Handheld meat pies are a really great way to use up all of that leftover turkey from your Thanksgiving dinner. You can make a big batch of them and have them on hand for days to just grab and go.
There’s something pretty great about being able to snatch a flaky pie crust, stuffed with savory turkey filling, that fits right in your hand, when you’re feeling famished and you’re too rushed to cook.
I’ve read that they were created to feed coal miners, factory workers, and field hands, because they are filling and transport so well.
I’m not sure that is where they originated. But I’ll bet that were well used in that capacity for sure.
They are warm and delicious on a chilly fall day. And they freeze particularly well, so they can be made ahead to have on hand when you’re in a pinch for lunch.
Ingredients Needed To Make Handheld Meat Pies
You’ll need to make both a crust and a filling to put these handheld meat pies together. Neither of them is hard to make. But the filling has quite a few ingredients for you to gather.
HERE’S A LIST OF THE INGREDIENTS FOR THE CRUST:
FLOUR – Organic all-purpose white flour is a good choice for this recipe.
SALT – Real salt is the preferred choice for this recipe. Regular table salt will work as well.
LARD – Lard makes a very light, flaky pie crust. It can be found in most grocery stores.
WATER – You will need ice cold water to make the crust.
HERE’S A LIST OF THE INGREDIENTS FOR THE FILLING:
BUTTER – Farm fresh butter is preferred for this recipe. Any butter will work well.
CELERY, CARROTS, & ONIONS – If you can get farm fresh vegetables that is always best. At this time of year you may not be able to get them. Just make sure you use fresh vegetables, frozen or canned will not work well in this recipe.
POTATO – Any potato will work well in the filling. A russet potato is preferred.
THYME, SALT, & PEPPER – Use the highest quality spices you can.
GARLIC – Fresh garlic is preferred for this recipe. But you can use granulated garlic if that’s all you have.
PEAS – Frozen peas work well for this recipe. Don’t use canned peas as they will just mush out in the filling.
TURKEY – You will need cooked turkey for the filling. Leftover turkey is a great choice. But if you want to cook some up just for this recipe you can. Cooked chicken will also work really well.
FLOUR – Organic all-purpose white flour is a good choice for this recipe.
CHICKEN BROTH – A good quality chicken broth makes all the difference in the world for this recipe.
How To Make The Crust
You can use any pie crust recipe to make handheld meat pies. The recipe I provide in this post is made with lard.
Lard creates a light, flaky crust that I’ve never been able to duplicate using other fats.
To make this amazing crust you will place the flour and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk it together well. Then you will add the lard to the bowl.
You will use a fork, or a pastry blender, to cut the lard into the flour mixture. You want to work the lard into the flour mixture until it is in pea size pieces.
Next, you will add ice cold water until the dough sticks together without cracking when you squeeze it in the palm of your hand. Then you’ll form it into a flat round shape, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill it for about 3 hours.
At that point, you’ll remove it from the refrigerator, roll it out to 1/4″ thickness, and cut it into disks.
Each of those disks will be rolled out further until they are large enough to stuff with filling.
How To Make The Filling
The filling for these handheld meat pies is very easy to make.
First, you’ll saute the carrots, onions, celery, potatoes, and spices in butter until the onions are translucent. Then you’ll remove the pan from the heat and stir in the peas and chicken.
Next, you’ll sift 1/3 of the flour over top of the vegetable mixture and stir it in. Then you’ll repeat that action with the rest of the flour, doing 1/3 of the total amount at a time.
Finally, you’ll add the chicken broth and place the pan back on the heat. Bring the filling to a boil and lower the heat to take it down to a simmer. Simmer it until it thickens.
Remove the pan from the heat and allow the filling to cool completely. Then chill the filling for 3 hours.
At this point, it will be thick enough to place in the pie crust rounds without running all over. Fill the rounds, use your finger to wet the edges of the crust, fold the crust over, and pinch it together with your fingers.
Use a sharp knife to vent the top of your pies, and then baste them with an egg wash. Then place the raw handheld pies on a baking sheet and bake until they are golden brown.
Tips For Making Handheld Meat Pies
Handheld meat pies are a bit of a labor of love. They take time and care to put together. But they are so worth the extra effort. Particularly when you have leftover turkey to put in them.
So, plan to spend some time in the kitchen when you decide to make this delicious dish. Grab your favorite beverage and put on some music or catch up on viewing your favorite youtube videos.
Dare I say this is a good time to enjoy a few Sustainable Slow Living youtube videos?
Here are some tips and tricks that will make the process go smoother for you …
- Make the filling first and while it is cooling off make the pie dough.
- Both the filling and the dough can be chilled in the refrigerator overnight if you don’t have time to put them together on the same day.
- It is important that you use cold lard and ice cold water to make the dough.
- Apart from the peas, all of the vegetables used in the filling should be fresh. Canned or frozen vegetables will not work as well. The peas can be frozen, don’t use canned peas.
- The ingredients for the filling should be chopped small so that they fit into the pie dough easily.
- Rolling out all of the pie dough rounds at once, filling them all, and then pinching them all closed will make the job go much quicker.
- Do not wet the edges of the dough all at once. Wet each round individually and squeeze it closed before you move onto another one.
- Work quickly with the dough, as it will be harder to work with if it dries out.
- Don’t roll the dough rounds too thin. They will break when you are shaping them.
How To Serve Handheld Meat Pies
I’m not gonna lie, I find that eating these handheld meat pies nice and warm, all by themselves, is pretty satisfying. And if that’s enough for you too, there’s no need to make it more complicated than that.
When I made the batch for this post, I served it with a garden salad on the side because I was sharing it with someone else.
And because I had already eaten a few before they arrived. So, I was ready to have something light and green.
You can serve them with any veggie on the side if you prefer to do that. I would suggest green beans, broccoli, zucchini, or beets.
One of the nicest and most convenient features of this dish is that it is cooked from scratch finger food. It is perfect for picnics, quick meals on the go, road trips, hiking, and sending out to the woods with your favorite hunter.
How To Store Leftovers
You can keep your handheld meat pies, in an airtight container, in the refrigerator for 5-7 days without a problem.
They freeze really well and they’re so handy to have on hand that it would be silly not to freeze a few if the batch makes too many for you.
You may even want to make a batch just for the freezer. They will come in handy for sure.
To freeze them just lay them out on a parchment lined baking sheet, place them in the freezer, and allow them to freeze all the way through.
Then place them in a freezer baggie and use them individually as needed. They will store for about 3 months this way.
When you remove them from the freezer to reheat, do not allow them to thaw. Place them directly in the oven. Thawing them will cause the crust to become very soggy.
They will reheat in a 350° oven in approximately 20 minutes.
YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY THESE MAIN DISH RECIPES …
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Handheld meat pies are the perfect grab and go meal. They freeze really well and can be batch made to have on hand in a pinch.
- FOR THE FILLING:
- 6 tbls butter, salted, divided
- 1 c celery, chopped small
- 1 c carrots, chopped small
- 1 c potatoes, peeled, chopped small
- 1 c onion, chopped small
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic, diced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 c peas, frozen
- 2 c turkey, cooked, chopped small
- 1/2 c flour, all-purpose white
- 3 c chicken broth
- small dish of water
- 2 eggs, beaten
- FOR THE CRUST:
- 3 c flour, all-purpose white
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 c lard
- 1/2 c water, iced
- Melt 2 tbls butter in a large pot.
- Add the celery, carrots, potatoes, onion, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper and cook until the onions are translucent.
- Add the remaining butter and melt it down.
- Add the peas and turkey. Do not cook.
- Quickly sift in 1/3 of the flour at a time. Stirring well between each portion.
- Add the broth. And bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer until thickened.
- Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
- Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
- Place the flour for the pie dough in a large bowl.
- Whisk in the salt.
- Cut the lard in using your fingers, a fork, or a pastry blender until it is in pea sized pieces.
- Add the iced water a little at a time until the dough forms a cohesive shape that does not crack when squeezed in your hand.
- Shape the dough into a large round disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out to 1/4" thickness.
- Cut rounds from the dough using a biscuit cutter or any round food safe object. A wide mouth canning jar will give you approximately 24 rounds.
- Roll the rounds out to a size that will easily fit the filling. Do not make them too thin or they will tear when you fill them.
- Work as quickly as possible through the remaining steps as the dough will become harder to seal together as it dries.
- Using a teaspoon place filling on each round. Do not allow it to touch the edges.
- Dip your finger in the small dish of water and run it along the edges of a round. Do one round at a time. Do not wet all of the rounds at once.
- Fold the dough over and pinch the edges together tightly.
- Place the pies on a baking sheet.
- Cut an x in the top of each pie to vent the steam as it bakes.
- Brush the beaten egg over the top of the pies.
- Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 218Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 289mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 7g
This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 11/24/2022. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.