1 1/2 pounds beef, in half-inch dices (use the same beef as for pot roast, such as chuck or blade)
2 to 3 cups of vegetable oil for frying
freshly ground pepper
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 cups small portobello mushrooms, sliced in half
1/2 cup peeled shallots, finely diced
1 cup red wine
1 cup beef stock
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 bay leaf
1 egg, beaten

Pie Pastry
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
16 ounces (or 2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup cold water

Place flour and butter in an electric mixer bowl using a dough hook, and add cold water a little at a time, just until combined. (You might not need it all.) Don’t overwork the dough or completely mix in butter— this will result in a tough pie pastry. Bring dough ball together, wrap in clear wrap and place in the refrigerator until firm, about 20 minutes.

Season beef with plenty of salt and pepper, then dust in flour. Using plenty of oil, fry floured beef in small batches in a hot pan until golden, then drain the beef. Transfer beef to a pot or a casserole with a lid. Drain most of the oil from the beef pan, and add garlic, mushrooms and shallots; sauté until lightly golden in color. Add these vegetables to the pot with beef and add the bay leaf. Cover beef and vegetables with red wine and beef stock. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook with the lid on for approximately an hour and a half, or until meat is tender. (If preferred, once the liquid is up to the simmer, you can place the pot in a 350-degree oven for the same amount of time.)

Once the beef is fork tender, strain all of the contents of the pot into a bowl and remove the bay leaf. Return braising liquid to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce liquid to a thick sauce-like consistency; this will become the gravy for the pie filling. Adjust gravy seasoning with salt and pepper to taste and add fresh thyme leaves. Pour enough of the gravy over reserved meat and vegetables and place it in the refrigerator until cool.

For the pastry, assemble and roll out to a quarter-inch thick, then line a pie mold (either 8- to 12-inch or 6 individual 4-inch pans), leaving approximately an inch overhang. Repeat process for the lid as well, making sure that it’s at least an inch larger than the pie mold. Place both the pastry bottom and lid in the fridge for 20 minutes. To seal it, brush pastry in the pie shell with the beaten egg.

Fill pie shell mold with cooled braised beef, enough to create a slight domed shape. Brush edges again with egg wash and cover with the remaining pre-rolled pastry lid, sealing the edges as you would a pie. Trim the edges with a knife and brush top with egg. Finally, make an incision in the pie top to let out any excess steam. Bake in a 350-degree, preheated oven for approximately 50 minutes or until pastry is golden. Serves 4 to 6. 9

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