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Fun With Leftovers: Chili Hand Pies

Hand Pies are a delicious way to use leftover chili, stew, and meats. With my super simple crust, these treats are easy enough to make that you can enjoy this treat any time.

BLOG POSTINGS > Everyday Meals

Fun With Leftovers: Chili Hand Pies

by zirbirt

Sweeny Todd and Mrs. Lovett would probably be a little disappointed by what I put in my meat pies, but would surely be impressed by the crust.

The crust, really is the only tricky part to a meat pie. You want a crust that is flakey and decadent like pie crust, but it has to be strong enough to be handled, like biscuits. So, I started by looking at the difference between pie crusts and biscuits. Surprisingly enough the two are very similar.

For pie crust, I begin by cutting butter into flour. For biscuits, I do the same.. but some of the butter is replaced with shortening and I add baking powder. Pie crust uses a little water for liquid, biscuits use a good amount of buttermilk. So, for me, the trick was to start from the pie crust, and work toward the biscuits until I found that perfect balance.

Hand Pie Crust:
2 cups Flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp Salt
3 Tbs Butter
3 Tbs Shortening
3/4 cup milk

I begin by putting my flour, baking powder and salt into my food processor. I give it a couple of pulses, just to get everything combined.

I then add in my butter and shortening, and pulse until it looks like cornmeal.

I then just pour in my milk and pulse.

I keep pulsing until it comes together into a dough. Once it does that I stop, immediately.

I separate the dough into 2 balls, then place 1 ball on a floured surface.

I roll it out, then cut it into squares a bit bigger than my cupcake pans (I am using large cupcake/muffin pans for this).

I place 1 piece on a cupcake hole and press it in, then trim any excess off. I use that excess to fill in any gaps or holes. In the end, I want a crust that sits evenly in the pan, and goes right up to the edge of the lip.

Notice, I did not say grease the pan. You can if you want to, but it isn't necessary. I have done these in some of my worst pans and haven't had a problem with them sticking. Of course, a little oil wont hurt it, so feel free, if you're very concerned.

For chili, I want to add some cheese to the bottom of the pies.

Then I just fill it with cold chili until the chili is just under the top edges of the crust.

Now I need to take 1 egg and combine it with 2 Tbs of water.

I then brush that onto the top edges of the crust

It's ok if some of the egg gets on the chili, it wont hurt anything.

Now, I roll out the other ball. If you look at my edges on the above pic, you will see the general thickness I use for the dough. I do not want the dough to be too thick, because like pie, the oils will get trapped inside and leave me with a greasy dough.

I take a round cutter that is nearly same size as the tops of my muffin cups. (A glass or cup can work as well).. and cut the rolled dough.

I then just place the circles I just cut on top of the cups and press everything down.

Ok, so venting... In case you do not know, while pies are baking steam forms. This steam gets trapped in a baking pie, and at the minimum causes an air bubble at the top of your crust. At the worst, it breaks the crust or seal and causes a mess to go oozing everywhere.

The solution to this is to poke holes in the crust. Just stick a knife in a couple of places and the crust will vent most of that steam away.

The thing is, if your using a relatively dry concoction, like a thick chili, not a lot of steam forms, and you can get away without venting. I didn't vent, but If your unsure it's always a safe bet to vent the top of the dough.

Next up I simply brush my egg mixture over the tops of all the pies. Then sprinkle on a bit of sea salt and some parsley, or whatever season you might want.

This goes into a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until they are golden brown.

This dough is actually very versatile. You can use it for pretty much any leftover stew, or even taco filling... or possibly mac & cheese (though I prefer my taco mac pie for that). You can even put fruit or pie filling in them to make dessert hand pies.

In fact, if you were happening to feel particularly frisky, you could cut the dough into squares, then put jelly on one side, fold it over and seal it with a fork to make something very similar to a pop tart.

I would never do anything like that of course...

The point is, this dough can be used, pretty much as is, for a lot more than just getting rid of leftover stew. The end result is sort of like a thick pie crust, but it does absorb liquid to some extent. This means very wet fillings will give you a much softer crust, while more dry fillings will give you a bit more crispness to the crust. Both are still strong and both are still tasty.

Anyhow, once our pies are nice and golden brown, its time to pull them out of the oven.

Now comes the hardest part of making these. You have to let them sit for 15-20 minutes. They need to cool and set.

Once they do, you can just slide them right out of the muffin cups using a butter knife sort of like a lever.

That's all there is to it. I hope you enjoyed this posting. Thanks for reading!

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