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Adventures in food for curious cooks.

Beef and Mushroom Pot Pies

Recipes

Beef and Mushroom Pot Pies

Lynley Jones

Short ribs, mushrooms and kale in a rosemary-red wine gravy, baked into little individual pot pies.

See People Like Pie 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 (see notes)

Ingredients

Beef and Mushroom Pot Pies made in the Adventure Kitchen.

7 Tablespoons olive oil

Coarse salt

Ground black pepper

2 1/2 pounds boneless beef 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 (I used 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 egg

1 recipe (2 disks) Pâte Brisée pie crust pastry, cold

Instructions

Make the Filling

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees with the oven rack in the middle position. Meanwhile, 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 the meat pieces from the pan and set aside. Shred when cool enough to handle. 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.

Roll the Pastry and Assemble the Pies 

Visit People Like Pie for step-by-step photographs for assembling the pies.

 Beef and Mushroom Pot Pies. The pie that has been opened in front, and those behind to the left, were made in a springform pan and unmolded for serving. On the right are pies made in a ramekin with simple pastry tops.

Beef and Mushroom Pot Pies. The pie that has been opened in front, and those behind to the left, were made in a springform pan and unmolded for serving. On the right are pies made in a ramekin with simple pastry tops.

7. Make an egg wash by whisking the egg with 1 Tablespoon of water in a small bowl until combined. Assemble the baking dish(es) you will use. If making mini-pies (shown), you'll need either six 6-ounce ramekins, or six 4-inch springform pans. (See notes for more details, including options for making one large pie instead of mini-pies.) If your springform pans don't have a good nonstick coating, grease and flour them carefully to be sure your pies won't stick.

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 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.

Spooning the meat filling into a pot pie. See more detailed step-by-step photos in People Like 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 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 (see notes for how to do this.)

Notes:

You can make individual pot pies as described here, or if you'd prefer you can make one big pie instead, which is definitely easier. I've done this in a 2-quart baking dish, but a deep-dish ceramic pie plate would work nicely too.

I'm including links to individual pie ramekins and springform pans on Amazon (below) so you can nab some to make these.

 To remove the individual pies from their springform pans, you'll use the approach shown here (in the picture I'm working with a quiche, but it's the same process). The idea is actually to remove the pan from the pie, rather than the other way around! Set the pan on top of a jar or tall mug. Loosen the outer rim, then slide it down. Then you can lift the pie and slide it off its base onto a cooling rack.

To remove the individual pies from their springform pans, you'll use the approach shown here (in the picture I'm working with a quiche, but it's the same process). The idea is actually to remove the pan from the pie, rather than the other way around! Set the pan on top of a jar or tall mug. Loosen the outer rim, then slide it down. Then you can lift the pie and slide it off its base onto a cooling rack.

The springform pans allow you to unmold the pies before serving, so you're serving little free-standing pies to each guest. Really great! If you're not familiar with the unmolding process, look at the picture and read the caption for the easiest way to do it:

You can choose whether to make double-crust or single-crust pies. Double-crust means there is both a bottom and a top crust, with the meat filling nestled inside. I really like the sheer indulgence of double-crusted pies! But single-crusted pies are undoubtedly easier. You can make this recipe either way, so do whatever floats your boat.

The only thing to keep in mind is that the recipe will make fewer pies if they're single-crusted. Since the extra bottom crust is missing, there's more room for the filling, so it won't go as far. If you want to make single-crusted pies for a crowd, feel free to double the meat filling part of the recipe.

You can make the filling ahead and keep it refrigerated for 3 days, tightly covered. You could also freeze it. The best way to do this is probably in a tightly sealed zip-top bag, flattened with all the air squeezed out.