How to Bake Two Pounds of Korean Short Ribs Into a Pie
Chef Judy Joo shares the recipe for galbi steak pie from her cookbook "Korean Soul Food"
Following her graduation from the French Culinary Institute in New York with a Grand Diplôme in pastry arts, Chef Judy Joo eventually moved to London and put her craft to work in Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants, including Maze, Claridge’s, Pétrus and Boxwood Café.
The first woman to win Iron Chef UK and just the second woman to win Iron Chef period, Joo became a regular on the Food Network in the U.S. as well as on the telly in the U.K., and her take on Korean fried chicken is the stuff of legend, with tens of thousands of YouTube views.
A native of New Jersey who grew up ordering disco fries at neon-clad diners on the highway, Joo is influenced by where she grew up, and her Korean heritage but also draws inspiration from her French training and experience living overseas in Britain. And her galbi steak pie, one of the dishes in her cookbook Judy Joo’s Korean Soul Food: Authentic Dishes and Modern Twists, is all of those influences and inspirations pie-sonified.
“I’ve been eating steak pies over here in England and always found them a little bit boring,” Joo tells InsideHook. “A lot of times, they’re just full of gelatinous meat and there’s a lack of gravy. American pot pie always kind of has that gravy element to it and it’s moist. You eat it hot and it’s a bit buttery and has a richness to it, whereas the English pies are really kind of just full of meat. I thought combining both an American pot pie and the English idea of a steak pie with a very traditional Korean short rib stew would be quite clever.”
Though it surely combines some hearty classics, Joo’s galbi steak pie is its own unique dish.
“This is not traditional at all,” Joo says. “Galbi [a style of Korean short ribs] is traditional and steak pie is traditional, but a galbi steak pie is not. Being a lover of pot pie, I always thought that stuffing one with a Korean-style kind of filling would be really delicious. It’s like a steak pie, but has a different flavor profile. It’s just a little bit more complex and aromatic than a regular steak pie filling. Galbi is full of flavor and has nice marbling.”
Adding to that flavor is an ingredient that many believe is the secret component to making Thanksgiving gravy extra rich and delicious: soy sauce.
“It helps with the color and adds a kind of complexity that boosts it up a notch,” Joo says. “I think that, combined with all of the other Korean spices like ginger, garlic, sesame, gives it a totally different flavor profile. The deep umami flavors of the gravy come from all of it coming together.”
An ideal winter dish, Joo’s steak pie should be a hit with fans of baked pastries as well as Korean barbecue.
“You get your vegetables, your meat and you get a really nice, golden, tasty crust. Also, a bit of pastry,” she says. “The salty sweetness, as well as the nuttiness from the sesame oil, give it that addictive Korean barbecue quality. Combine that with a great beefiness, some vegetables and a hint of black pepper, and I think it’s a real crowd-pleaser.
To try it with your crowd at home, here’s the recipe.
Chef Judy Joo’s Galbi Steak Pie
- 1 lb, 9 oz beef short ribs cut into 1-in cubes
- 2 oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 oz butter
- Vegetable oil
- 2 medium onions, cut into 1¼ in dice
- 1 tsp ginger, grated
- 1 tsp garlic, grated
- 4 fl oz soy sauce
- 3 tbsp mirin
- 1 tbsp roasted sesame oil
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 10 fl oz beef stock
- 6½ oz baby potatoes
- 2 large carrots, peeled, halved lengthways and cut into half-moons
- 6 oz mixed mushrooms, stems removed and halved if large
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 egg
- 10 oz puff pastry
- Sea salt
- Dust the steak cubes in the flour and set them aside.
- In a heavy-based pan set over a medium-high heat, melt the butter and add a drizzle of oil. Add the onions, ginger and garlic and cook until softened and lightly golden brown.
- Place the steak in the pan and sear on all sides until browned. Drain any excess oil from the pan and add the soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, sugar and beef stock. Bring to a boil.
- Add the potatoes, carrots and mushrooms, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 1.5 hours until the meat is very tender. Add the black pepper and season with salt to taste. Allow to cool completely.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F Spoon the mixture into a 1¾ pint dolsot bowl or another ovenproof dish.
- Crack the egg in a small bowl, add a splash of water and beat well to make an egg wash.
- Roll out the puff pastry to a ⅛in thick round, about ½in wider than the bowl or dish, moisten the rim of the dish with the egg wash and place the pastry on top, sealing the edges well. Cut away any excess pastry and brush with egg wash.
- If you wish, add any decorative touches with the pastry trimmings and brush with egg wash. Bake for 1–1½ hours until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is hot.
- Serve immediately.
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