Cooking meat in a rich red wine sauce is classic French and is equally common in French Louisiana. Cajun hunting camp cooks love to braise tough cuts of wild game and infuse the pot with wine and stock. The technique works with any number of meats and around Acadiana, beef is a natural. Boeuf bourguignon, a classic dish of the French countryside or even a traditional New Orleans beef daube are both just at home as a Cajun recipe seen along the rural byways of Louisiana like my Beef and Mushroom Pot Pie.
My Cajun recipe take on this dish is a bit untraditional in the sense that it is baked in a pie–a pot pie to be exact. I know. I know. But wait. Before you quit reading, let me just say that I’m not talking about those horrid little freezer burnt Swanson pot pies in the aluminum tins that your mom shoved in front of you when you were old enough to know better. Those pitiful pastries gave pot pies a black eye, and I aim to rectify the damage with this tasty Cajun recipe for Beef and Mushroom Pot Pie.
My Beef and Mushroom Pot Pie features sirloin tips, pan-seared in hog jowl drippings and deglazed with aged balsamic vinegar. Portobellos, herbs, and vegetables join in the pot, and after a long simmer in red wine and beef stock, this thick and hearty filling is covered with pie pastry and baked to a golden brown. The saucy wine-spiked meat is literally fork-tender and falling apart nestled inside the flaky crust. This Beef and Mushroom Pot Pie recipe will redefine the pot pie experience for you.
- 2 pounds sirloin tips, cut into bite-size chunks
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 4 strips smoked hog jowl or smoked bacon
- 2 cups diced yellow onion
- 2 cups chopped portobello mushrooms
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- ½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 2 cups beef stock
- 8 pearl onions, parboiled
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 2 (9-inch) frozen ready-made pie crusts, thawed
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Remove the beef from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the strips of smoked jowl meat. Fry until it renders its fat and becomes crispy. Remove the meat and pour off all but one tablespoon of grease.
- Add the beef to the pan and cook over medium-high heat until browned on all sides. Add the onions, mushrooms, and celery. Cook until the onions turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and deglaze the pan scraping up all the bits. Add the carrots, garlic, sprigs of thyme and parsley. Cook for 5 minutes and add the wine. Bring the pan to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook until the wine reduces by one-half and then add the beef stock. Add the pearl onions and the crispy jowl pieces, cover the pan and let simmer for 30 minutes.
- Uncover the pan and stir. Add the peas and remove the stems from the thyme. Mix the cornstarch with cold water in a bowl. Stir to combine and then add the slurry to the pan. Increase the heat and stir until the mixture comes to a boil and begins to thicken. Continue cooking until it reaches a thick pie filling consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let cool to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF. In four individual ovenproof dishes or ramekins, add the beef and mushroom mixture. Roll out the two pie crusts and cut into sections to fit over your dishes with enough to tuck over the side and seal the edges. Place each of them over the pie filling. Use any leftover dough to cut out decorative leaves. Cut several holes in the dough to vent the steam. Brush the top with the beaten egg. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.
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