Beef, Broccoli & Mushroom Pot Pies
Once again I had bought too many mushrooms at the market, but this time I sliced and froze half of them, and with the other half I decided to make something with a creamy sauce. The idea turned into beef & mushroom pot pies, I added some broccoli because somehow I’ve been finding my way back to broccoli a few months ago, and I also wanted to use my new pretty little square pie dishes.
The puff pastry roll that was still sitting in the fridge would be used to cover the pot pies, and while this was my first ever try with a lidded pie it went better than expected. I thought it would be a hassle to handle the pastry, get it to sit properly on the pie dishes, but it all worked out well. Of course, I would have preferred to have something elaborate on top, like a pattern of some kind instead of just stabbing a knife into the pastry before baking for the air to vent. Then again, I guess I knew beforehand that would have been too much fuss for me.
The night before I’d bought some beef tenderloin for something else altogether, but it also ended up in these pot pies. I wanted to add fresh herbs and used fresh thyme, of which I had a pot, left over from the pithivier I made a couple of weeks ago. The thyme should have fresh shoots, not the harder older sprigs.
These are really quickly prepared, a bit of chopping, a bit of cooking, and then baking for 15 minutes. In the recipe below you won’t find many measurements, I made everything up as I went along. Seasoning is a matter of taste, I added salt, some course pepper, and a little freshly grated nutmeg. While it was all bubbling in cream, I needed to add some cornflour to get it to a thicker consistency.
I’m really pleased with the result: the meat was tender, the mushrooms had been cut pie-style so they weren’t floppy, the broccoli was nicely crunchy because I had just blanched it before adding it to the pan, and the conservative seasoning was just right. I intend to make this again, it seems just so fitting for autumn. And maybe I’ll give this more elaborate pastry topping thing a go…
Beef, Broccoli & Mushroom Pot Pies
2 small shallots, peeled + finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled + finely chopped
approx. 250 g mushrooms, cut pie-style
2 slices beef tenderloin, cut into small cubes
approx 6 broccoli florets, each cut into tiny florets
handful of fresh new thyme sprigs (i.e. the soft new tops, not the harder sprigs of an older plant)
½ roll of puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
Bring water with 1 tbsp salt to the boil and blanch broccoli florets for 5 minutes. Strain in colander and set aside.
Heat a non-stick frying pan, add olive oil, and sauté onions and garlic. Add beef, and once it starts to take on colour, add the mushrooms and the thyme. Fry for about 5 minutes, then season with salt and pepper. Add enough cream so the vegetables are almost completely covered, then add 10 rasps of nutmeg and stir well. Once the cream starts bubbling, add about 3 tsp cornflour to thicken it, then add the broccoli florets. [If the cream is too thin, add more cornflour.] Let bubble for a further 5 minutes, then transfer to two small pie dishes.
Heat oven to 180°C / 350 °F (fan oven).
Cut puff pastry to size so it will fit over your pie dishes with an overlap of about 1½ cm / ½ in overhang. Brush with beaten egg, then prick with a sharp knife in several places to create air vents.
Bake on middle shelf for 15 minutes and serve immediately.