fast-forward a decade to a chilly winter in New England. What better comfort food to make than a big seitan and Guinness pie with root vegetables and flaky puff pastry? B. grumbled somewhat at the amount of time this venture took, but even he agreed it was worth it. (That, and he was left with five Guinness of his own.) I never had an actual beef and Guinness pie, but somehow I suspect that this version is just as good.

Probably better, but hey - I'm biased.

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