10-inch cast iron skillet or casserole dish
4 tablespoons lard or olive oil, divided, plus more for greasing
1 ½ pounds boneless short ribs, left whole
½ teaspoon cracked pepper
2 slices of bacon cut into ¼ inch slices
1 medium leek, cleaned, halved, and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons bourbon or cognac
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
½ pound button mushrooms, thinly sliced
Puff pastry, homemade or frozen
How To Make
Preheat oven to 425º F. Grease the skillet with lard. In a large bowl, toss short ribs with flour, salt and pepper. Shake off the excess. Heat 3 tablespoons of lard or oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches to avoid overcrowding and steaming, brown beef, turning occasionally to get two sides. The reason for not cutting the meat into cubes or browning all sides is to retain juicy meat and still achieve a decent Maillard reaction, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet.
In the same Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until nicely browned and crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet with the beef. Add onion and leek to the pot. Cook over medium heat till onions are translucent and gaining an amber color. Be careful not to brown the onion, allowing it to slowly carmelize the sugars from the inside out. Add garlic, stirring, cook for one minute. Make space in the center of the pot and add the tomato paste, spreading it across the bottom of the pot for three minutes to caramelize.
Add bourbon or cognac, thyme, bay leaves, cayenne pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and red wine. Scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot and reduce by half. Meanwhile, cut the short ribs into 1-inch cubes.
Return short ribs to the pot with the bacon. Add the beef broth. Bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper. Cover with a tightly fitting lid and place in the oven; braise for two hours.
Peel pearl onions. Place pearl onions in a shallow pan, cover halfway with water, add the butter. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until water has evaporated. Towards the end, the onions will start to caramelize. At this point, roll the onions in the pan until they gain an amber caramel color. Remove from heat, transfer to a baking sheet.
Add the remaining tablespoon of lard or oil to the pan, heat over medium-high heat. Add sliced mushrooms and coat in the fat. Without moving, let the mushrooms sit and begin to release their liquid. Begin to stir when most liquid has been released and evaporated. Add lemon juice, season with salt, and set aside.
Remove short ribs from the oven, uncover, add the mushrooms and pearl onions, and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, roll out puff pastry on a lightly floured surface until 4-inches larger than your cast iron skillet. Place skillet on a baking sheet to catch any goodness that may bubble over in the oven. Fill the skillet with stew. Cover with puff pastry, crimping around the edges, either pushed in or allowed to drape over. Cut a vent in the shape of an X in the center of the puff pastry. Brush pastry with beaten egg.
Bake until pastry crust is a deep golden brown, about 35 minutes. Let the pot pie cool slightly, then serve.