I must confess, I do not like for my hands to get icky and messy. I am forever wiping them off whenever it happens. I rarely get through dinner without using less than three napkins. And it’s even worse when I’m cooking. Sometimes, when I am doing something where your hands must get messy, such as rolling meatballs, I will stop and wash my hands halfway through. You needn’t point out that it’s weird, Matt has done that for you; I can’t explain why, it just makes me feel better.
I think it’s genetic because my mom is the same way, and my dad is forever losing his dinner napkins to her. And it seems that even my two-year-old nephew has caught the gene. He often insists that his hands be wiped after each bite he takes at meal times. And that’s probably why I don’t make sloppy joes terribly often, even though I think they’re so delicious. They’re just so … messy…
That’s why I was so thrilled to see this recipe in one of my newer cookbooks, A Year of Pies. It’s a sloppy joe filling, but baked underneath a flaky pie crust instead of mounded on a hamburger bun. Basically, it’s a sloppy joe I can eat with a fork and not get my hands all icky. Exciting!!!
We really enjoyed this. It’s hearty and comforting, perfect for a cold night. The saucy meat is flavorful but not too spicy and the crust was amazingly flaky and wonderful. And it can feed a crowd if need be. Enjoy!
Source: adapted from A Year of Pies, by Ashley English
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 tbs unsalted butter, chilled
6 tbs vegetable shortening or lard, chilled
6 tbs ice water
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced (I should have diced mine a bit smaller)
2 stalks of celery, trimmed and diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 cup beef stock
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup sweet pickle relish
2 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp hot sauce, or to taste
2 tbs unsalted butter
2 tbs flour
Make the pie crust. Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender or two forks, cut in the butter and shortening until the mixture resembles coarse meal. You should still have some rather large bits of butter and shortening when done.
Slowly drizzle in the ice water and stir with a large spoon or spatula until the dough begins to clump.
Transfer the dough to a floured surface and, using your hands, fold it into itself until the flour is fully incorporated into the fats. The dough should come together easily but should not be overly sticky.
Shape the dough into a ball and pat it down into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Meanwhile, make the filling. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Grease a 9-inch deep dish pie plate.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and crumble with a potato masher or a sturdy spoon. Cook until no traces of pink remain. Add the onion, carrot, and celery, and saute for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute or two.
Add the stock, tomatoes, red wine, ketchup, pickle relish, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, cumin, thyme, allspice, cloves, salt, black pepper and hot sauce. Stir to mix well and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and whisk in the flour to create a roux. Cook for about a minute, whisking constantly.
Stir the roux into the meat mixture and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Remove the pie dough from the refrigerator. On a well-floured surface, use a floured rolling pin to roll it out into an even 12-inch circle.
Spoon the meat mixture into the greased pie plate. Carefully transfer the pie dough on top. Crimp the edges. Use a small paring knife to make four to six slits in the center of the pie dough, to allow steam to escape.
Place the pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until the crust is light golden-brown. Cool 15 minutes before serving.