This is the quintessential British pub lunch, perfect for offering aid and comfort in cool, damp, gloomy weather. Pair it with something fresh, light, and uncomplicated, such as Fennel-Apple Slaw, and serve more of the ale that you made the filling with.
Game plan: You can make the dough and refrigerate it for up to 1 day, or store it in the freezer for up to a month (transfer it to the fridge for thawing the day before you plan to make the pot pies).
- Yield: 4 to 6 servings
- Difficulty: Medium
- Total: About 3 hrs, plus at least 30 mins chilling time
- Active: 40 mins
For the flaky pie dough:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 8 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed
For the filling:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 to 2 1/2 pounds boneless beef short ribs, cut into 3-inch cubes
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 small yellow onions, halved, thinly sliced, then coarsely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups brown ale or lager beer
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 fresh rosemary sprig
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
To assemble and bake:
- Flour, for dusting the work surface
- 1 large egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water
- Flake salt, for sprinkling (optional)
To make the dough:
- In a food processor, stir together the flour and salt. Sprinkle the butter over the top and pulse for a few seconds, or just until the butter is slightly broken up into the flour but still in visible pieces. Evenly sprinkle the water over the flour mixture, then process just until the mixture starts to come together. If the dough looks too dry, add 1 or 2 additional tablespoons of water.
- Dump the dough onto a work surface, press it together, then divide it in half. Press each half into a disk, then place the disks in a large zipper-top plastic bag. Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes or as long as 1 day.
To make the filling:
- Heat the oven to 375°F. In a Dutch oven or heavy saucepan, warm the olive oil over high heat. Season the ribs with salt and pepper and dust them with the flour, shaking off the excess. Sear them, turning occasionally, until deep brown all over, about 15 minutes total. Transfer the short ribs to a plate.
- Add the onion, celery, and garlic to the pan, sprinkle with salt, and cook over medium heat until the vegetables are browned and softened, about 8 minutes.
- Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute, stirring, then add the ale, broth, and herb sprigs. Scrape the bottom of the pan to dislodge any browned bits.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and return the short ribs to the pan. Cover with aluminum foil and the lid and place in the oven. Cook for 1 hour. Add the carrots, stir gently, and re-cover the pan with the foil and lid. Cook until the meat is very tender, about 1 hour more.
To assemble and bake:
- While the meat is cooking, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the chilled dough to about 1/8 inch thick, large enough to cover a shallow 1-1/2-quart baking dish. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet and refrigerate until the meat has finished braising.
- Transfer the meat to a plate and break by hand into bite-size chunks. Remove and discard the herb sprigs. Skim any fat off the top of the braising liquid with a large metal spoon. Return the meat to the braising liquid, stir to combine, then transfer the entire mixture to the shallow baking dish.
- Place the chilled dough over the filling and trim, leaving at least a 1-1/2-inch overhang. Tuck the edges in to fit the baking dish and crimp decoratively with your fingers. Cut a few slits in the top of the dough to let steam escape. Brush the dough with the egg wash and sprinkle with flake salt (if using).
- Place the baking dish on a baking sheet and bake until the pie is bubbly and the crust is golden brown, about 45 minutes. Let cool for 5 or 10 minutes before serving.