Ever since trying a lamb and veggie pie from Tuck Shop at Chelsea Market this last spring, I’ve been just a tad obsessed with meat pies. A quick Google search suggests that the rest of Manhattan is, too. Unfortunately, since I am *not* living in Manhattan, I have to be a bit more resourceful. Fortunately, meat pies are the best thing to happen to leftover stew since leftovers…
I am no baker, but I think I’ve stumbled on a perfect cheat for making these quickly and easily–empanada shells. Frozen empanada shells thaw quickly and are the perfect size for making mini-meat pies in a muffin tin. (Actually, since empanadas are themselves a type of savory pie, this is not remotely a creative leap on my part–just lazy.) I’ve tried several varieties, but La Salteña’s Hojaldradas para horno have given the best results. If you decide to try using empanada shells, make sure you buy the type “para horno”–for the oven–rather than “para freir,” which are meant to be deep fried.
You will need two dough disks for each pie, so divide your disks into two equal groups before beginning. Lightly oil your muffin tin and fold a single thawed disk of dough into each depression. Bake these for about 10 minutes at about 350 degrees (or according to the temperature on the packaging), until they are starting to brown at the edges. Remove and cool slightly.
This next step is probably pretty unorthodox for pie-making, but I’ve found it is the easiest way to attach the top crusts to the pies. Remove each par-baked shell from the muffin tin (they should pop out easily if you oiled the tin enough), fill to heaping with stew, and lay another dough disk over the top. Fold down the edges and crimp, overlapping the top inch of the lower crust.
Place the assembled pie back into the muffin tin depression, easing the top crust edges in along the sides. Cut a slit in the top of each pie and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.
I’ve now used this method to make pies from beef and guiness stew, lamb stew, and minced pork. Each time I try to make enough to freeze some, and each time my husband and I finish them off within a day or two. Hope you enjoy them too!