By SIMON WEBSTER
We all love our sweet pies filled with fruit and cream filling, but there’s a lot to be said for savory pies, too. And usually the best savory pies are personal size, and completely wrapped in a pastry you can hold onto.
This week’s recipe is a savory pie that’s the perfect on the go comfort food. Filled with warm tender beef and savory mushrooms, its delicious filling will become a favorite.
I made these pies this week because autumn mornings in East Texas can be rather cool, but once you brave the cold and get out of bed, the warm sun starts to perk things up.
Except when you’re out fishing because the water and breeze tends to keep things a bit chilly. Maybe when you hook a fish and have to reel it in you might work up a sweat – especially if you are fishing for alligator gar.
This week I am hosting fishermen who are here on a guided tour to catch alligator garr on the Trinity River. Monday’s catch turned out to be 7 foot, 2 inches and took 45 minutes to reel in. By the time that was accomplished, everybody had worked up an appetite and wanted something hearty, and warm for lunch.
I made these Steak & Mushroom Hand Pies and packed them steaming hot into the lunch basket. By the time the guys were ready to eat the pies were just the right temperature. And forget the knife and fork this pie is made to eat with your hands.
Tender beef, thick mushrooms and warm brown sauce in a soft, yet sturdy, crust that holds it all together.
The secret to the flavor is to make the beef filling, which is basically a beef stew, the day before and let it sit in the fridge over night. The flavors have a chance to develop and the sauce thickens.
Roll your pastry to a little more than 1/4 inch thick, and use it to line small pie tins. Spoon the beef filling into the center of the pie tin.
Also, cut a pastry lid to place on top. Seal and crimp the edges to make sure they’re tight. You want to make sure there are no cracks where meat sauce can leak out. After baking you can remove the pie from the tin to make it portable and for nicer presentation.
Beef and Mushroom
2 tablespoons oil
1 pound beef tips, 1 inch cubes
1/2 diced onion
8 ounces mushrooms, quartered
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup red wine
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups beef stock
Add oil to a heavy bottom saucepan and heat on high. Add beef and brown on all sides. Season with salt and pepper. Add red wine and reduce by half. Add diced onions, sliced mushrooms, clove of garlic, bay leaf and flour. Stir for 1 minute. Add the stock. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover and let simmer until meat is fork tender. This may take an hour or longer. Remove the bay leaf, chill and use as the pie filling. Pies should be baked at 350 degrees until filling is heated through and crust is golden