Beef and Mushroom Pot Pies
Short ribs, mushrooms and kale in a rosemary-red wine gravy, baked in pastry. There's a reason everyone loves pot pie. And this is probably it.
See the People Like Pie cooking class page for step-by-step photographs showing exactly how to assemble and bake these pies.
Makes 6 double-crust 4-inch pot pies, or 4 single-crust 4-inch pot pies; or makes one large pie serving 6.
7 Tablespoons olive oil
Ground black pepper
2 1/2 pounds boneless short ribs, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 carrots cut into large chunks
1 celery stalk cut into large chunks
2 medium yellow onions
3 fat garlic cloves
3/4 cup dry red wine (we used a Zinfandel)
3 1/2 cups salted beef broth, plus a little more if needed
2 bay leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary
3/4 pound small cremini mushrooms, quartered
4-5 large leaves of Tuscan kale, cut or torn into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 Tablespoon flour, plus more for rolling out
1 recipe (2 disks) Pâte Brisée pie crust pastry, cold
Making the Filling
1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees with the oven rack in the middle position. In a heavy pan or Dutch oven, warm 1 1/2 Tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Generously season the short ribs with about 1/3 teaspoon coarse salt and black pepper to taste. Add the meat to the pan and sear it on all sides. Work in batches as needed to accommodate all the meat. Transfer the meat to a platter and turn the heat to medium.
2. Add the carrot and celery chunks to the pan. Cut one of the onions into large chunks and add it to the pan. Saute the vegetables together for about 5 minutes. Smash the garlic cloves, remove the skins and add them to the pan. Saute with the vegetables until fragrant.
3. Turn the heat to high and add the wine. Scrape the pan with a wooden spatula while the wine bubbles and reduces in volume, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and stir in 1 cup of the broth, along with the bay leaves and rosemary. Add the meat back to the pan along with the accumulated juices and stir to combine everything. Put the lid on and bake in the oven for 2 1/2 hours, stirring once halfway through.
4. When the meat is done, remove it from the pan, set aside until cool, and shred. Strain the rest of the solids out of the pan gravy and discard them. Put the gravy in a dish to cool, allowing the fat to accumulate at the top. Skim the fat when cool and reserve the gravy (you should have about 1 cup).
5. In the same pan, warm 4 Tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and saute for about 3 minutes. Dice the remaining onion into 1/2-inch pieces and add them to the pan. Add the kale and crushed red pepper, stirring to combine. Put the lid on and turn the heat to low. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the kale is tender.
6. Remove the lid and add another 1 1/2 Tablespoons oil to the pan, stirring to combine. Stir in 3 Tablespoons flour, evenly coating the vegetables. Turn the heat to high, pour in the remaining broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn the heat to medium-low and stir the defatted cooking gravy and the shredded meat back into the pan. Taste and add another 1/4 teaspoon of salt if needed (depending on how salty the broth was). When it tastes delicious, turn the heat off and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature with the lid off.
Make ahead note: you can refrigerate the filling for 1-3 days before assembling the pies.
Rolling the Pastry and Finishing the Dish
7. Make an egg wash by whisking the egg with 1 Tablespoon of water in a small bowl until combined. Set aside. Assemble the baking dish(es) you will use: either six 3- or 4-inch ramekins, or six 4-inch springform pans, or one 2-quart baking dish. If your springform pans don't have a good nonstick coating, grease and flour them to be sure your pies won't stick.
Step-by-step photographs for this section are provided on the cooking class page for this recipe: People Like Pie Week 6 - Pot Pies a-Plenty.
8. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees with the oven rack in the middle position. Roll one disk of the Pâte Brisée to a 1/8-inch thickness. Cut rough rounds large enough to fit in the bottoms of the pans, with a generous inch or two hanging out over the edges of the pans. Use part of the second disk as needed to have enough for all the pans. Transfer the pastry to the pans and use your knuckles to fit the pastry snugly against the inside edges of each pan. Spoon the meat filling to the top of each pie.
9. Roll the remaining Pâte Brisée to a 1/8-inch thickness and cut more rounds large enough to fit the tops of the pans, with about 1 inch hanging over the edge. Use kitchen shears or very clean scissors to trim the bottom and top edges of the pies with a 1/2-inch overhang. Reserve and re-roll all trimmings as needed to have enough pastry for all the pies.
10. Press the edges together and roll them back toward the pan, away from the center of the pie, tucking them down against the edges of the pan. Crimp (decorate) the edges as desired.
11. Use a pastry brush to brush the egg wash over the top of the pastry, covering it evenly. Use kitchen shears or a very sharp paring knife to cut small slits into the top crust in an attractive pattern to allow the steam to vent while cooking. Place the pies on a rimmed baking sheet and slide them into the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 350 degrees and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until the crust is nicely browned and everything is bubbling on the inside.
12. Cool the pies on a rack for 5 minutes, then, if using springform pans, unmold them before serving. A jar or other tall object is convenient for this, as shown in the picture. When the outer round has been removed, slide each pie off of its base and onto a plate, and serve.