by Chef Deb Traylor
This is Ginger and Baker’s first blog post, so it had to be something special. And this umami-bomb of a pie, filled with slow cooked beef, mushrooms and stout, is all that and more. Perfect for a winter weekend, it’ll fill the house with tantalizing smells and treat family and friends. It might take a little time to come together, but it is so worth it.
Plus, I have to be honest, I have a big time crush on meat pies. I’ve loved them all: handmade, frozen, mass-produced, even Frankenstein mashups from last night’s leftovers. Nope, no fair-weather meat pie love here.
As a child, I used to beg my mom to buy those little frozen potpies from the store. I’m pretty sure they were three for a dollar, right in line with my mom’s limited budget. I loved the crispy, crunchy top crust and the soft, gooey bottom crust. Those little frozen meat pies were my peanut butter and jelly and my gateway into a lifelong flirtation with the world of flaky pastry and mouthwatering fillings. Sigh.
I think nothing screams celebration more than a knock-your-socks-off pie. Whether sweet or savory, pies take time, and care, and a big dose of love. If someone is serving a handmade pie, you know there’s something really special happening. We all have a pie story, and each story is connected to love, family or a celebration.
In my house, my daughters have asked for pie, rather than cake, at every birthday or milestone in their lives. I’ve been known to spend extra time on a meat pie when someone I care for is having a hard day and just needs a little nudge to help remember things aren’t as bad as they seem. If food is love, then pies are those little embraces that remind us to enjoy life right now.
As soon as I take the flour container out of the pantry and begin cutting up butter, my household starts asking what kind of pie it’s going to be… but it doesn’t really matter what kind, my heart beats a little faster, my voice rises a little, and I have a bit more pep in my step. I’m making pie, and it’s a celebration!
So here’s the recipe. The pie filling takes about 30 minutes to prep and 4 hours to braise in the oven. The piecrust will benefit from overnight chilling, but if pressed for time, 2-4 hours is okay. Have fun!
Hearty Steak & Mushroom Pie w/ Parmesan Crust
- 2 lbs. chuck roast, trimmed & cut into 1-inch cubes (leave some fat)
- 4 Tbsp. flour, divided
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 oz. dried Porcini mushrooms, chopped into small pieces ( I like to roughly pulse in a mini prep/chopper)
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 bottle (400ml or 1 3/4 cups) stout (preferably LeftHand Brewery Nitro Milk Stout)
- 2 cups beef stock
- 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried
- 1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary or 1/2 tsp. dried
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 2 cups water (more if needed)
- 1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Portobello mushrooms, gills removed, roughly chopped
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 Recipe Flaky Parmesan Piecrust (see below)
- 1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
Combine 3 Tbsp. of flour with 1 tsp. each of salt and pepper and toss with beef cubes to coat. Heat olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven. Working in batches, brown the beef on all sides. Once all the meat is browned, add dried mushrooms, tomato paste, stout, beef stock, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, and Dijon. Add 2 cups water (or more) to completely cover beef. Bring to a simmer, cover and place in preheated oven for four hours.
When the four hours is almost up, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet and sauté onions until slightly golden. Add garlic and sauté for 5 more minutes, until golden brown. Remove onion/garlic from pan and set aside. Melt remaining tablespoon of butter in pan, add Portobello mushrooms and sauté until tender. Return onion/garlic mixture to the pan and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of flour.
Remove beef pan from the oven. Using a slotted spoon, transfer beef, porcini mushrooms and 1/4 cup of liquid to combine with the Portobello/onion mixture, stir and allow mixture to cool. (I like to place the pan in my sink on top of a little water and ice to speed up the cooling process.)
While beef mixture is cooling, put the Dutch oven with the remaining beef/stout liquid on the stove and reduce mixture by half over high heat. Strain the sauce and season with salt and pepper and a few squeezes of lemon juice.
To bake the pie, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray pie pan with pan release or Pam. Roll out the bottom half of Flaky Parmesan Pie Crust on a lightly floured surface to about ¼-inch thick, and line a 9-inch pie tin or an 8-inch square pan (aka brownie pan). Allow dough to hang over the edges by at least 1/2- to 3/4-inches.
Spoon the cooled beef filling into the crust and brush the edges of dough with beaten egg. Roll out the top crust to ¼-inch thick, place on top of filling and trim to fit the bottom crust. Press dough slightly and tuck excess dough under to form a nice sealed edge. Crimp, pinch, pleat or fork edges, and cut a 1-inch hole in the center of pastry. Brush pie top with beaten egg, and place pan on rimmed sheet pan (to catch the drips). Bake Pie for 30-45 minutes or until pastry is a nice golden color. Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.
To Serve: Warm reserved sauce, pour about ½ cup into center hole in crust, cut pie into sections and serve with remaining sauce. Yield: One 9-inch round double crust pie or one 8-inch square double crust pie.
Flaky Parmesan Pie Crust
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp. fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup chilled non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces*
- 3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp. ice cold water
- 1 tsp. lemon juice or vinegar
Combine flour, grated Parmesan and salt in a medium bowl. Add chilled shortening and butter and toss to completely coat the pieces with flour. Using your hands or a fork, quickly smashthe pieces of butter/shortening between your thumb and fingers to flatten each piece to the size of a dime. Gently stir the flour and butter to make sure you flattened most of the pieces.
Combine ice cold water and lemon juice (or vinegar), and drizzle 1/2 of the lemon water over cold flour mixture and stir until the dough just starts to come together or turns “shaggy”. I prefer to use my hands but a fork works nicely too. Begin adding a few more tablespoons of water at a time, stirring between each addition. Once most of the water has been used (but you have a tablespoon or two remaining) use your hands to gather the shaggy strands into a ball and knead the dough two or three times. If you have dry bits remaining in the bowl, add a little additional water. (Your dough may appear wet or dry depending the climate in your area, so you will need to go slowly and adjust accordingly.) Gather the dough in a ball, dust your counter with a tiny amount of flour, and quickly pat dough into a small flat disk. Cut dough in half and then stack one piece on top of the other, flour side down. Use the heel of your hand and press the dough down and divide once more. Cover each piece with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours in the refrigerator, but overnight is best. Yield: One 9- to 10-inch double crust pie.
*If desired, omit shortening and increase butter by ¼ cup