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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew) Pot Pie

Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew) Pot Pie 20

I don't know why it didn't occur to me sooner to make a Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew) Pot Pie. I mean, I made Ca Ri Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Curry) Pot Pie years ago so you'd figure this would already be in my radar, but nope.

My first attempt was to modify my Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew) recipe by pureeing the lemongrass and thickening the broth, but the result was too thick, not enough gravy, and the bits of lemongrass were too jarring. So I scooped the stew out of the pie shell, added water, and tried again. Still wasn't quite what I wanted.

Why was I trying to fix what wasn't broken? Remembering the beef stew with puff pastry at Hot Stuff Cafe - San Gabriel, I decided to keep the filling as much of a stew as possible. So I started over again with my usual Vietnamese beef stew recipe, but this time, halving the recipe and using only cubed beef, no bones. I did add a bit more flour than usual for a thicker gravy, but the biggest difference was the puff pastry crust. Delicious gravy-laden beef stew with flaky crust. Finally, it was perfect.

Now, the simplest thing to do is make a big batch of my Vietnamese beef stew, spoon some in individual servings and top with puff pastry. If you have some stoneware bowls, this is perfect for everyone to have their own Vietnamese beef stew pot pie. But you can also make a bigger pie portion and top it with a whole puff pastry shell like I did for Thanksgiving dinner.

Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew) Pot Pie 2

Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew) Pot Pie
Only slightly adapted from my recipe for Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew)

For 4 to 6 individual pies or 1 8-by-8-inch pie, you'll need:
1 lb beef stew meat, cubed
2 tsp annatto seeds
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 stalks lemongrass, bruised
1-inch knob ginger, cut into big slices
1 stick of cinnamon
1 star anise
1 bay leaf
1 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder
1 tsp Ca Ri Ni An Do (Vietnamese Indian Madras Curry Powder)
1 tblsp Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce)
1 tsp salt
1 tblsp tomato paste or ketchup
1 carrot, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 large potatoes, cut into 2 -inch chunks
1 large onion, cut into 2 inch chunks
Frozen puff pastry.

Prep the meat and spices before cooking.

In a large pot on medium-high heat, add a drizzle of olive oil and fry 2 tsp annatto seeds until the colors are released.

Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew) Pot Pie 3

Scoop out the seeds, leaving just the red oil behind.

Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew) Pot Pie 4

Fry the beef in the oil until the meat is mostly cooked. Add a few stalks of lemongrass and ginger slices.

Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew) Pot Pie 5

Then add a bay leaf, cinnamon stick, star anise pod, 1 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder, 1 tsp curry powder, 1 tblsp fish sauce, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tblsp tomato paste. Add 2 quarts of water.

Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew) Pot Pie 6

Add in the carrot, potato, and onion, and 1/2 cup of flour and let simmer on medium-low for about half an hour to 45 minutes. Take out the puff pastry from the freezer to soften.

Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew) Pot Pie 7

When the vegetables are just starting to get tender and the stew is thick, fish out the lemongrass, ginger and spices. Scoop the stew into individual bowls or a large pie pan.

Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew) Pot Pie 8

You can make a regular double-crust pie and spoon the stew into that.

Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew) Pot Pie 9

This was my first attempt, which was a bit too thick.

Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew) Pot Pie 10

I served the pie with Goi Bap Cai Chay (Vietnamese Vegetarian Cabbage Salad) to offset the carbs and meat.

Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew) Pot Pie 11

My second attempt with more water added to the stew to thin it out.

Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew) Pot Pie 12

But the best version, as I discovered was to spoon the stew into individual stoneware bowls.

Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew) Pot Pie 13

And top with puff pastry. You can cut the puff pastry to make perfect circles over the bowls if you wish. Or just lay them haphazardly, leaving some space for steam to rise out.

Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew) Pot Pie 14

Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes if individual bowls, or 40 minutes for a bigger pie.

Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew) Pot Pie 15

I like the small bowls because there's a greater ratio of puff pastry crust to beef stew.

Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew) Pot Pie 16

And here's the version with the bigger pie.

Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew) Pot Pie 17

A square pie pan makes it easier to lay out the square puff pastry sheet.

Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew) Pot Pie 18

Prettier crust too.

Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew) Pot Pie 19

The additional cooking time in the oven should be enough to tenderize the beef and vegetables.

Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew) Pot Pie 1

Vietnamese beef stew pot pie!

Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew) Pot Pie 21


New recipe posts served this Thanksgiving:
Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon
Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew) Pot Pie
Turkey Liver Pate with Bacon and Capers

And the leftover turkey recipes:
Bun Mang Ga Tay (Vietnamese Rice Vermicelli Noodle Soup with Bamboo Shoots and Turkey)
Chao Ga Tay (Vietnamese Rice Porridge with Turkey)
Mi Ga Tay Tiem (Vietnamese Egg Noodle Soup with Chinese 5-Spice Turkey)

1 year ago today, Fried Rice with Apples and Cubed Beef.
2 years ago today, Canh Bap Cai Bac Thao (Vietnamese Napa Cabbage Soup).
3 years ago today, Slightly Spiced (Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg) Molasses Cookies.
4 years ago today, I hung my stockings by the chimney with care.


  1. Great recipe! I still remember making your crock pot version of this stew with great success. I like the flavors in Vietnamese beef stew. Having it topped by puff pastry makes it even better!

  2. Oh, how I miss puff pastry. It looks brilliant atop your creations :-)

  3. CC,
    I know! I can't believe I didn't think of it sooner. It's not that different from beef pot pie.

    I still have a bunch in my freezer that my mom gave me. Makes great last-minute tarts too.


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