Who doesn’t love a good pot pie? Honestly, it’s one of the standards of comfort food. Most of the time, chicken gets the spotlight. But this beef pot pie is so rich and delicious thanks to the addition of Guinness beer and a cheddar crust. This is a husband favorite for sure! To go along with these delectable beef pot pies, I share with you Trista of Cattle Empire out of Kansas!
BEEF: TRISTA OF CATTLE EMPIRE
When did you start farming? What brought you into farming?
As the third generation of rancher in our family, we grew up on the farm so I have worked for the family off and on my entire life! Officially though, I have been on the payroll since 2008 when I graduated from Kansas State University with a business degree. When I graduated I did not think I wanted to farm. Fortunately for me the poor economy brought me home where I was the manager of our dairy repair company for two years. In 2010 I went back to K-State to earn my Masters in Business Administration, Agriculture Economics and Finance with the goal of coming back to Cattle Empire as our Vice President. Now I am part of the leadership team of the largest family owned and operated beef producer in the USA with my husband, dad, uncle and cousin! Together with 400 other families we feed a one-time capacity of 250,000 head of cattle for beef.
What has been the hardest part of farming for you?
The hardest part of farming for me has been learning how to lead people and understand family dynamics. There are 5 current owners (my grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles) and 9 of us cousins – that is a lot of relatives to keep on the same page! As a young woman in agriculture there are some special challenges. Sometimes you have to prove that you are as smart and capable as a man!
What has been the most satisfying part of farming for you?
The most satisfying part of farming for me is the immense pride we feel for producing a high quality, delicious meat! There is no way anyone can bite into a perfect medium rare steak and not smile. I also enjoy knowing that we can provide incomes, benefits and a positive work environment to so many people in our rural area.
What is your favorite thing to do with a food crop you grow?
TAILGATING!! I love to go to the stadium way too early, throw a burger on the grill and sit around eating, drinking and enjoying the atmosphere with 50,000 of my best friends!
What is one message you’d like to get across to the general public about what you do?
I would like to express the dedication, thought and effort from every rancher that goes into raising America’s beef. There is so much fear mongering and politics surrounding food and farmers and cattle are portrayed to be the bad guys. I hope that people with questions or concerns about how their food and meat are raised ask a farmer. We are here to start a positive, truthful dialogue.
- Cheddar Crust
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, very cold and cut into small pieces
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- Beef Pot Pies
- 3 pounds stew meat, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 10 mushrooms, sliced
- 3 medium red potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 4 cups (2 cans) Guinness beer (or other dark stout)
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1/2 cup green peas
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar, grated
- Sherry vinegar, to taste
- 1 recipe (2 discs) Cheddar crust pie dough
- 1 large egg + 1 tablespoon water
- Cheddar Crust
- Pulse flour and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor until combined (Can also use a stand or hand mixer). Add butter and pulse about 10 seconds, mixture should resemble a coarse corn meal. Add 1/4 cup water to mixture, pulse to combine. Dough should start to form together, but not be wet or sticky. If dough is too dry, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Add cheese; pulse until combined.
- Shape dough into 2 disks, and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes or overnight.
- Beef Pot Pies
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- In a large bowl, season the beef with salt and pepper and toss in the flour. Set aside.
- In a dutch oven set over medium heat, melt the butter. Brown the beef in batches, remove from pot once done. In needed, add more butter and melt.
- Add the onions, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until onions are lightly browned and softened, about 10 minutes.
- Add the carrots, celery, mushrooms, and potatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the flour and stir well to combine.
- Pour about half of the beer into the dutch oven and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the dutch oven.
- Transfer the beef back into the dutch oven, and add the rosemary and enough beer to just cover the beef and vegetables.
- Put in the oven and cook, covered, for 1 1/2 hours.
- Remove from the oven and stir. Add the green peas. Return to the oven and cook for another hour or until meat has become tender.
- If the stew remains thin, set the pan over medium-low heat. Add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch + 1 tablespoon of water to the stew. Cook uncovered until the liquid has reduced to a sauce-like consistency.
- Stir in half of the shredded cheddar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add sherry vinegar to taste.
- Butter each ramekin. Roll out pie dough rounds until 1/8-inch thick and line each ramekin with a bottom crust.
- Ladle the stew into ramekins, dividing evenly. Sprinkle each stew with the remaining cheddar.
- Top each ramekin with a piece of pie dough. Trim excess dough leaving an inch border around the border, tuck the excess underneath itself, and crimp with a fork. Make a few slits in the center with a sharp knife to allow steam to escape when cooking.
- Whisk the egg wash together in a small bowl. Brush the tops of the pies with the egg wash.
- Set the ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until the dough has crisped up and browned.