These Mini Beef & Stout Pot Pies with a flaky blue cheese crust are delicious comfort food for the late winter season!
With St. Patrick's Day and Easter so close together this year, each day is a toss-up between making late-season comfort food and getting a head-start on trying out new Spring recipes. For this recipe, I opted to stick with late winter comfort food in the form of these Beef & Stout Pot Pies.
These pot pies combine tender beef cubes with an assortment of veggies, which are then simmered in beef and Irish stout broth to form a super tasty stew. The flaky crust combines blue cheese and puff pastry for a unique topper.
You'll start this recipe by searing the beef for the stew. I recommend using a cut of beef that's fairly low in fat; I often use a pre-cubed stew meat from Whole Foods. You can really use anything you like. You can leave it in large cubes when you sear it, as it's easier to cut once partially cooked. Don't worry if it's not cooked through after searing, it's going into the stew almost right away where it will finish cooking. Once the beef is seared, the rest of the ingredients go into the pot and start their slow simmer. The stew portion of this needs to simmer for a bit, and then cool off a bit, which means this is a good make-ahead recipe. You can make the stew earlier in the day, or even the day before, and finish it up with the crust just before you are ready to eat.
Puff pastry is really fun and easy to cook with. It is one of those things you are much better off buying than making. My preference is Dufour, which is an all-butter puff pastry, however, any type will work just fine for this recipe. In order to incorporate the blue cheese you need to roll the puff pastry a little thinner, sprinkle it with blue cheese and then fold over to make a double layer. It's best to freeze puff pastry for a few minutes before baking.
For recipes that only call for a little bit of tomato paste, look for a tube of the concentrated type - most grocery stores carry it these days. This lets you use just a tablespoon or two without opening a whole can, and you can store the rest of the tube in the refrigerator for quite a while!
I recommend using these mini gratin pans for this dish. They are a good investment with many uses, especially if you cook for two often, and they clean up very nicely. You'll end up with two pretty good-sized servings if you use the mini gratin pans or something similar. You can also turn this into three or four pot pies by using mini pie plates or larger ramekins. Just divide the stew mixture evenly amongst the dishes you are using and cut the puff pastry crust so it hangs over the edge of each dish. You'll need to adjust the cooking time a bit if you change the type of dish, however since what you are really doing is puffing the pastry, it should not vary by much.
If you want to save a pot pie for lunch or dinner later in the week, cook it first, then cover and refrigerate. Reheat in a 250°F oven for 20-30 minutes, until the desired temperature is reached. This will keep the crust nice and flaky!
things you may want for this recipe
Mini Gratin Pans – I love these little pans! They are great for individual frittatas, pasta dishes or for breaking servings of things like this dip into multiples so you can place at different spots on your party buffet or serve at different times without too much additional effort.
Tomato Paste in a tube – Buying tomato paste in a tube makes it much easier when a recipe only calls for a small amount. This is a great brand, however, you can probably find an option at your grocery store too!
Dufour Puff Pastry - While another brand will work, I'd definitely recommend using Dufour if you can find it! It's an all-butter version and just a little bit flakier than other options!
Mini Beef & Stout Pot Pies
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ pound lean beef, cut into about 2" cubes
- ½ cup chopped yellow onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 ½ cups red potatoes, about ⅓ pound, cut into small cubes
- ½ cup peeled and chopped carrots
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 ½ cups beef broth
- ½ cups Irish stout or other stout beer
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ½ cup chopped baby bella mushrooms
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon coarse ground pepper
- ½ teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 1 14 ounce package puff pastry, this should be 1 sheet, defrosted
- ½ cup crumbled blue cheese
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon water
- Heat oil in a 5 quart or larger dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add beef and brown for 1 minute per side (4 minutes total). Remove beef from pan and chop into bite-sized pieces.
- Add onion and garlic to the pan and sauté for 1 minute. Add a small amount of the beef broth and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add the carrots, potatoes, thyme and rosemary. Cook for an additional minute until the herbs are fragrant.
- Add the remaining broth, beer, mushrooms and tomato paste. Stir to incorporate.
- Sprinkle the beef with salt, pepper, cornstarch and flour. Return the beef to the pot.
- Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool while you assemble the crust.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. While the stew is cooling a bit, cut the puff pastry into two even pieces and roll each lightly with a rolling pin. Sprinkle one half of each piece with blue cheese. Fold the unsprinkled side over the sprinkled side. Lightly roll each piece with a rolling pin again. Place the puff pastry sheets back into the freezer until you are ready to top the pot pies.
- Divide the stew mixture between to mini gratin or other small oven-safe pans. Each pan should be able to hold 8 - 10 ounces of liquid. When the oven is heated remove the puff pastry from the freezer and cover each pan with a sheet of puff pastry.
- Place pans on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 35 - 45 minutes, until the puff pastry is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool slightly before serving.
- If you want to save one of the pot pies for another time, cover tightly with aluminum foil after it cools and refrigerate. When you are ready to reheat it place in a 250° oven for 20-30 minutes until the desried temperature is reached.
- I've made this recipe with two different brands of puff pastry and the cooking time does vary a bit by brand so keep a close eye on it while baking. You want a nicely puffed, golden brown pastry crust.