Update: Congratulations to Julie from Bananas for Bourbon, the winner of this giveaway.  She likes her blue cheese in pasta sauce, on bread, and is hoping to incorporate it into Biscuit batter.  Looks like she’ll get her chance!

My sister-in-law, Liz, hosted us for dinner on Christmas Eve eve and served Stilton-crusted beef stew that we all went crazy for.

It was an interesting coincidence because Maggy and I had just been remembering how Kerrygold Cashel Blue Cheese was the hit at the Big Summer Potluck lunch this past August. There were lots of wonderful dishes that day, but it was the big wheel of Cashel blue that everyone was talking about, heading back to the buffet table for more. At the end of the meal there wasn’t a crumble left.

Which is unusual, because as someone who frequently serves cheese, I nearly always find blue cheese left on the board. Why was the Kerrygold Cashal Blue so popular? To me it’s because this cheese is at once creamy and crumbly, mild yet distinct. It looks and tastes like butter mated with blue.

Maggy turned to me at that holiday dinner and said, “Wouldn’t the beef stew crust be perfect made with Kerrygold Cashel Blue?” The stew already had an Irish feel–much of the flavoring liquid was Guiness. I said, “You’re right!”

Maggy facebooked the folks at Kerry Gold and told them about our blue cheese crusted stout stew. In fact they liked the idea so much they suggested a giveaway. Kerrygold sent some Cashel Blue, and I developed my own recipe: Blue Cheese-Crusted Beef Stout Pie. I served it to Maggy who thought it was superb. I gave some to my friend who e-mailed to say, “It’s the best stew I ever tasted.”

So there you have it–a great recipe and a giveaway. Kerrygold will send you a thee-pound wheel of Cashel Blue, lovingly crafted by the Grubb  family with milk from cows that graze on some of Ireland’s most lush and nutrient rich pastures. (FYI, there was no compensation for this post… except for a wheel of that amazing blue cheese!)

Just tell us your favorite thing to do with blue. Giveaway closes on Sunday, February 5th at 9 PM ET. We’ll announce the winner first thing Monday morning.

Blue Cheese-Crusted Beef Stout Pie

Serves 8

These days it appears that most grocery stores carry either 1-pound packages of frozen pearl onions or 9-ounce packages of creamed pearl onions. Either works. Since I can only get creamed pearl onions, my recipe calls for that. If using regular frozen pearl onions, use a 1-pound package and add an extra tablespoon of oil when sauteing garlic and herbs and increase flour to 1/4 cup.

1 recipe Blue Cheese Pastry (below)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound sliced baby bella mushrooms
3 1/2 pounds beef chuck roast, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
Salt and ground black pepper
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups stout, such as Guinness
2 packages (9 ounces each) frozen creamed pearl onions
1 pound each: boiling potatoes and peeled carrots, cut into bite-size chunks
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Make Blue Cheese Pastry and refrigerate. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons of of the oil in a 5- to 6- quart Dutch oven or heavy soup kettle over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; sauté until most of the moisture has evaporated and mushrooms start to turn brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; set aside.

Meanwhile, drizzle beef with another tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Working in 2 batches to avoid overcrowding, add beef chunks to hot pot and sear, turning only once, until 2 sides form an impressive, dark brown crust, 5 to 6 minutes per batch. Transfer to a bowl; set aside.

Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in pot. Add garlic, thyme, and flour; cook until garlic is golden, almost immediately. Vigorously whisk in broth, stout, and tomato paste and then creamed (or regular, see note above) pearl onions. Bring to a simmer; continue to simmer until creamed pearl onions have just thawed. Return beef to the pot. Using two potholders to protect hands, place a sheet of heavy-duty foil over pot, pressing foil down so that it touches stew. Seal foil completely around edges. Place lid snugly on pot and cook until juices bubble. Set pot in the oven and cook until meat is tender, 1 1/2 hours.

While stew cooks, bring 1 inch of water to boil in a deep skillet or pot over high heat. Place potatoes and carrots in a steamer basket, season with salt, and set in pan. Cover and steam until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes.

Remove stew from oven and carefully remove foil. Stir in steamed vegetables and Worcestershire sauce. (Stew can be cooled and refrigerated up to 2 days); return to a simmer.

About 45 minutes before serving, leave oven rack at lower-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Roll Blue Cheese Pastry to 10- to 11-inch circle (check pan diameter). Place pastry over stew; set pot in oven and bake, uncovered, until stew is bubbly and pastry is golden brow, about 30 minutes. (For a richer colored pastry, turn on broiler and continue to cook 1 to 2 minutes longer) Spoon into soup plates and serve.

Blue Cheese Pastry

Enough for a single crust 9-inch pie

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons) frozen unsalted butter, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/3 cup ice water
3 ounces crumbled blue cheese, preferably Kerry Gold Cashel

Pulse flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor to blend. Add butter; process with 12 to 14 one-second pulses until mixture resembles coarse meal with pea-size butter pieces. Add blue cheese; process with 2 to 3 more one-second pulses until incorporated. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl; sprinkle ice water over mixture with a fork until mixture starts to come together. Switching to hands, form mixture into a ball pressing dough onto the side of the bowl and adding sprinkling in a little more water, if necessary to get dough to form a solid ball. Wrap dough in plastic and press into a 4-inch disk. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days.