for the stew
2 pounds skirt steak (steak tips), 1/4 inch dice
1 cup crimini mushrooms, 1//4 inch dice (optional)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, small dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup carrots, peeled and small dice
1/2 cup green peas, fresh or frozen
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup red wine
3 cups low sodium beef stock
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon herbs de Provence
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon corn starch, mixed with 3 tablespoons cold water
2 tablespoons heavy cream
for the potatoes
3 medium russett potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 cups half and half
8 tablespoons butter, divided
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup panko bread crumbs (optional)
Bring a small pot of water to a boil over medium heat and add the carrots. Boil for 10-12 minutes, until carrots are tender. Rinse and set carrots aside.
In a large sauté pan over medium, add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and heat to a shimmer. Once hot, add the onions and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the cimini mushrooms, if using and sauté until they are tender. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until just fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove to a prep bowl and replace pan on the burner. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat again until shimmering. Add the meat and brown (you may have to do this in batches as not to crowd the pan — you want the meat to sear, not steam. Season with salt, pepper, herbs de Provence and paprika. Once the meat is cooked, remove it from the pan to a mixing bowl as well. Deglaze the pan with the red wine, scraping the bottom of the pan for all the fond.
Return meat and onion-mushroom mixture to the pan and add beef stock and tomato paste. Bring mixture to a low simmer and cover, to let cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Test the meat for tenderness. If ready, add the corn starch slurry and bring to a rolling boil for just 30 seconds to thicken. Remove from the heat and add in the cream. Finally, stir in the cooked carrots and frozen peas. Ladle into your pie dishes and let cool to room temperature.
While the stew is cooling, make your mashed potatoes. Cook potatoes over medium heat until tender, about 15-18 minutes. In a small saucepan, heat the half-and-half, and melt 4 tablespoons of the butter. Drain potatoes and place in a mixing bowl. using your hand mixer, whip potatoes, adding the cream/butter mixer. Be careful not to let the mashed potatoes get gluely. In a small sauté pan, melt remaining butter and add the panko breadcrumbs, if using. Sauté until brown.
Preheat your oven to 400F.
To assemble, spread a healthy portion of the mashed potatoes over the stew. Sprinkle the browned panko on top. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until potatoes are browned. Let rest 10-15 minutes before serving.