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pounce forward

Recipe: beef porcini pot pies

Spring forward. Spring forward. I rather think of it as pouncing forward. It’s a bit jarring, the darkness in the morning and the extended daylight in the evening and whoa, when I sit down to work on the computer I have one less hour than I thought I did. Jeremy is a fan of Daylight Saving Time. He said he feels like he’s in fog all winter until the clocks jump forward. He loves the stacking of extra daylight on the other end of the day. Kaweah, we discovered, does not care for Daylight Saving. We tried to coax her awake Sunday morning, but she was having none of it. She’d open one eye, look at me, and then plop her head back onto her soft, warm bed. So we let her sleep until her little appetite clock said it was time to eat.

spring wha?

We had a nice wallop of snow Friday (great powder at our local resort) and then the snow clouds gave way to bluebird skies and the mercury soared into the 50s this weekend. Jeremy and I got out to ski tour Saturday, but the backcountry snow was already turning to mashed potatoes under the power of the sun and warm air temperatures. But it was gorgeous and my brain is already transitioning to spring skiing mode.

i never get tired of the colorado high country

It’s March, and I’m starting to poke about in the corners of my freezers and pantries to see which treasures I squirreled away last summer are still around. I have heaps of roasted green chiles, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, jams, summer corn, peaches, huckleberries, pickled things… and dried porcini. Those porcini are such a labor of love. Wendy and I slog many miles in the mountains searching for these gems of the forest. Then she cleans every single mushroom (and sometimes there are a lot of them) that very evening, breaks them down, and begins dehydrating them. No small feat. To let them spoil or go to waste is to beg the tree gods to animate and smack you upside the head for being such an ungrateful douchecanoe. When I flipped the calendar to March, I set about making some beef porcini pot pies.

olive oil, red wine, salt, pepper, dried porcini, onion, potatoes, flour, rosemary, thyme, garlic, tomato paste, boneless beef short ribs

rehydrate the porcini

strain (and reserve) the porcini liquid

Porcini grow out of the ground and so there is bound to be a little bit of grit here and there. I rehydrate my porcini, then strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve and it seems to do a good job of removing any debris. The liquid must be reserved – don’t you dare throw it out – it’s called liquid gold for a reason! I squeeze as much liquid out of the mushrooms as I can and run that through the sieve too. Then I’ll rinse the mushroom pieces out in cold water and get any remaining grit out. I treat store-bought dried porcini the same way.

prepped meat, vegetables, aromatics, and porcini soaking liquid

combine the onions, potatoes, salt, pepper, and olive oil

toss and roast

I based my recipe on this one from Bon Appétit. I added potatoes and porcini and replaced pearl onions with regular onions. Next time I make this, I will add 2 cups of frozen lima beans too, because I love them and I think the pies could have benefited from more vegetables. The potatoes and onions are roasted separately and added into the filling just before assembling the pies. While the potatoes are roasting, you can get started on the pie crust dough. You want to get that going so the dough can chill for at least 2 hours. It uses half butter and half shortening (or lard) and results in one of the flakiest, well-behaved pie crusts I’ve tried.

ice water, salt, butter, shortening, flour

pulse the fat into the flour

toss the mixture with ice water

lightly knead to form a ball

wrap in plastic and chill for 2 hours

I like the idea of letting the dough chill while I’m preparing the beef filling. Makes me feel doubly productive and the two should be ready at about the same time, more or less. And if the potatoes are roasting too, then you can think of it as being triply productive. Right on.

season with salt and pepper

coat in flour

shake off excess flour

brown in oil

The original recipe calls for simmering the beef for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, but I opted for the pressure cooker which is 40 minutes of cooking time and about 20 minutes of natural release. Less time, less energy, more physics. Just remember to lower the heat enough so that the pressure is still high, but you aren’t scorching the bottom of the pressure cooker (I had a little scorching, but it was just the herbs, thank goodness).

stir the tomato past into the sautéed garlic

add red wine and herbs and reduce to half the liquid volume

pour the porcini liquid in with the beef and porcini mushrooms

The potatoes will finish roasting first, just let them rest and wait for everyone else to finish. When the beef is done, the meat should fall apart with the push of a spoon. Shred the beef with two forks or mash them roughly with a wooden spoon if you prefer large hunks of meat in your pot pie. I also take this opportunity to remove any unwanted gristle or fat. Then combine all of the filling ingredients.

roasted potatoes and onions

tender beef

put the potatoes, beef, and chopped thyme in a bowl

the filling is ready

The pot pie can be made as a single-crust pie where the filling is poured into a baking dish and the crust is set on top or as a double-crust pie. I went the double-crust route because I like the idea of a self-contained pastry full of savory deliciousness. If you want a double-crust pot pie, you will need to… DOUBLE the pie dough recipe. It just means the extra step of laying down a bottom crust. This recipe yielded enough dough for six 6-inch mini pie dishes.

press the bottom crust layer into the dish


top with upper crust and crimp the edges together

x marks the spot (actually, they are steam vents)

brush with cream and sprinkle with salt

The final product was dreamy. I really really like this pie crust recipe for the super flaky, extra crisp dough that is easy to handle. Even the cut scraps can be wadded together and rolled out again for fine results. The filling was a perfect blend of flavors from the wine, herbs, beef, and vegetables. However, I felt there was too much beef and too few vegetables for my taste, but that’s easily remedied. The recipe below is adjusted for a more even distribution of vegetables. I also missed the “sauce” that you normally get in a pot pie, which I suppose is because I had the heat a little too high on my pressure cooker which released more liquid than I wanted to boil off. I’ve addressed that in the recipe too (the added cup of water and the lowered flame as well as reduced time from 50 minutes to 40 minutes). Seriously though? This is a fantastic pot pie that kicks just about any other pot pie in the hoohoo.

one pie was enough for the two of us

and the winner is the beef porcini pot pie!

Beef Porcini Pot Pies
[print recipe]
slightly modified from Bon Appétit

double the crust recipe if you want a bottom and top crust
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsps kosher salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
1/2 cup vegetable shortening or beef lard
1/2 cup ice water

beef porcini filling
2 oz. (1 cup) dried porcini mushrooms
3 cups boiling water
2 medium yellow onions, diced
4 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
4 tbsps olive oil
kosher salt
pepper, freshly ground
2.5 lbs. boneless beef short ribs, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus more
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsps tomato paste
2 cups dry red wine
2 sprigs rosemary
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cups lima beans, frozen (optional, but I really like them)
2 tbsps fresh thyme, chopped

flaky sea salt
heavy cream, for brushing

Make the pie crust dough: For a double crust (crust on bottom and top of pie), double the recipe. Pulse the flour and salt together in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse the butter and shortening (or lard) into the flour until it resembles coarse crumbs with some tiny pea-sized pieces. Empty the contents into a large bowl and sprinkle the ice water over it while tossing with a fork. Lightly knead the dough, pressing it together to form a cohesive ball. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Make the filling: Preheat oven to 425°F. Soak the dried porcini in a bowl with 3 cups of boiling water. Cover the bowl with a plate and let sit for 30 minutes. Strain the mushroom liquid through a fine mesh sieve and reserve the liquid (you should have about 2 cups). Rinse the porcini of any debris and coarsely chop the mushrooms. Set aside. Toss the diced onions, diced potatoes, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and salt and pepper together until evenly coated. Place the vegetables in a large roasting or baking pan and roast for 40 minutes, stirring them every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Season the beef short rib pieces with salt and pepper, then coat in 1/2 cup of flour. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high flame in a large stock pot or pressure cooker (whichever you plan to cook the beef in) and brown the beef on each side (about 8-10 minutes). Do this in batches if necessary. Remove the beef from the pot to a bowl. Reduce the heat to medium and add a tablespoon of olive oil if necessary (but hopefully you have some oil remaining in the pot) and sauté the garlic for a minute until fragrant. Add the tomato paste and stir until darkened (took me about 3 minutes). Add the wine, rosemary, and thyme sprigs. Bring everything to a boil, scraping brown bits until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the porcini, beef, 2 cups of porcini liquid.

If using a pressure cooker, add another cup of water and pressure cook on high setting for 40 minutes (over a medium-high flame) and then natural release (if the liquid is too watery, just simmer uncovered until the liquid reduces and thickens). If cooking conventionally, simmer the filling uncovered for 2 1/2 to 3 hours (add more water if necessary) until the liquid is thick enough to coat a spoon. Remove the herb sprigs from the beef. Shred the beef with two forks (it should be tender enough that this is easy to do). Add the roasted potatoes and onions, lima beans (optional), and the chopped thyme.

Assemble the pot pies (or pie): Preheat oven to 375°F. Roll the pie dough out to 1/8-inch thickness. If making a double-crust pie or pies, layer the bottom of your pie or baking dish with a single layer of pie dough, pressing it against the sides and having 1/4 to 1/2 inches of overhang. Cut away any excess dough and re-use it if necessary. For both double-crust and single-crust pies, fill the vessels with beef filling until the filling is even with the lip of the dish. Cover the dish(es) with a layer of pie dough that has 1/4 to 1/2 inches of overhang. Crimp the edges of the two layers of dough together if making a double-crust pie, or tuck under and crimp the edges if making a single-crust pie. Brush the top with cream and sprinkle salt over the top. Cut steam vent slits into the top of each crust (an X should work). Set the dish(es) on a foiled-lined rimmed baking sheet to catch any drips. Bake 35-40 minutes for small pies (6-inch) or 50-60 minutes for large pies. Makes six 6-inch pies or one 3-quart baking dish “pie”.

more goodness from the use real butter archives

chicken pot hand pies chanterelle mushroom hand pies italian-style beef and porcini stew braised beef short ribs

17 nibbles at “pounce forward”

  1. Kristin says:

    Oh those look delicious! I make chicken pot pie, but have never tried beef. I will have to give this one a try! I have a nutty family who don’t like mushrooms or limas, but they can just pick them out!

  2. Janel @ Creating Tasty Stories says:

    Pot pies are one of my favorite comfort foods. A good crust makes all the difference. This recipe . . . kind of takes the indulgence factor over the top. Yum!

  3. Eva @ Eva Bakes says:

    We just made this recipe a few weeks ago, and it was amazing! The filling was definitely the best part – I think it would taste wonderful over some fresh pasta as well.

  4. Stephus @ stephsapartmentkitchen says:

    Seriously yum!! Porcini’s cost a fortune here at my local whole foods

    Did you find that your bottom crust got soggy at all? I made chicken pot pie once and found that while the top crust got nice and flaky, the bottom one was a bit disappointing. You said the filling was a bit dry, so maybe yours didn’t. Pre-baking the bottom would probably remedy that, no?

    Looks amazing, as always. :)

  5. Christine says:

    That pie looks amazing and those porcinis look miles above what I can find at my local grocery store. I bet carrots would be a good addition to this as well.

    Question for you on the pressure cooker, what do you use? I’ve been dying to buy one but am afraid to buy a dud given our already limited space.

  6. Jasmine says:

    I was wondering… why did you use heavy cream for brushing the top, instead of egg wash?

  7. jill says:

    Looks like true comfort! TPH would love the lima beans!

  8. says:

    That looks so delicious, gonna give this one a try for sure. Love your write up, i like your style. Ond what a lovely dog :)

  9. Marissa says:

    Which pressure cooker do you use? I’m on a search and well Fagor Kuhn Rykon and now Vitasomething from Germany are the top but I want one that works. 6 or 8 at…

    Always happy to see the pup. And often share your blog it really is one of the best.
    Happy cooking M

  10. Rocky Mountain Woman says:

    oh my! it’s snowing here and that looks so perfectly warm and comforting…

  11. CoffeeGrounded says:

    Now this is what I call a pot pie! Hearty, filling and beefy. (Thanks for liking Lima beans. I thought I was the only other soul on earth that treasured them… Oh, and if you can ever get your hands on the Peruvian dried Lima’s, HOARD them. OMGosh!!!!).

    I’m going to have to hand over a fist full of cents to get me some of those ‘rooms, but they definitely define Little Miss Pie, so I will. Been looking for a nice little potluck luncheon item and this sounds like the perfect little treat.

    Bless you, child. :)

  12. Samantha says:

    And what a winner! a labor of love!

  13. angelitakarmalita says:

    I wanna live in your house…omg these look amazing…

  14. Jen says:

    These look amazing, and I want to make them. Can I ask the dimensions of your pie plates? I’m on the market for some specifically to make these. Thank you!

  15. Becky says:

    Yum! Btw, your Captcha thing causes me to give up at times when I try to leave comments after several attempts fail. I love reading your posts though, so I aim give it a couple tries.

  16. jenyu says:

    Stephus – I was worried about the bottom crust getting soggy, but it baked really nicely. However, that could be because I didn’t have much “gravy” to my pot pie since I think I boiled most of the liquid off. I think you’re right that pre-baking or blind baking could prevent the soggy issue if you do have a good gravy in your filling (I really love a good gravy).

    Christine – I have a Fagor Duo 8-quart and I love it. LOVE it. It’s pretty safe too, which I know is a concern for many people. Just be sure to follow some of their basic rules like putting in enough liquid and such. I’m thinking of getting a larger one for big batches of stuff :)

    Jasmine – I’m sure you could do egg wash too, but the recipe called for heavy cream. It has a nice finish. Not glossy like an egg wash, but it worked well.

    Marissa – Fagor Duo 8 qt. It’s awesome!

    CoffeeGrounded – I don’t know much about lima beans (perhaps it’s time I learned), but I sure love eating them :)

    Jen – they are 6 inches across at the top and 4 inches at the bottom. I got them from Crate and Barrel. Any smaller and I think the crust to filling ratio would be too much. I’m tempted to try a big one except I love the idea of an individual pie :)

    Becky – oh, I hate that captcha junk too. I wish I didn’t have to have it up, but I get SO much spam as it is that without captcha, I’d spend all my time sifting spam and not writing posts ;)

  17. Jen says:

    Thank you for replying! Hope you all have a great day. :-)

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