Meat Pies are Fun and Thrifty/Tasty
To an American this makes about as much sense as Beef Ice Cream...
But to my English mother the idea of a pie filled with meat (and veg and potato etc.) was not only a tasty, healthy main dish and a great way to fill up a hungry family, but also an economical way to use left-over roast or other meat. Meat pies were a comfort food in my childhood.
As an adult, I find a good meat pie is also an easy meal when I'm home but have other things to do.
This dish is a busy/thrifty person's dream... and a fun way to free-wheel with left-overs.
Try this easy-peasy use-whatcha-got recipe at your house!
Prep Time: 15-20 mintes
Total Time: less than an hour
- 2 Prepared Pie Crusts
- Precooked meat - leftover beef roast, for instance, or lean chicken
- Partially cooked vegetables, like onions, carrots, or mushrooms
- Fast cooking vegetables like frozen peas
- Gravy - thickened stock or cream sauce
- Optional: cooked potato cubes
- Good ingredients to combine?
- Try beef, mushrooms, and onions in beef gravy. Chicken, celery, carrots, and peas in chicken gravy or cream sauce. Combine lamb and beef with leeks, potatoes, and carrots. Salmon, peas, and leaks in a cream gravy is wonderful! A terrific vegetarian pie can be made by combining portobella, shitaki, and button mushrooms (saute'd with butter with a pinch of thyme, then tossed into the pie shell) plus a little smoked gouda. Put this in a single pie shell folded, and you can serve this mushroom turnover as an appetizer.
- Prep consists of cutting everything to bite size. Almost any kind of left-over meat works in a pie. (Or skip meat and make a vegetarian pie!)
- Choose complementary vegetables and cut those into tasty bites. Common vegetables found in your refrigerator bin can be tossed in at whim. Try those mini "grape" tomatoes or carrots (which seem to work with most meats). Onions - or their cousins leeks or garlic - work with most meats too. Frozen corn or peas are also easy adds. For an especially filling winter pie, add potato chunks.
- Then either saute' or microwave all your pie fillings to near doneness. Be sure to brown any raw meat or onions.
- Line a pretty oven-to-table pie dish with one pie crust.
- Put all the ingredients into your crust-lined pie dish.
- Pour in warm gravy. "Gravy" can be as simple as grocery store stock (meat or veggie) thickened with flour or cornstarch - best is real gravy made with that weekend roast. A plain white sauce can be made from milk similarly thickened... or cheat a little with a gravy mix or cream soup! A not-too-rich cheese sauce would be delicious with chicken. Add gravy to about 1/3 the pie's depth.
- Then put the second pie crust over the filling and cut a few steam slits. Slide your pie into a pre-heated 350 degree oven.
- Then ignore your pie for another 30-40 minutes as its crust browns. (Adjust timing to suit your own oven.) Use this baking time to set the table or make a salad (or to check email).
- Greet your family at the door with the appetizing scent of pie-goodness!
This Polish pottery is beautiful! It'll make even the EMPTY dish look nice on your table.
Pie birds are a fun way to let the steam out of your cooking pie (and keep the crust flaky). Kids love 'em.
Another handsome table-ready pie plate.