- Alton Brown born (1962)
Pot Roast Potpies
For the savory pastry
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, preferably White Lily, plus more for dusting
- 2 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons ice-cold water, or just enough to hold the pastry together
For the potpies
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 pounds pot roast
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 onion, quartered and sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 stalks celery, trimmed and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
- 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 2 1/2 cups coarsely chopped tomatoes
- 2 cups beef or vegetable stock, or enough to cover the roast halfway
- 1 teaspoon red chile flakes
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 2 cups baby carrots
- 3 cups collards, stemmed and cut into 1-inch squares*
- 3 cups baby potatoes, pierced with a fork
- 1-2 tablespoons ketchup
- All-purpose flour, for dusting
- 1 egg wash (1 egg yolk, pinch of salt, and splash of water, blended)
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Pot roast, that soul-warming classic, gets all dressed up with a flaky pastry lid in this dish. Braising the meat with the vegetable aromatics of garlic, celery, tomatoes, and onion until the meat is tender and the vegetables are dissolved into the sauce ensures layers of flavor.
Fresh baby spring carrots, baby spring potatoes, and collards are added near the end so they retain their individual flavors and bright colors. A jolt of red pepper flakes provides a little flavor surprise.
For the savory pastry
Place the butter in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Remove from the freezer and let stand for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 10-12 times (or blend in a bowl with a pastry blender). Cut the butter into ¼-inch cubes and place in the bowl of the food processor. Pulse 40-50 times quickly, just until it resembles the size of very coarse sand or sea salt. (With a pastry blender it takes about the same number of times cutting the butter into the flour.)
Next, trickle the water very slowly into the pastry while pulsing/cutting. At the second the pastry begins to form a big, messy ball, stop. (If it's gummy and sticky, work 2 additional tablespoons flour into the dough.)
Lightly flour your work surface and turn out the pastry. Very quickly shape it into a 2-inch-thick round disk with your hands, scooping up any stray bits and working them into the disk. (It should feel and look like Play-Doh. Look for bits of butter peeking through the pastry — this is a good thing.)
Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or better yet, overnight.
For the potpies
Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the butter and oil. Season the roast generously on all sides with salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste. When the fat is sizzling (but not burning), add the roast to the pan.
Let brown, undisturbed, for about 5 minutes. Turn the roast and repeat on the other side. Remove the roast from the pan and set aside. Add the onion, garlic, celery, and herbes de Provence to the pan. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
Stir to coat and pick up any brown bits. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Deglaze with the red wine, stirring to pick up brown bits, and reduce by ½. Return the roast to the pan. Add the tomatoes and stock.
Reduce heat to a simmer and cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar. After about 4 hours, add the red chile flakes and parsley, stirring in. Remove the meat from the pan and allow to rest and cool. Meanwhile, using a shallow ladle, skim any excess fat off the surface.
When the meat is cool enough to handle, chop it coarsely, removing and discarding any excess fat or sinew. Return the meat to the pot and add the carrots, collards, potatoes, and ketchup. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
If too much liquid has evaporated, add enough water to thin to a stew consistency. Simmer, covered, until the vegetables are just tender, about 40 more minutes. Remove from heat, cool, and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, remove the pastry from the refrigerator. Lightly flour your work surface and press the top of the pastry 3 times with a horizontal impression of the rolling pin. Turn over and and roll out the prepped pastry until it is about ¼-inch thick.
Keep the top and bottom of the pastry lightly coated with flour at all times, and turn the pastry intermittently in quarter turns as you work. Roll gently but quickly, pushing out evenly as you go along. Cut into 6-inch rounds using a pastry cutter. Return the rounds to the refrigerator to chill for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove the stew from the refrigerator and remove any remaining fat. Arrange six to eight 8- to 10-ounce ramekins or bistro bowls on a baking sheet. Fill each with 1 ¼ cups of the stew.
Top each with a prepped round of pastry, sealing the excess pastry down around the rim of the bowl (it should be about ½-inch deep). Cut 3 slits in the top of each pastry and brush the top and sides of each lightly with egg wash. (The pies can be assembled and refrigerated for several hours before baking or go directly into the oven at this point.)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Bake until bubbly and golden, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes before serving.
*Note: You can also use kale, spinach, or arugula.