Updated: Jan 11
Everyone should have a signature, head-turning, 'You made that?!?' holiday dish, and boy is this mine. Tender, rich beef filling, savory crust, and a blanket of bacon on top- how are you not drooling yet?? This beef and bacon pie gets its royal title from my father-in-law. Known as Papa by the grandkids, he and I share a love of who-cares-if-it's-bad-for-you meals, cigars, and needlessly useless but awesome trivia facts. A few years ago I received an early Christmas present- a Game of Thrones cookbook with medieval and modern versions of important dishes in George R.R. Martin's book series. This was brand new copy that had several mysteriously pre-dog eared pages (I can take a hint). We decided to tackle this one first, really not knowing what we were getting into. Our first attempt was... okay. The beef was still a little chewy, the bacon not quite right, but it was so much fun. I've made it every Christmas since then (and once or twice a year when called upon!), so it's safe to say that I've got this down to a heart-warming science. My version is loosely based on the cookbook's version. I don't stray far from what I like, either. Maybe I have more carrots this year, maybe I make a homemade crust instead of using a frozen crust. But trust me, it's a lengthy process, and the last thing you want is to get to the end and realize maybe boneless chicken isn't as quite as yummy. So you know ahead of time that this pie is for sure a labor of love, but that's okay. Whomever you serve this pie to will fall deeply in love with you. It's more than okay to putter on this recipe over a couple of days, too. Make the filling one day, bake the bacon lattice another, put it all together and bake when you're ready. Take your time with it, enjoy the half of the wine you won't end up cooking with, and channel your inner Mother of Pies.
To watch my son make the lattice and my husband eat all the bacon, click here.
Happy eating, y'all.
Makes 2 pies
For the filling:
1 lb beef stew meat
2 tablespoons flour
1 large onion, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
2 cups root vegetables- carrot, parsnip, potatoes, etc., cubed
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons tomato paste
8 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bottle red wine (half for the stew, half for the chef)
1 cup stock
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon thyme
2 Bay leaves
1 teaspoon black pepper
You'll also need:
2 packages bacon (not thick cut), 24 total strips
2 two pie shells
1. Season beef with salt and pepper. Toss in flour.
2. In a large, heavy pot add a couple of tablespoons of high heat oil over medium-high heat Add stew meat and brown deeply, not worrying if some sticking happens
3. Add onion and celery. Season with a generous pinch of salt. Turn heat to medium and let the veggies sweat. Stir occasionally, scraping up stuck on bits, until veggies are soft (10 minutes or so).
4. Stir in tomato paste, vinegar, Worcestershire, garlic, and thyme. Cook for a couple of minutes, scraping up often, until tomato paste is brown.
5. Add wine, stock, and Bay leaves. Scrape up all stuck on bits, drop heat to medium low, and simmer for an hour. Let cool completely.
Filling can be made up to three days ahead of time or frozen for up to 3 months.
For the bacon:
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Line up six strips vertically.
2. Weave remaining strips horizontally (over then under).
3. Starting with a cold oven, bake at 325 until firm but not crisp. Let cool.
Bacon lattice can be baked a day ahead of time, but don't push it. People will eat it if given the chance.
Put the pies together:
1. Fill your pies 3/4 full with beef filling. Top will bacon lattice.
2. Using kitchen scissors, trim extra bacon, tucking into the filing as you go.
3. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes, or until center is piping hot. If the bacon browns too quickly, place a baking sheet on a rack above the pie.
To freeze pies:
1. Place a square of parchment paper over the top of your assembled pie.
2. Wrap with two tight layers of plastic wrap, gently pressing the wrap down onto the top of the pie.
3. Wrap in one layer of foil. Label, including date, and freeze.
To bake from frozen:
Unwrap completely. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Bake at 325 for an hour, or until center is bubbly. If crust and bacon begin to brown too quickly, place a baking sheet on the rack immediately above the bacon.