Beef Short Rib Pies

Words: Beer Country

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Beef Short Rib Pies

In this day and age, it’s hard to find a good pie. They either have too much gravy or not enough meat. We prefer a pie that’s wall to pastry wall full of ridiculously tender meat with just a smidgen of onions for jammy effect. It takes a little longer than popping down to the local garage, but the results are well worth the effort. In this version we opted to use a Lancashire Hot Pot-style topping of crispy potatoes.

Serves: 6-8
Difficulty: moderate
Prep time: 1 1/2 hours
Cooking time: 5 hours

Beef Short Rib Filling
oil for frying
2 kg beef short rib
7 onions, sliced thick
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
small handful of chopped rosemary
small handful of chopped thyme
500 ml beer
2 Tbsp liquid beef stock
250 g portobello mushrooms

450 g flour
1 Tbsp salt
200 ml water
180 g butter

Potato Topping
6-8 baby potatoes, thinly sliced (if you are doing one big pie then use as many as necessary – a mandolin slicer works brilliantly here for even slices)

Beef Short Rib Filling

Preheat the oven to 160 ºC.

In a large frying pan, over a medium high heat, add a splash of oil and fry the onions until they just begin to colour but are still firm. Depending on the size your frying pan you may have to do this in batches. Once the  onions are done, transfer into a large dutch oven or casserole pot. Throw in the garlic and herbs and stir to combine.

Season the ribs well with salt and pepper. In a large frying pan, over a high heat, add a splash of oil and brown the ribs. This step is crucial for flavour, so take your time and get a good seared crust on all sides of the beef. Again, depending on the size of your frying pan, you may have to do this is stages. Be careful not to crowd the pan.

Once all the meat is browned, arrange it on top of the onions. Add the stock and beer. The liquid should be almost covering the meat. Add a little water if necessary. Place the pot into the oven and braise for four hours. At the four hour mark remove the pot and test the meat. It should be falling off the bone. Increase the oven temperature to 180 ºC.

Carefully remove all of the meat and place onto a tray. Using a pair of tongs strip the meat off the bones and pull it apart. Once you have a pile of pulled short rib, add it back to the pot. Stir to combine.

In a large frying pan fry the mushrooms in a little butter and then toss them into the meat mix. The filling is now ready and can be set aside until ready to use.


Start by mixing the flour and salt in a large bowl. Bring the water and butter to a boil in a small saucepan. Make a well in centre of the flour and toss the melted, hot butter and water mixture into the middle. Mix with a spoon until it starts to come together. When it comes together as a nice ball of dough it’s done. Let the pastry cool and rest for a few minutes and then you’re ready to roll.

To assemble

Dust the rolling surface with flour and then roll the dough out to about the thickness of a R5 coin. From here you’re going to have to take some creative licence. If you’re making individual pies in pie moulds then cut enough pastry to fit your mould and be sure to leave a little lip at the top. Alternatively, if you are making one big pie then cut the pastry to the shape of your pie dish and leave a little lip at the top.

When the pie mix has cooled slightly, spoon into the pie casing. Avoid taking too much liquid from the pot, i.e. the meat mixture should not be too wet. Fill the pie/s until just under the pastry lip. Top the pie by layering the sliced potatoes in a circular pattern like the scales of a fish. Try to be as neat as possible. Brush the potato and the edges of the pastry with melted butter then pop it into the oven. Bake for 40-50 minutes until the top potato and pastry lip are golden brown.

Serve with your favourite condiment like a good chutney, Worcestershire sauce or onion marmalade. | Facebook

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