You’ll love the leftover meat in these fabulous Cheddar Pot Roast Hand Pies. The Cheddar crust is ridiculously easy to make using a food processor. The hand pies may be made a day in advance or frozen up to a month. Leftover turkey will also work in place of the pot roast, in which case the author suggests changing the cheese to Jarlsberg. Although these little pies look impressive, they are simple to make.
The Author Says: “There’s always leftover pot roast. Always. There’s always leftover turkey, too, and this recipe could just as easily be made with that—in which case I’d change the cheese to Jarlsberg. But I had leftover pot roast, so pot roast it is. That’s how leftovers are. They refuse to be ignored.
Crisp, flaky, and just salty enough. Creating a crust with “tooth” that melts instantly on your tongue is the key to any great pie. But opinions and controversies abound. What combination or ratio is best? Well, I’ve tried them all. The all-butter crust remains my favorite for its rich, savory flavor. Its four simple ingredients are always on hand at my house, so in my opinion, this is the one to master.” –Greg Henry
Cheddar Pot Roast Hand Pies Recipe
Basic Pie Pastry (Recipe below)
8 ounces leftover cooked pot roast
1 cup vegetable broth
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves, divided
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
Flour for rolling
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
2 ounces Cheddar cheese (as sharp as you like), cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 egg yolk lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water, for egg wash
Prepare the pastry dough (recipe below) and shape it into 2 discs about 5 inches in diameter and 3/4-inch thick. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour (or up to 2 days), or freeze for up to 1 month.
Use 2 forks to shred the meat. Place the meat, vegetable broth, 1 teaspoon thyme, and bay leaf in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer about 20 minutes, stirring several times with a wooden spoon to break up the meat. Uncover the pan, remove the bay leaf, and add the vinegar. Increase to medium heat and cook, stirring often, until the liquid is nearly evaporated and the meat is well stewed, about 20 minutes. Drain in a colander set in the sink. Allow the meat to come to room temperature.
On a lightly floured surface, use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll 1 chilled dough disc to a generous 1/8-inch thickness. Using a round cutter or a plate as a template, cut into four 5-inch rounds. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, evenly spaced and not touching. Repeat with the remaining dough, giving you 8 rounds on 2 sheets. Refrigerate until chilled, about 20 minutes.
Place oven racks in the center and upper positions. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Divide the meat evenly among the chilled rounds, leaving about a 3/4-inch border. Season lightly with salt and pepper and top with Cheddar cubes. Fold the edges inward to create a triangular shape—a bit like George Washington’s hat. The edges shouldn’t meet in the middle but should be sealed shut at the 3 points where they form corners. Brush the dough with egg wash and sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon thyme. Bake until the pies are golden brown, about 30 minutes; switch sheets halfway through. Cool slightly on a wire rack and serve warm.
Yield: 8 servings
Basic Pie Pastry
2-3/4 cups (390 grams) all-purpose flour, scooped and leveled, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks (1 cup) plus 2 Tablespoons very cold European-style (high-fat) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 or 3 ice cubes
1/3 cup cold water (plus 2 Tablespoons, if needed)
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the 2-3/4 cups flour with the salt 5 or 6 times until well combined. If a specific recipe calls for additional spices, herbs, cheese, vinegar, or lemon juice, this is the time to add them.
Add the butter and pulse 10 or 12 more times until the mixture is crumbly and coarse, with various-size chunks of butter visible throughout. Wedge 2 or 3 ice cubes, broken up if necessary, in the processor’s feed tube. With the machine running, pour up to 1/3 cup cold water over the ice in the ice-filled feed tube a tablespoon at a time, until the dough just comes together and begins to pull cleanly away from the sides of the bowl in jagged clumps. Don’t let the machine run too long, and don’t worry if you don’t use all the water. Overworked dough and/or too much water are the main culprits in making pastry tough or dense. However, in warm weather or dry climates you may need up to 2 tablespoons more cold water. You’ll learn to recognize the right balance of wet and dry.
Move the dough to a lightly floured work surface and gently knead it 2 or 3 times. If it seems quite sticky or at all wet, sprinkle in another few teaspoons flour. Give it a couple more quick, gentle kneads. Divide the dough in half and shape into 2 discs about 5 inches in diameter and 3/4-inch thick, or as indicated in the individual recipe. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour (or up to 2 days) to distribute the moisture evenly, or freeze for up to 1 month.
Yield: Two 8 to 10-inch pie crusts or one 8 to 10-inch double-crust shell
Recipe Source: “Savory Pies: Delicious Recipes for Seasoned Meats, Vegetables and Cheeses Baked in Perfectly Flaky Pie Crusts” by Greg Henry (Ulysses Press)
Reprinted with express permission.
Cheddar Pot Roast Hand Pies Recipe Photo ©2012 2012 Greg Henry/Ulysses Press, licensed to Peg’s Home Cooking