Thursday, January 22, 2015

Extra Flaky Beef Pot Pie

First of all, all these measurements are approximate. Tailor as you see fit, please! The explanation is lengthy because so much of this depends on your taste and judgement, it's not that scary, I promise.   Also -enjoy!!

What You'll Need: 


-1 LB Cubes of Beef (Stew Beef, Chuck Beef for Skewers)
-2 Tbsp. Butter
-Onion Powder*
-Garlic Powder
-1 Cup Red Wine


-2 Cups Flour
-Pinch of Salt
-1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
-1 Tbsp. Italian Seasoning
-1/3 Cup Shortening
-1/3 Cup Cold Butter, Cubed
-6-7 Tbsps. Ice Water

Gravy and Veggies:

-1/4 Cup Olive Oil
-1 ½ Cups Beef Broth
-1/3 Cup Flour

*You could probably slice fresh onion in for better flavor, but some guy I cook for has allergies!
**A frozen veggie blend is fine, but only steam it for the half the time so veggies don’t turn into mush. 1 bag is sufficient.

What You'll Need to Do

Lightly spray a large skillet and melt butter in it over medium high heat. When butter is bubbling, add cubes of beef that have been patted dry.

Sear beef two to three minutes, adding seasoning according to your preferences. Flip beef, searing for another couple of minutes until all sides are browned.

Transfer beef to a new skillet, adding in the cup of wine. Cover and begin simmering. The beef will be simmering as you prepare the rest of the meal, so check back occasionally to stir it so that all sides have a chance to soak in the wine. Be sure to set aside the original skillet, extra seasoning, butter, and meat drippings intact. You’ll use all that later.

While the beef is simmering, prepare your crust as it will need to chill for at least a half an hour.
For the crust, combine flour, salt, and seasonings in a bowl. With a pastry cutter, blend in butter and shortening until the mixture resembles course meal. Slowly stir in ice water until loose clumps of dough form.

Don’t add extra water! With a little TLC, those loose clumps of dough will come together and form a flaky, delicate crust. Overworking or watering the dough will make it tough, chewy, or fragile.

Here’s the fun part. Dust your hands with flour (best to rings from fingers!) and begin pushing the dough into a ball. Flip it in the bowl, and keep pressing with your palms. 

Just keep doing this until a ball has formed and there isn’t a lot of flour or crumb left. Now press the dough ball until it is about a half an inch tall. Fold it in half, turn it, and press it out again. You’re basically making rough puff (check the end of this helpful article about the technique for pictures. You don’t need the rolling pin or pastry scraper for this crust, this is the Clint Eastwood of “rough” puff.)

Motivation to get you through :)

Once you’ve folded and pressed this dough to your heart’s content (or until it starts to resist the pressing) wrap it in cling film and refrigerate at least a half an hour.

Be sure to check back on your simmering beef as you start the veggies a gravy. Place raw veggies or lightly steamed frozen veggies in the large, used skillet with remaining fat and seasonings. Lightly douse with oil and cook over medium heat. Dust the veggies and pan with a thin layer of flour, stirring the flour in to create a ragged roux.

Pour in 1 cup of the beef broth, stirring it all together. Raise heat to medium-high and allow the gravy to bubble for 3-5 minutes. Reduce heat, allowing the gravy to thicken –really thicken, it should be too dense at this point.

Pour meat, remaining wine, and remaining broth into the gravy and vegetable skillet. Stir until gravy is desired texture. If it’s too thin, sprinkle a little extra flour, raise the heat for a few minutes, then reduce to low again.

In the meantime, divide your dough into nearly equal portions (one should be just a touch bigger!) Roll the bigger dough ball out to form bottom and side crust. You’ll see big patches of yellow or white striating the dough. Those will be scrumptious flakes soon.

Place crust in a pie tin. Scoop meat and vegetables into the crust, then pour on the gravy until it nearly reaches the brim of the pan (don’t overdo it or you’ll have a mess when it boils in the oven.)
Roll out the top crust, covering and using just your fingers to seal it. Slice a few vent lines in the top and place the pie tin on a baking tray.

Pop it in oven at 375 for 15 minutes with a crust protection ring (or a foil ring.) Remove ring and raise temperature to 400. 

Bake for ten more minutes, or until crust is flaky and cooked through.

Serve with a side of roasted potatoes  : )  Yum!

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