**Warning: this recipe is neither low-fat nor healthy.  In fact, it is the antithesis of good-for-you.  However, it is the most ingenious way to fight cold weather and winter-time blues.  Besides, no one is putting on a bikini any time soon, right?**

**Oh, and I’m aware that Guinness isn’t vegan, I should have mentioned that.  I’m one of those people who just isn’t willing to give up alcohol for the cause.  However, I’m sure there are vegan stouts out there that would be 100% acceptable if you so desire!**

I like a challenge. So when Sam Sifton of the New York times posted an article and recipe on British meat pies, I knew I needed to make one. You might be saying “hold on Jes, aren’t meat pies…well, made of meat?” Verily. But I never let main ingredients stop me from veganizing things that should probably never be veganized. Can anyone say crepe cake? Thankfully this one didn’t take quite as long as the crepe cake and thankfully the result was just as tasty (in a savory kind of way).

Sam describes the pie as follows:

But let us stipulate right from the start: meat pie for our ­purposes today is beef in dark, silky gravy composed of fat and reduced stout, flecked with tender vegetables, covered (if not encased) in pastry, served alongside peas and, perhaps, mashed potatoes. Cooked on a dark February afternoon as low clouds scud across a distant horizon, meat pie will fill your home with good cheer and the promise of contentment across the table at dinner. Eating it — salty and rich, buttoned with sweetness — will occasion thoughts of a coming walk or a nap on the couch with the dog, in equal measure. You’ll want some red wine to drink.

I’ll redescribe the original recipe: beef, trotter gear, suet, beef fat, beer.

Ew. My take includes seitan, veggies, and Guinness simmered down to malty perfection, topped with a flaky pastry crust.  Sounds tempting right? The consensus is that I need to start a vegan gastropub and this meat pie ought to be on the menu. I could go with that. If I didn’t have to work ridiculously long hours for no pay, that is. For now, I’ll stick with this pie, warm slippers, and a cat on my lap. And trust me, I’m dreaming of the day when Spring finally comes and flavorful, colorful vegetables are an option!

Guinness Pie

Adapted from the New York Times

For the pastry:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) very cold Earth Balance, diced

For the filling:
4 tbsp olive oil
2 large red onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
10 mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
1/2 recipe of Kittee’s basic gluten log, chopped into bite-size pieces
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons flour
1 sprig rosemary
About 4 cups (2 cans) Guinness or other stout

To prepare the pastry:
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Using a pastry cutter or your hands, quickly work the Earth Balance into the dough until it is the texture of coarse meal. Add ice water, a splash at a time, until a firm dough forms. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

To prepare the filling:
While the pastry is cooling in the fridge, cook the onions in 2 tbsp olive oil in a stock pot over medium heat for 5-7 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

Add the carrots, celery, mushrooms and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are dark in color and the moisture released by them has evaporated, about 15 minutes.

Add the seitan, flour and rosemary to the pan and cook over high heat, stirring often, for about 5 minutes.

Add enough Guinness to just cover the setian. Cover the pot with a lid, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer the Guinness for 1 hour. Stir occasionally. After 1 hour, remove the lid and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes, until the liquid has reduced.

To assemble:
Remove the pastry from the fridge and place it two sheets of plastic wrap and. Using a rolling pin, roll to the thickness of a computer mouse pad. Pour the stew into an 8-inch-square, 2-inch-high Pyrex dish or a deep 9-inch pie pan. Place the dough on top of the pie and pinch it closed around the edges using the tines of a fork, then slash the center lightly with a knife.

Place on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, or until the pastry is puffy and golden.