When you do it right, leftovers can be better than the original meal, and these Leftover Steak & Mushroom Pies are a perfect example! They were made with a bit of my Poor Man’s Mock Prime Rib I made the other day. And since I started with most of my ingredients already cooked, I whipped up these Leftover Steak & Mushroom Pies in no time at all.
I know it probably looks like these darling little pot pies took hours to make, but thanks to the leftover roast along with a little leftover wine sauce (the wine sauce originally came from my fellow blogger, Ron. See his post at Lost in a Pot. The man is a cooking genius and tells a great story!) that I made to go with it, along with some frozen puff pastry, I had dinner on the table in no time at all.
About Leftover Steak & Mushroom Pies:
I know it sounds crazy to have these lovelies on a frugal blog, so make sure to skip to the section on saving money towards the bottom if you want to know how I pulled this meal off. I made two of my Leftover Steak & Mushroom Pies, but since most of my recipes are for four or more, I’m going to give you the amounts in the recipe for four – but even better, I’m going to show you how to customize the Leftover Steak & Mushroom Pies for the amount of steak or roast you have left, and to stretch that beef to serve your family.
And then can you just imagine the eyes lighting up when Leftover Steak & Mushroom Pies come to the table? And then the best part, tearing open the puff pastry crust and seeing the steam pour out and the beautiful beef and mushrooms just swimming in that sauce or gravy. It is absolutely tantalizing. And just dare someone to say they won’t eat leftovers! Better yet, if you have one of those in your family, don’t let them have one – just put out the cereal box or toss some bread & peanut butter on their plate while you eat this. They’ll change their mind fast enough, lol!
You can serve your Leftover Steak & Mushroom Pies on their own, but a simple green salad before or as a side would be fantastic. Maybe even a veggie, if you want, and maybe if you’ve made my Poor Man’s Mock Prime Rib you might have made the Restaurant Style Brussels with Lemon Caper Butter Sauce and have a few leftover? Those Brussels would make a perfect side. If you’re a dipper, and don’t mind the double carb of puff pastry and potatoes, French fries would be so great in the gravy! Hey, just sayin’…
Making Leftover Steak & Mushroom Pies:
In an ideal world, I like to use about 4 ounces of steak or roast, in small cubes, about 1/2″ in diameter per person for my Leftover Steak & Mushroom Pies. That’s about 3 cups of cubed steak or beef, total for four people, or about 3/4 cup per person. You’re looking at around two slices of roast about 1/2″ thick, more or less. If you’re talking steak, that’s probably going to be 2 steaks worth, so you might want to make extra just for this dish. Honestly, some people don’t ever have leftover steak, but keep this recipe in mind next time you do make steak. Then I add 8 ounces of mushrooms, whatever kind you prefer, but I use plain old buttons and about a cup and a half of gravy or sauce.
Now right away, there can be three potential issues: you don’t have quite the perfect casseroles to portion this into, you don’t have enough beef, or, depending on what you’ve made as far as steak or roast, you don’t have a gravy or sauce.
Help – if you don’t have enough beef or the right dishes for Leftover Steak & Mushroom Pies:
First of all, take a look around and see what size casseroles, ramekins or dishes you have. In a perfect world, you’d have ones that hold about a good cup or a single casserole that holds about 4 cups, then you’re home free – if you have the right amount of beef. Just skip to the recipe and make it.
The puff pastry needs to go across the top of the filling and have just a bit of space so it’s not laying directly on the filling, but you don’t want a lot of space…that would be a bummer. So you might need to stretch that filling, especially if you don’t have a full 3 cups of beef or you need more filling because your casseroles or single casserole is larger.
Here’s my no math method to figure out how much volume of filling I need to fill my individual casseroles or the one larger one: Measure the volume by filling your individual casseroles or your single casserole, leaving about 3/8ths inch of space at the top, with water. (You’ll do that 4 times for the individual sizes.) Pour that into a bowl and eyeball the level. Use a piece of tape and mark it if you want, but a good eyeball estimate is close enough if you mentally hold that measurement in your brain. On a good day, I can, on a bad day, all bets are off. The joys of getting old…
Then empty the bowl, dry it, add your meat, and cover the meat with a bit of plastic wrap. Add the mushrooms and cover them with plastic wrap. Now you know how much additional “filler” you might need to hit your measurement goal. If you have more leftover beef around or more mushrooms just hanging around, by all means, use those. If not, figure out what alternatives you do have as far as add-ins to stretch that filling so it’s just the right amount to fill your casserole/s without having too much space.
I’d recommend any stew type veggies, carrots are ideal. Celery works, too, especially with carrots, but if you’re scrounging around in the fridge, be creative. Zucchini? Maybe eggplant? Bell peppers might be a bit assertive, but can work, too. Just chop and add the veggies until you get about an inch over (you want a little extra because there will be some shrinkage as they cook) your “mark”. I almost forgot to mention that small cubes of cooked potatoes work well, too. Microwave whole potatoes them scoop them out of the shells and dice them up.
Then you’ll heat up your butter, saute your onions and mushrooms (that’s why you need the plastic wrap; it keeps the items separate from any other veggies because you’ll want to do the onions & mushrooms on their own and you won’t be sauteeing the steak at all.) Remove the mushroom/onion mix from the pan and saute the additional veggies if you need them, until just tender. Put everything right back in your bowl with the steak, sprinkle with flour and mix together, then and add your gravy or sauce and fill your ramekins or casserole dish. Let the filling cool, then add the puff pastry on top.
Help – if you don’t have any or enough gravy or sauce for Leftover Steak & Mushroom Pies:
If you don’t have enough or any gravy or sauce, you have a couple of options. If you have good drippings from cooking either your roast or steak, you can go ahead and make a gravy. If not, I recommend making the Cook’s Illustrated Recipe for Gravy from almost Nothing.
The Cook’s Illustrated Recipe for Gravy from almost Nothing is actually surprisingly good, especially if you have a decent chicken and beef broth, although I’ve even made it from powdered bullion in the past. Browning up the veggies adds depth and kind of takes away the “canned” or “commercial” taste of a store-bought broth. It never hurts to sub in a little wine for some of the broth, even a quarter cup adds just a little sumpin’ sumpin’. I do recommend using low sodium broths because as the liquid reduces, the salt amount does not!
If you have some decent leftover gravy or sauce, but just not enough, go ahead and supplement it with the Cook’s Illustrated gravy. Adding in your own gravy is only going to make it better. Just put however much of your gravy or sauce you have in a 2 cup measuring cup and pour in the Cook’s Illustrated gravy until it measures one and a half cups. Don’t worry about having too much gravy with the Cook’s Illustrated recipe. You can freeze any extra until you want to use it.
Saving Money on Leftover Steak & Mushroom Pies:
Beef, wine, puff pastry, all on a frugal blog! You might think I need I’ve gone a bit nuts! During the holidays, though, you can find all kinds of specialty items priced at a low, and just the fact that I could put this on the table proves that. Make sure to check my post on Winter Holiday Savings for items to look out for. The roast was less than most ground beef, the puff pastry a bit of a splurge (but is often on sale, unadvertised during the holidays, and you can also use pie dough, biscuits or another topping of choice) and hey, even a frugal girl needs a bottle of wine now and then! Sign up for emails alerts from your fave wine shop (or shoppe if you’re fancy) or liquor store.
Stretch the puff pastry as far as you can – you will probably get by with one sheet if your casseroles are a smaller diameter, and if you’d make this as one casserole, you can be pretty sure one sheet (half a box) will cover it. Don’t waste the scraps! I used some for decoration, but you might notice I rerolled the scraps and made Parmesan Twists with the rest of mine.
I just mushed together my scraps, rolled them out into a rough rectangle, brushed with my egg wash and grated Parmesan cheese over them. I pressed the cheese in lightly, then I used a pizza roller to cut them into 1/2″ strips, twisted the strips so they’d look like spirals, added them to the sheet tray and brushed the pastry parts that didn’t have cheese lightly with a bit more egg wash. They took about 17 minutes to brown up and get crispy. Just keep an eye on them. If you want to make a full recipe of these Parmesan Twists, roll out a sheet of puff pastry to 10″ x !2″, brush with egg wash, and use about 1 1/2 cups of grated Parmesan.
Leftover Steak & Mushroom Pies
- 3 cups cooked beef in 1/2″ cubes
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 onion, minced
- 8 ounces mushrooms, button or cremini, cleaned, the very ends of the stems trimmed off and mushrooms quartered
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/2 cups gravy or sauce
- salt and pepper to tastes
- 1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed overnight in the fridge
- 1 egg mixed with 2 teaspoons water
Melt butter in a skillet with a lid over medium-high heat Add onions and saute for a few minutes until starting to soften. Add mushroom, then 2 tablespoons of water. Cover and cook until the water is nearly gone, remove lid and continue to cook, stirring often until mushrooms start to turn golden. Add a little more water if the skillet is dry before mushrooms are picking up the color. When golden brown, add to bowl with steak. Sprinkle with the flour and toss together.
Add the gravy and stir together. Taste an adjust seasonings, adding salt or pepper if needed. Fill individual casseroles or one larger casserole, leaving about 3/8ths inch space at the top. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. when ready to bake.
Remove puff pastry from the fridge. Sprinkle countertop and rolling pin with a little flour. Lay the puff pastry down on the flour and roll large enough to top the casserole dishes or dish with puff pastry plus about 1/2″ overhang on all sides. It’s easiest to cut around the casseroles by placing them on the pastry and using a small knife to trace around each, allowing for the extra 1/2 inch.
Brush the top edge and about 1/2″ down the sides of each casserole with the egg/water mixture. Put the puff pastry on top, pushing down on the sides to adhere it to the casserole. Cut several small slits in the top.
Decorate with additional puff pastry cut-outs if desired. Brush the bottom side of the decorations with egg wash, place them on the pastry, then brush the top with the egg/water mixture.
Place casseroles on a sheet tray, lined with foil if desired, and bake until tops are golden brown and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes.
Note: most gravies will be thinner, more like a sauce, after baking.
Gravy from Almost Nothing
from Cook’s Illustrated – November 2003
- 1 small carrot, chopped into rough 1/2-inch pieces (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 small rib celery, chopped into rough 1/2-inch pieces (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 small onion, chopped into rough 1/2-inch pieces (about 3/4 cup)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 5 black peppercorns
- salt and pepper to taste
In food processor, pulse carrot until broken into rough 1/4-inch pieces, about five 1-second pulses. Add celery and onion; pulse until all vegetables are broken into 1/8-inch pieces, about five 1-second pulses.
Heat butter in large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat; when foaming subsides, add vegetables and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and well browned, about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until thoroughly browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Whisking constantly, gradually add broths; bring to boil, skimming off any foam that forms on surface. Reduce heat to medium-low and add bay leaf, thyme, and peppercorns; simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to 3 cups, 20 to 25 minutes.
Strain gravy through fine-mesh strainer into clean bowl or saucepan, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Serve hot.
- If you would like to double the recipe, use a Dutch oven to give the vegetables ample space for browning and increase the cooking times by roughly 50 percent.
- The finished gravy can be frozen. To thaw either a single or double recipe, place the gravy and 1 tablespoon of water in a saucepan over low heat and bring slowly to a simmer. The gravy may appear broken or curdled as it thaws, but a vigorous whisking will recombine it.
If you’re looking for Holiday dishes or just something fun to make all and would like to see a lot of recipes in one place, stop by and see what everyone has bought to Fiesta Friday. If you’re a blogger, please join in!