Recipe courtesy of Stephen Smith

Beef Pot Pie

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  • Total: 4 hr 15 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Cook: 4 hr


For the vegetables:

For the stew:

(note: for single pie use 2/3 of quantities given)


Special equipment:
Heavy fireproof casserole (10 inches across by 3 inches deep) or deep heavy soup pot 6 straight sided 4 1/2 inches round (or 1 (9 or 10-inch) tart pans with removable rings Food processor with steel blade.
  1. Procedure: Filling is made in 2 parts and then combined: the stew and the vegetables. The crust is partially baked before filling. 
  2. The vegetables: Blanche the turnips and then the carrot chunks in rapidly boiling salted water until just tender, removing the vegetables from the water and immediately cooling them under running water to stop the cooking. Microwave the peas in a 1/2 cup of water for 20 seconds or pour some of the hot blanching water over them and then drain. Mix the vegetables together. This can also be done ahead, the same day as the pie will be served or even the night before, but don't freeze the vegetables. 
  3. The stew: Cut beef into 1-inch chunks and dry thoroughly with a paper towel. Cut the bacon into 1-inch pieces and brown slowly in the casserole. Remove the bacon and set aside, and turn the heat to high. Brown the beef quickly in the bacon fat. Add olive oil if necessary. Remove the beef from the casserole and set aside with the bacon. Add the minced carrots, onions and celery and brown on medium high heat in the remaining fat. Remove the vegetables from the pot and add to the reserved beef and bacon. Add the clarified butter to the pot and sprinkle in the flour. Stirring constantly, brown the flour on medium high heat until it is a dark, nut brown. Return the bacon, beef and vegetables to the pot. Stir to coat them with the browned flour and cook for 1 minute on medium-high heat. Lower the heat, add the cayenne, wine, bouillon or stock, the tomato paste, the garlic and the herb bouquet tied in a cheesecloth. Stir to mix well and simmer for at least 3, preferably 4, hours, stirring occasionally. When done the meat should be very tender. Skim fat if necessary. Check for seasoning. Remove the meat from the gravy with a slotted spoon and set aside. Remove and discard the herb bouquet. Reserve the gravy in a separate container. The stew may be prepared to this point a 1 or 2 days ahead and kept refrigerated. It can also be frozen after preparation to be kept longer.
  4. The crust: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Process the flour, butter, shortening, and salt until mixture is like coarse cornmeal. Add the ice water and pulse processor a few times until dough begins to clump. Do not overprocess. Scrape dough onto a board, divide in half and put each half in a plastic bag. Working through the bag, quickly press the dough into a ball. Refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour. (May be frozen at this point for future use.) Roll 1 of the balls out to about 1/8-inch thick. Butter the tart pans and line with the dough. Roll the other ball of dough out and cut circular pieces about 1/8-inch larger than the individual tart pans (or 3/8-inch if using the single 9 or 10-inch pan). The circles for the top crust of the pot pie are cut larger because there will be shrinkage when it is baked. The edges can be crimped with a fork if desired. Leftover dough can be cut into decorative shapes for the top crust. 
  5. Butter pieces of aluminum foil and line the crust in the tart pans with them. Fill the foil with dried beans or rice to a depth of about 1-inch -- this will keep the crust from puffing when it is baked empty. Place the top crust circles on a cookie sheet and prick with a fork. Bake for about 10 minutes. Crust should just start to brown. The top pieces will likely take a little less time. Remove the aluminum foil and return the beans or rice to their container. Leave the tart pan rings in place. The crust can be made up to 4 hours before the dish is assembled and served. 
  6. Assembly: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. If you have made the stew and gravy ahead of time, warm them separately on the stove until they just begin to simmer. Add gravy back to the stew a little at a time until it is liquid enough but not too soupy. Stir well to mix. The proportion will vary according to the cut of meat used and the actual cooking time. Once you've made it a couple of times you'll know how you like it. If there is leftover gravy, keep it warm on the stove while you bake the pie. Mix the vegetables into the stew just before you assemble the pie. Spoon the filling mixture into the partially baked pie shell. It should fill it right to the top. There may be some filling mixture left over. This is not a bad thing. Bake for about 8 to10 minutes, until the crust starts to look quite brown at the edges and the filling is bubbling. Allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Carefully remove rings from the pans and slide the pies onto warmed plates. If there is remaining gravy, serve on the side with the pie. Garnish with chopped parsley.