On saturday we had mini chicken pot pies and since I had stewing beef on hand and leftover pie dough I was in the mood to try some experimenting in the kitchen.
This is not a beef stew with a bit of crust over top, instead I started as I always do with grandma's traditional German gravy recipe.
-1 lb stewing beef, at room temperature (let it stand out about an hour or until it's no longer cold to the touch)
1/4-1/2 cup butter
2 bay leaves
Heat large pot or dutch oven on high heat, add butter and once it is sizzling add meat in one even layer on the bottom. Now just step away and let it do it's thing. From time to time come back and scrape the bottom of the pot with a metal spoon and turn the meat.
Turn heat lower if needed but this process takes some time and the water from the meat should not come out and cloud the pot, if it does it will come out in small amounts and dry up then begin to brown again.
Meat should be browned well all over. At this point I season with salt, and add bay leaves and cover with water.
Cook on low for about 3 hours or until meat is fork tender.
Usually I thicken it and serve with mashed potaotes or poutine.. or potato pancakes and sauerkraut but today I left it as watery meat juice/stock and used this as my pot pie base.
If you're doing this the day before then that is much more ideal, just cool it and put it all in the fridge.
When ready to make the pot pies you will strain the cooked meat from the stock and set aside.
Chop some mushrooms (creminis' are nice) about 4 large ones chopped in a large dice)
Sautee in 2-3 tbsp olive oil on high heat and once they are nice and "Brown" salt them slightly and set aside in a bowl. Add 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce to mushrooms.
If you want to add potato then it's up to you, I didnt' but you would do what I did in the chicken pot pie, peeling a few tiny potatoes and cubing then boiling in salted water and straining.
To make the sauce:
Mix butter and flour in the pot used to brown the mushrooms. This is going to be a super dark rich roux, almost like making gumbo so I set this on low and let it really take on some colour.
Set the beef stock near by, and when the roux is nice and brown bring up the heat to medium high and begin to add stock and whisk to thicken. If you need some water from the kettle go ahead and add that in. Taste for salt and season to taste.
Set this sauce aside when it is thick like a gravy and coats the back of a spoon.
Heat the oven to 400.
Roll out the dough and cut into circles. Set aside in fridge to stay cool.
Divide stewed beef cubes among ramikins and then top with mushroom mixture. Ladel enough sauce over top (about 1/2 cup or so)
I added 1 tbsp dollop of sour cream on top of mine, and then proceeded to cover with dough and brush with beaten egg.
Bake for about 20 minutes with ramikins on a foil lined tray and broil until nice and brown (staying close to the oven because it takes only a few seconds!)
I hope this inspires you to also make some fun little pot pies!