Crave: Meat pies hit the spot during fall season

“Big Buck” Stromboli is filled with ground venison, cheese and spices, all wrapped in a soft, yeasty dough.

After a long, cold day, nothing is more satisfying than a warm pie, bursting with the savory delights of meat and vegetables.

Whether the meat you’re craving is encased in a buttery dough, topped with mashed potatoes – or both – your body will get what it wants in these savory pies. Everyone will love these creations of comfort food and come away from the dinner table rubbing their bellies.

The beauty of savory pies is that they’re endlessly versatile. Virtually any kind of meat or vegetable can be substituted. If the recipe calls for chopped chicken (as in the pot pie), use chopped steak or leftover stew meat and beef broth if that’s what you have. For ground beef or lamb, substitute ground venison, pork or turkey if you prefer that. Though my first choice is always 100-percent homemade crusts and doughs, if you’re short on time, you can always use store-bought.

These pies can be made ahead of time and frozen for later consumption.

‘Big Buck’ Stromboli

Yields 12 servings.



1 cup warm water

2 1⁄4 teaspoons active dry yeast

1 teaspoon honey

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt


1 pound ground venison

1 tablespoon crushed fennel seed

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper

1 large tomato, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

1 cup grated provolone cheese


Egg wash (1 egg beaten with a little water)

1 egg, beaten

Sesame seeds


1. In large bowl, whisk together water, yeast and honey. Let sit for 5 minutes, or until foamy. Stir in olive oil.

2. In separate bowl, mix together flour and salt. Add half to yeast mixture, and stir to combine. Continue adding remaining flour until most is incorporated.

3. Turn out onto floured surface and knead in remaining flour. Knead for an additional 5 minutes, or until dough is smooth and tacky.

4. Place dough in oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise for about 1 1⁄2 hours.

5. Brown ground meat in large skillet with fennel seed, salt, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Set aside to cool.

6. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

7. Punch down dough and divide in half. On floured surface, roll out each half to about 1⁄4-inch thickness in 10-by-14-inch rectangle. Transfer dough to prepared baking sheets. Spread half the meat on each, leaving 1-inch border. Top each with half the tomatoes, half the bell pepper and half the cheeses.

8. Brush egg wash on long side of dough, farthest from you. Beginning with long side closest to you, roll up stromboli and tuck ends under to seal. Cover lightly with tea towel, and let rise for 20 to 30 minutes.

9. Heat oven to 350°F.

10. Brush each top with beaten egg, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.

Scandinavian Meat Pies

Yields 4 individual meal-sized pies.



2 cups all-purpose flour

3⁄4 teaspoon salt

1 1⁄2 sticks unsalted butter

3⁄4 cup cooked, mashed potatoes, with no added butter or milk

5 tablespoons cold water


2 cups cooked meat (ground or cubed beef, venison, etc.)

4 tablespoons butter

2 onions, minced

1⁄2 cup sour cream

Salt and pepper


1 egg, beaten


1. In large bowl, mix together flour and salt. Using pastry blender, cut in butter until coarse meal results. Blend in mashed potatoes and cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough comes together. Press dough into ball; wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours or more.

2. Heat oven to 425°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

3. In large skillet, cook meat. Drain off fat.

4. In another skillet, heat butter. Add onions and sauté over medium heat until soft. Stir into meat with sour cream, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. On floured surface, turn out dough. Roll out slightly, then divide into four equal parts. Roll out each piece to 9-inch round, and transfer to prepared baking sheet.

6. Divide and spoon filling evenly in middle of each dough round. Fold edges over filling and press to seal — seam should be on top. Brush tops with beaten egg. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

7. Serve warm or at room temperature, with horseradish sauce or mustard.


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