Saturday, September 8, 2012

In the Kitchen: Meat and Potato Pie

I love pie. Fruit pies, cream pies, meat pies---all delicious.  I really, really love savory pies. They are the perfect comfort food. Filling, tasty, warm, and so homey. 

So, today I have a recipe for a meat and potato pie from my handy dandy Harry Potter cookbook. I promise it is easy to make (some meat pies can be a bit more laborious). If you have never made or even tasted a meat pie, this is a great beginner recipe.

Let's start with the crust, because a crust is really what makes a pie a pie. Store bought crust is over processed and flavorless--so don't bother with it. Making your own crust is super easy. I am not sure why crust has this bad, scary aura surrounding it as if only a master chef can make it, because crust is easy. Trust me, anyone can do it.

My top rule is: only use BUTTER. Don't bother with that shortening gloop. Cut to the chase and use the good stuff. Butter makes for really flaky, rich, eat-it-all-by-it-self crusts.

Next, make your crust by hand, you don't have to, but I prefer it. I know some use a food processor (I don't have one) or their Kitchen-Aid and those work great, but I like using my hands and feeling all old-fashioned and all that.

Third, use cold butter and cold water and chill your dough before rolling it out (most recipes want  2 hours--but if you are running out of time chill for at least a 1/2 hour).

Here is the recipe:

Remember, this crust is for a savory pie, so there is not any sugar in it. Most fruit pies have at least a tablespoon of sugar or two in crust. You could use this for a fruit pie, but I would recommend one with a bit of sugar in it for a sweet pie.
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, chilled and cut into pieces
1/2 to 3/4 cup cold water, I usually put a few ice cubes in there, since my tap water is not super cold

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Scatter the butter pieces and mix in with your hands (like you would for scones). Mix with hands until the mixture resembles coarse yellow meal, breaking the butter up with your hands, but not melting it. Sprinkle half a cup of cold water over mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until dough sticks together. If necessary, add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Use your hands to form the dough into a ball making sure to get al the dry stuff mixed in. Divide the dough in half, form into disks (one disk slightly bigger), wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

That is it! Was that so bad?

Meat and Potato Filling:
2 tbsp oil
6 oz chuck steak, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 medium red-skinned potato, peeled and diced into 1/4-inch pieces
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced into 1/4-inch pieces
1/4 tsp gound sage
salt and pepper to taste 
1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water, for egg wash

Heat oil in large skillet. Add meat and sear on both sides until crusty brown, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a bowl. Add the onions to the skillet and sauté until well browned. Return meat to pan, sprinkle with flour, and mix until combined. Slowly pour in the chicken broth while stirring. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally for 1 1/2 hours. It really does not have to be that long. I have cooked it for a much shorter amount of time before and it turned out lovely. Plus, if you cook it for this long, I find it soaks up all the liquid before the time runs out and you have to add more broth. Cooking for 45 minutes is fine or you can go the whole time, but you will need more broth.

Next, add in the potato, carrots, sage, and salt and pepper. Cook for another 30 minutes, then transfer to bowl and cool to room temperature. You don't really have to let it completely cool down if you don't have the time. I have transferred it from the skillet to the pie pan and it turned out beautifully.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Get out the pie dough.  One of the disks should be slightly bigger since it is going to be the bottom. One important thing about rolling out crust is: to not over work it! Roll it out one time. Luckily, crust is quite forgiving and you can sort of piece it together and patch it up, if necessary. Roll out your first disk into a circle a bit bigger than the pie pan and then transfer it to the pan. An easy way to transfer your pie dough to the pie pan is to fold it in half, pick it up, lay it in the pan, and then unfold it.  Roll out your second disk  to a circle as big as the top of the pan.

Fill the pie with the filling. Place your second crust piece on top and crimp the edges together, cutting off excess crust where necessary. Cut slits int he top of the crust and brush with egg wash.  Bake for 1 hour.
Serve hot!

By the way, I highly suggest purchasing your own copy of The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz. Even if you are not super into Harry Potter it has some great recipes! I think I could have possibly written this book, or my mom could have, and done a slightly better job with some things (there are not pictures), but the quality of the recipes are very good and it has almost every food mentioned in the books in this one cookbook. A good buy!


  1. I agree. Never use anything but butter. This looks good! I will have to try it!

  2. There's a Harry Potter cookbook????? That's awesome!! (ps. This pie is perfect for the holidays) thanks for sharing