I am feeling the need for comfort food, stews, meat pies, and thick soups. In that vein of wanting, I recently made a beef pie. This was my mom’s recipe and she made it exactly the same every time it was served but I didn’t have her exact recipe. I knew how it should taste and I reconstructed it to the best of my taste buds and skills. I did something a tiny bit crazy; I added carrots for flavor and color. Mom is gone, almost three months as of now. I am not sure but think she would have enjoyed my modern version complete with gluten free crust and carrot slices.
It has potatoes and onions in it plus the big carrot I cut into half rounds. The topping is a flaky pie crust. It is like a meat stew cooked on the stove top and put together with the crust and just baked long enough to make a perfectly browned and delicious top crust. I bought a big sirloin steak and cut it in one-inch strips and then into 1-inch cubes for uniform pieces of meat. You can buy precut stew meat if you like. I have to say I loved how it was more uniform when I cut the cubes myself. Better quality control in my opinion.
Mom’s Beef Pie
1 lb. top sirloin beef cut in 1-inch cubes
1/3 cup white rice flour (if making it for non-celiac just use all purpose flour)
1 Tsp. paprika
½ Tsp. sea salt
¼ Tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
1-2 Tbsp divided mild olive oil or other frying oil
1 large onion chopped coarsely
2 beef bullion cubes (Herb Ox are gf)
1.5 lbs. of russet potatoes cut into ¾ inch dice
1 cup of carrots; cut in ¼ inch half rounds
Directions: Mix the flour and spices on a plate or sheet of wax paper, roll the beef cubes in the flour blend until coated. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in large frying pan. Add half the cubes spaced out so they will properly brown; turn as the side browns and remove once browned on 3 sides, brown rest of beef cubes same say; add more oil as necessary. Add back all cubes, add ¼ onion bits and enough water to reach the top of the cubes in a single layer. Add beef bullion cubes; cook 30 min on low so the mixture bubbles adding more water as it evaporates, do not let it run really low on water.
Meanwhile, peel and dice the potatoes, cut up a big carrot or 2 medium carrots. Put potatoes in salted cold water. After the beef has cooked in its broth for at least 15-20 minutes start the potatoes in their own saucepan covered with salted water and add the rest of the onion and the carrot pieces to the beef simmering in the pan. The make the crust and refrigerate it for 5-10 minutes while you wait for the potatoes to be done.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. When potatoes are mostly done (use a fork to test) drain the potatoes, you should save the potato water for adding as needed to thin the gravy or for other cooking. Once the meat is tender and carrots close to cooked add the cooked potatoes to the mixture; taste and salt if needed and add potato water to make the sauce not too thick (or too thin). Roll out the pie crust to fit the top of your casserole. Pour the hot beef mixture into a low oval baking dish or whatever you plan to make your pie in. Add the crust on top, crimping the edges and cutting a few gashes to allow steam to escape. Bake in hot oven, center shelf until the crust is light brown; 20-25 minutes. Don’t let it get really brown; a nice golden brown is perfect. Let rest 5-10 minutes before cutting into it. Enjoy!
1 c plus 2 Tbsp. brown rice flour mix (King Arthur basic gf blend)
2 Tbsp. sweet rice flour
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
½ tsp xanthan gum
¼ tsp salt
6 Tbsp. cold butter cut into 6 chunks
1 lg egg
2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice
Mix dry crust ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer. Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal. Add egg and lemon juice. Mix briefly until it comes together into big chunks. Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 10-15 minutes while the beef filling cooks and you heat the oven.