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A British Gastropub Dinner

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Homey classics are elevated to delicious heights in this warming winter menu.

In the U.S., it seems, gastropubs are the new bistros. The casual restaurants mix traditional British dishes like this cottage pie and sticky toffee pudding with fresh, modern classics—comfort food at its finest. It’s the perfect model for a casual winter dinner with friends. This three-course menu serves six with leftover cottage pie and pudding, and you can do much of the cooking up to a day ahead.

Menu Timeline

One day ahead:

  • Soak the raisins in port overnight for the salad.
  • Make the beef stew for the cottage pie.
  • Bake the cake for the sticky toffee pudding. Turn it out of the pan and wrap in foil when it has cooled.

Two hours before dinner:

  • Roast the butternut squash for the salad.
  • Boil and mash the potatoes for the cottage pie.

One hour before dinner

  • Make the vinaigrette for the salad.
  • Combine all the ingredients for the toffee pudding sauce in a small saucepan
  • Prep the greens for the salad and arrange on six plates.

30 minutes before dinner

  • Assemble and bake the cottage pie.
  • Broil the goat cheese for the salad.
  • Serve the salad as the first course while the cottage pie finishes baking.

After dinner:

  • Reheat the cake, wrapped in foil, in a low oven.
  • Make the sticky toffee sauce, and serve with the cake.

Shopping List

Fresh Produce:

  • 2 lb. russet potatoes (3 to 4 medium)
  • 1 butternut squash (about 2 lb.)
  • 3 cups loosely packed spinach leaves
  • 2 medium heads endive
  • 1 small head frisée
  • 1 small head radicchio
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 small yellow onions
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 medium shallot
  • 1 small bunch fresh thyme

Meat, Eggs & Dairy:

  • 2-1/2 lb. thin-cut chuck steaks, preferably top blade (or flat iron), 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick
  • 1 lb. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup milk, light cream, or half-and-half
  • 6-oz. log fresh goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • Vanilla ice cream (optional)
  • 4 slices bacon (optional)

Other Groceries:

  • 6 oz. (1-1/4 cups plus 1 Tbs.) self-rising flour
  • 6 oz. (1 cup lightly packed) pitted dates (Medjools, if possible)
  • 6 oz. (3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs.) golden superfine sugar (or white superfine sugar)
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
  • 1/2 cup port
  • 1/2 cup packed light or dark muscovado sugar (or light brown sugar)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 1/2 oz.dried porcini mushrooms

Pantry Staples:

  • 1-3/4 cups low-salt beef broth (1 14-oz. can)
  • 1 cup peanut oil
  • 1/3 cup sherry vinegar
  • 5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. Dijon-style mustard
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • Kosher salt
  • black peppercorns

The Menu


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