Skip to main Content
Food and Drink

These pies are a handy way to start the new year

  • Author: Kim Sunée
    | Alaska cooking
  • Updated: January 2
  • Published January 2

Meat-filled hand pies (Photo by Kim Sunée)

I’ve been making batches of these meat-filled hand pies for the past few weeks. Everyone who tries them loves and wants the recipe, which comes from my friend Sara Foster’s latest cookbook, “Pies.” You can always use store-bought, but this particular crust gets texture from a bit of sugar; it is flaky and buttery and easy to work with, so I encourage you to make the crust. A food processor makes for quick and easy mixing. As for the filling, I’ve made this with a combo of pork and beef or pork and ground moose; a vegetarian version with mushrooms and spinach or roasted root veg is also delicious.

Smaller pies are perfect for snacking or as an appetizer; the larger ones make a full meal with a fresh green salad.

Hand pies

Recipe adapted from “Pies” by Sara Foster.

For the hand pie crust:

Makes 8 (6-inch) hand pies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

2 to 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 large egg yolk

4 to 8 tablespoons ice water

In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar, and salt together. Add butter and pulse until combined and butter is the size of peas or coarse breadcrumbs. Whisk egg yolk with 4 tablespoons cold water and slowly add to the mixture while pulsing to combine. Keep pulsing and adding 1 tablespoon water at a time (and up to 3 tablespoons more total); pulse just until dough starts to come together and form a few lumps. Be careful not to add too much water or dough will be runny and shrink. Turn dough out onto a clean surface and knead once or twice, and form into a log. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes to overnight; remove from the fridge 20 minutes before using. This can be made by hand with a mixing bowl; add the butter and quickly combine into the flour using fingers or two forks or a pastry blender.

For the pies:

Makes 8 to 10 (6-inch) hand pies

1 recipe hand pie crust (see above)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 pound ground beef or moose

1/2 pound ground pork

1 small onion, chopped

1 poblano pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped

1 jalapeño pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped

1 tablespoon low-sodium Cajun seasoning

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon ketchup

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup chicken broth

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or thyme leaves

Egg wash made with 1 egg lightly whisked with 1 tablespoon milk

1. Remove dough from fridge and divide each log into 4 to 5 equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a 6- to 7-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick. Trim edges to make a 5- to 6-inch circle and place on parchment-lined baking sheets and chill in fridge while making filling.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil and heat until sizzling. Add meat, breaking up pieces with a spoon or fork as you add it; cook and stir for about 5 minutes until just lightly browned. If desired, drain off some of the fat. Add onions, poblanos, jalapeños, Cajun seasoning, salt, black and red pepper. And cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add Worcestershire, ketchup, mustard and flour and cook about 2 minutes. Slowly stir in broth and bring to a simmer, stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer about 5 minutes until slightly thick. Remove from heat and place in a bowl to chill in fridge.

3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove baking sheets with dough rounds from fridge. Place about 2 tablespoons of filling on one side of each round, leaving ½-inch border. Brush the edges of the rounds with egg wash and fold the other side of dough over filling so that edges meet and enclose the filling. Crimp edges with a fork or fingers to seal — the egg wash will help dough seal together. Cut small vents into top of each hand pie with a paring knife or prick with a fork. Brush tops with remaining egg wash and sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating halfway through, until golden brown and bubbling. Remove from oven and cool slightly before serving.