OK, I know that “hand pies” is the weirdest name for a food. It’s totally bizarre and sounds odd, but I had no idea what else to call these. They’re not really empanadas, and they’re not pot pies. They’re little triangles of pie crust filled with all kinds of veggies. This is a good recipe to use up all those leftovers you have in the fridge and pantry (that one zucchini, those two random potatoes…I had planned to use eggplant, but it had gone bad.) I basically made this up as I went along, and it turned out pretty tasty. I really would have loved this with the eggplant, but the zucchini was a great addition. I think mushrooms would be yummy, too, if you like them.
- pie crust (I used a leftover Pillsbury pie crust from the holiday season. They come with 2 circles of pre-made, pre-rolled dough. It wasn’t quite enough dough for all the filling I made. If you have a homemade recipe you like, by all means, use it!)
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil (I think…I just sprinkled in enough to coat the bottom of the pan and to keep the veggies from getting gunky and too crispy. And obviously “gunky” is a technical cooking term.)
- 2 potatoes, peeled and chopped into small pieces
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into small pieces
- 1 zucchini, chopped into small pieces (not peeled)
- 1/2 medium onion, diced (It was a really strong white onion. If yours isn’t that strong, feel free to add more.)
- 3 oz. tomato paste (about half the can)
- spices (I used salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, oregano. Add or subtract whatever you want.)
- 2 Tbsp. flour
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1 c. vegetable broth
- *If you like your pie crust golden and crispy (and really, who doesn’t), you’ll need an egg and about a Tbsp. of water.
- **chicken, if you want to add meat (I used these precooked chicken strips and warmed them up over medium heat in a separate pan. I separated the rest of the filling and added the chicken to one half.)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your baking sheet (spray or line with parchment paper)
- In a large saucepan, boil the potatoes for about 5 minutes, so you can stick a fork in them but not pierce through them. Drain and rinse.
- In the same saucepan, heat up the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables and your spices (but NOT the potatoes) and sauté them for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Add the potatoes and tomato paste and give everything a big stir until combined. Keep on the heat for about 3 more minutes. (Don’t worry if the tomato paste doesn’t incorporate fully. It will when you add the roux.) Take the pan off the heat and set aside. You want to let the veggie mixture cool significantly before assembling the pies (or else the pie crust will melt and it will be messy and awful and you’ll have a glob of veggies and dough and you’ll have to scrape it off the counter. Probably.)
- Make the roux! I don’t really know how to explain what a roux is if you don’t know what it is, except that it’s flour, butter, and a liquid (here it’s broth), and it makes a thick sauce-like thing – it’s in a lot of macaroni and cheese recipes. So first, melt the butter in a small saucepan. When it’s all melted, add the flour and give it a quick whisk until it’s made a paste. Still whisking, slowly add the broth. Keep whisking, being sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the pan, until the rue becomes nice and thick. You really will be able to tell when it’s done because it gets creamy.
- Pour the roux into the veggie mixture, and stir until everything is incorporated. Let it cool some more. You don’t want a veggie/dough glob.
- While the mixture cools, prep the dough. I had 2 circles of dough. I used a pizza cutter and just cut four pieces in each circle, so I ended up with 8 quarter-circles (really 7 because of that veggie/dough glob incident I alluded to). If you make your own dough, I think cutting full circles would be easiest, so the pies turn into half-moon shapes. *At this point, prep your egg wash if you’re doing that. Whisk an egg and a splash of water together, and set aside.*
- Now it’s time to put together the pies. For my size quarter-cirlcles, I put about a 2 Tbsp. of filling in each pie. Put the filling to one side of the dough, then fold over the remaining dough (mine were triangle-shaped). Pinch the edges together, creating a pie! Put the pies on your baking sheet (I used parchment paper) and brush the tops with the egg wash.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until golden and flaky. Enjoy!
This was a filling meal for a cold, wintry day. I thought it was easy to make, but if you’re a beginner cook, it’s probably a mildly difficult meal (only for the roux, which can be scary to make at first because it sounds scary and fancy). If you make this, I’d love to hear what veggies you use and how you like it!