Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Beef Pot Pie

I didn't seal the edges the best and the
gravy leaked out the sides a bit.
        I love pot pies. My family loves them too. That's why anytime I have some extra time to make a meal, a pot pie is usually at the top of the list. To be perfectly honest I love pies in general. A pie that I can have for dinner that doesn't call in some guilt for having sweets as a meal, what's not to love? Well recently my wonderful wife was trying to decide on something yummy to do with some frozen stew beef that we had. Almost immediately my mouth started watering for a beef pot pie.

        I've long since abandoned the recipes that got me through the first few pies like this that I made. For me it's one of those things that I've practiced enough that I just feel my way through and change things up every time to gauge the results. This time was no different. Not only do I kind of wing it when I make a pot pie, I prefer to use my own broth or stock. I collect and strain the dripping off of any roasting that I do, provided of course that I didn't use it for gravy. I freeze it in zip-top bags in about two cup amounts. This helps to assure that I have some on hand when I need some. Also, I make my own pastry. I think I'll go more into my favorite Pastry recipe in a future post. Now on to what I did.

Prep time for pastry and pie : 30 - 45 minutes

  • 1 and 1/2 batches of your favorite two crust pie crust recipe
  • at least 1 pound of beef, chopped into chunks- I used stew beef. I've used roast, steak and stew meat, all with great result
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • pepper and seasoned salt
  • about 3 tablespoons of oil - I used extra virgin olive oil with a little vegetable oil. I've also used butter or shortening with great results.
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • about 2 cups beef broth or stock
  • 1 to 2 teaspoonfuls seasoned salt depending on how salty your broth or stock is
  • 1 to 2 cups water
  • 1 package frozen mixed vegetables - I use the one that has green beans, carrots and corn, use whatever you like
    I find it easier to roll the pastry between
    two pieces of waxed paper

    Bake for about 35 minutes at 425 F.
    Let sit for about 10 minutes.

        First make 1 and 1/2 batches of your favorite two crust pastry recipe. I do 150% of my recipe because this will make a pretty deep pie and I like to have a thicker crust. You may find that your recipe is enough as it is. I divide the pastry dough into two parts (one slightly larger than the other), wrap in plastic wrap and put into the refrigerator until I've got the filling made.

This is going to be tasty. 
        For the filling, I start after I get the pastry in the fridge to cool a little. Start by browning the beef and onion. If needed, and this will depend on how lean your meat is, I add some extra virgin olive oil. Add the liquid smoke. About half way before the beef is all the way browned, add the garlic and salt and pepper to taste. As soon as the beef is browned I transfer everything into a suitable bowl to wait until the gravy is started.

        To start the gravy heat the oil in the saucepan. After the oil is hot add the flour and mix with a whisk to get all the lumps out. Heat the mixture for at least a minute, stirring often. Then add the broth or stock and mix with the whisk to get all the lumps out. Heat to a boil, then add the Beef mixture that you saved. Again, heat to boiling. Add water until you get the consistency just a little bit thinner than you want the filling to be. Heat to boiling then turn the burner down as far as it will go. About half way through this process I preheat my oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
I know it's not pretty, I only flute the edges
when I'm taking the pie out somewhere
 people will see. It tastes the same anyway.

        At this point I roll out the pastry and line an appropriate pie plate. A 9 inch deep dish pie plate will work great. I happen to use my 9" x 9" square stoneware pan. It's a little more difficult to line the pastry into the pan but it works. As soon as you have the pie plate lined, mix the veggies into the filling and then transfer into the pastry. Now roll out and cover the pie, making sure to seal the edges well. Cut some slits into the top to vent and into the oven it goes. Place it on the middle rack and bake for about 35 minutes. Let sit for about 10 Minutes. You might not need to let it sit for a long as me because my stoneware pan keeps the heat really well.

        I usually use a spoon to serve it with. I'm not really as concerned with cutting nice slices as I am getting a good mix of crust and filling, and my family has never seemed to be bothered by it. My kids love it and eat it right up. If I am fortunate enough to have leftovers they are great reheated up the next day for lunch. Enjoy ....

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