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Beef Pot Pies

2 lb stew beef
2 tbsp flour
1 medium onion
1/2 clove garlic (or 1 tsp. garlic powder)
5 tbsp vegetable oil
4 cubes, packets, or tsp. beef bouillon (MSG-free if possible)
6 cups water
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp black pepper
2-3 medium potatoes
1 cup carrots
1 cup frozen peas

Cut stew beef into 1/2-inch cubes. Dice the onion and mince the
garlic.

Heat oil in a pot large enough to contain all ingredients, including
the water. While it heats, coat beef with flour. Brown beef a
few pieces at a time, removing each piece as it browns.

Add onion and garlic to pan drippings and cook, stirring occasionally,
until the onion starts to turn transparent.

Add water and bouillon, then all other ingredients except the
vegetables. Cover and heat to boiling. Reduce heat to a slow
simmer and allow to cook around 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

While this cooks, chop potatoes and carrots into 1/4-1/2-inch
chunks. At the end of the simmering time, stir in these ingredients
and simmer 20 minutes more. Add peas and simmer 7 minutes more.
Check beef and vegetables for tenderness and simmer longer if
necessary.


Crust

2 cups flour, sifted
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup vegetable shortening (not oil)
6 tbsp. water

Sift flour and salt into a 4-quart bowl. Cut in the shortening
with a pastry cutter or two knives until reduced to pieces about
the size of peas.

Sprinkle water over the flour, one tbsp. at a time, and stir in.
Stop when dough is moist but not sticky.

Gather dough into a ball and divide into 8 pieces.


Assembling the pies:

Obtain 8 aluminum foil tart pans (they specify 5 inches in diameter
and 1 1/4 inches tall; this size doesn't seem to be available any
more). Divide the filling evenly among the pans; each pan should
end up not quite full (chunks of food can stick up a bit above the
top).

For each pie, roll out a piece of dough between two sheets of wax
paper until it just covers the top of the pan. Peel it out of the
waxed paper, place it on top of the pan, and pinch the crust around
the edges so that it adheres. Punch a few holes in the center with
a fork and lightly dust with flour.

Place each pan in a freezer bag and freeze.

Cooking a pie:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Place still-frozen pie(s) on a cookie sheet and bake 40-45 minutes
or until crust is well browned.

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