Martha Stewart Living (October 2011)
See, when we first saw these adorable Braised Short Rib, Stout and Potato Potpies parading across the cover of this month's Martha Stewart Living, it was love at first sight. Short ribs braised in Guinness, baked into mini pies and crowned with a layer of crispy golden potatoes? Swoon!
Sadly, though, our relationship was doomed from the start.
The prep here is very straightforward, if a little time-consuming. The short ribs get a standard braise before you shred the meat and divide it into mini pie plates or ramekins. Topped with potato slices and baked some more, it's a dish that's not too complicated.
We should note that the first time we made these potpies, we layered the potatoes close in, which is the first photo you see. The second time we made these, we were sure to widen the layers so that the outside edge of the potato slices overlapped with the outside edge of the ramekins. It's not much of distinction, but makes a big difference in the way the potpies look.
But the final result is a bit of a misfire. The pies are just so greasy! Nowhere in the recipe are you instructed to skim fat from the meat or anything. (Maybe we should have known to do that anyway?) Short ribs are fatty cuts, which can make them incredibly flavorful. Here, though, it also makes the pies gut-bustingly greasy.
And with no vegetables of any kind (save for the cipollini onions) to break up all that meaty heaviness, it's like a meat overload.
We think these pies could be salvageable, and they're such a mouth-watering idea that we think they'd be worth another shot. But they'd need a few alterations.
Here's how we'd start:
- Double the rosemary, chop it finely and add it one step before the recipe says, when you're sautéing the garlic with the yellow onion. We could barely detect the rosemary, and we think that adding it with the onion (rather than in the liquid stout) would help bring out the flavor.
- Skim the fat! Start by trimming fat from the short ribs prior to browning them. Then, after they've braised for the two and a half hours, skim the fat off the surface of the liquid before adding the cipollini onions.
- Add a green vegetable. Our pick would be green peas -- toss in 2 cups of frozen green peas when you add the cipollini onions.
We think those tweaks would go a long way toward improving these pies.
What else do you think might help rescue these? Let us know in the comments!
Now if you'll excuse us, we have to go find a different song, to get "You're the One That I Want" out of our heads.
Prep time: 30 minutes | Total time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Yield: Makes eight mini potpies or one 12-inch potpie. Serves 8.
For the filling:
4 pounds boneless short ribs, cut into 2-inch pieces
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons safflower oil
1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 bottles (12 ounces) stout, preferably Guinness (3 cups)
2 rosemary sprigs
1 pound cipollini onions, peeled
For the topping:
6 medium russet potatoes (3 1/2 pounds)
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Make the filling: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Season short ribs with salt and pepper. Dredge short ribs in flour, coating all sides. Transfer to a large plate. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Working in batches, brown short ribs, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a large plate using kitchen tongs.
Reduce heat to medium. Add yellow onion to Dutch oven, and cook until golden, about 8 minutes. Add garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Return meat to Dutch oven. Add stout and rosemary. Bring to a simmer. Cover, and transfer to oven. Bake for 2 1/2 hours.
Remove Dutch oven from oven, and add cipollini onions. Braise until meat is tender and onions are cooked through, about 30 minutes. Shred meat using 2 forks. Season with salt and pepper. Divide filling among eight mini (1-cup) pie plates, or transfer to a 12-inch (8-cup) gratin dish.
Make the topping: Raise oven temperature to 375 degrees. Peel potatoes, and very thinly slice each (preferably on a mandoline). Arrange potatoes over meat to form tight concentric circles, working around the edge and overlapping each potato by three-quarters. Brush with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until topping is golden and filling is bubbling, about 45 minutes for mini potpies (1 hour for large potpie).