Beef and mushroom pot pies with thyme crust – individual mini-pies filled with delicious slow cooked beef and mushrooms in a dark ale gravy.
I am not very comfortable being in the spotlight but allow me a moment for a mini-boast: Supergolden Bakes has been shortlisted for the BHMA Gourmet Food Blog Awards. You won’t be familiar with BHMA unless you live in Greece – it is a Sunday newspaper the equivalent of the Observer in the UK. My parents read BHMA every weekend – making a special trip to the newsagents whenever we were on holiday to pick up a copy. So this is a proud moment in the blog’s history and if you feel like voting for me, please visit this link here 😉
My category (cooking) is sponsored by Amstel which just happens to be my favourite beer – no trip to Greece is complete without a few frosty glasses of Amstel. They feature heavily in most of our holiday photos in fact. My mother stocks up whenever we visit and has a few bottles waiting in the freezer so that we can properly toast our arrival. I have used Amstel Dark in this recipe enrich the delicious gravy in which the beef and mushrooms are cooked but you need to certainly save some spare bottles or cans to serve alongside these delicious pot pies.
First you will need to make the crust – it is very simple and foolproof recipe using butter, flour, salt, sugar and water. If you want to make it a tad fancier you can add thyme leaves as I have done here or replace some of the butter with shortening or cheese. The only trick to this is using cold ingredients – you can put the flour in the fridge for an hour to ensure everything is super-chilled. Pulse the butter, flour, salt and sugar together and that just enough ice-cold water for the dough to come together. Use small plunge cutters to create decorations to top your pies with.
You can make the pie filling in the oven or the slow cooker – either way it is easy to make but make sure it is cold before you make the pies otherwise your pastry top will melt. First toss your beef in a little seasoned flour –this will help thicken the sauce – and then bown in batches in a large casserole dish. Set the beef aside and deglaze the pan with a little dark ale (I used Amstel Dark) scraping any browned bits. Add the onion, garlic and celery and cook until softened. Stir in the mushrooms, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, more ale and some stock. Cook in the oven for 2 hours or in a slow cooker for 4 hours on high.
While these pot pies are a bit of a labour of love they can be prepared in advance, chilled and then baked when you need a comfort food special that’s worth waiting for. Serve with Amstel dark, a simple green salad and some fries to dip into the rich gravy, preferably in front of a fireplace. Bliss!
- For the pastry
- (you will have leftover if making pot pies)
- 315g | 11oz plain (all purpose) flour, plus more to dust
- 185g | 6.5oz cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 45g | 1.5oz vegetable shortening (or you can use all butter)
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped or use dried thyme
- ½ tsp salt
- 60ml | ¼ cup ice-cold water + 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- For the filling
- 800g | 1.6 pounds chuck (casserole) steak, cut into small cubes
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- salt and freshly ground pepper to season
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
- 2 celery sticks, finely diced
- 200g | 7oz chestnut mushrooms, stems removed, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 125ml | ½ cup beef or mushroom stock
- 125ml | ½ dark ale (I used Amstel dark) plus more to deglaze pan
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 star anise
- olive oil to fry
- small egg, lightly beaten, for egg wash
- Put the flour, sugar, salt and thyme in the bowl of a food processor and pulse briefly to combine.
- Add the cubed butter and shortening and pulse again until they are roughly blended in and mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Combine vinegar and water and add to the dough through feeding tube in a slow drizzle while pulsing. Stop when the dough forms clumps.
- You may not need to add all the water or you may need to add a touch more if dough is too crumbly. Gather the dough into a ball, divide into two sections, flatten to form two disks, cover with cling film and chill for an hour (or up to a day). You will have leftovers which you can freeze well wrapped in plastic for a month or use for another recipe.
- Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).
- Put the flour on a plate and season liberally with salt and pepper. Add the beef and toss to coat.
- Heat 2-3 tablespoons olive oil in a large casserole dish and brown the beef, in batches. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Add a generous splash of ale to deglaze the pan and scrape any browned bits.
- Add the onion, garlic and celery and cook, stirring, until softened.
- Add the mushrooms and a splash more oil if needed and cook for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the tomato paste, Worcestershire and soy sauce, the stock and ale.
- Bring to a simmer, cover and transfer to the oven (or slow cooker - see notes) to cook for 2 hours. Cool before using.
- Divide the filling between four small, deep ramekins leaving a small gap at the top.
- Roll out your pastry to 5mm thick and cut out rounds large enough to cover your pie containers. Use plunge cutters to create decorations if you wish.
- Brush the edges of the dishes with the egg wash, then place pastry lids on top.
- Use a fork to seal the edges of the pastry lids. Brush with the egg wash and pierce or cut a small hole to allow the steam to escape.
- Add the decorations if using and brush with egg wash.
- Place the pies on a baking tray and cook for 30 minutes or until the filling is bubbling and pastry golden. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.
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