Ground Beef with Potatoes and Hard-boiled Eggs (as filling for mini-meat pies)

This dish can be made ahead because pre-cooking potatoes and eggs is required. For a meal during the week, you can prep by browning the (1 lb.) ground beef, boiling the potatoes, and eggs and putting them in separate containers for assembly when you are ready to serve later.

For the mini-pie dough, you can make it from scratch or buy it from a store. If store bought, you can use 8 oz. crescent rolls from Pillsbury or Immaculate Baking Company (GMOFree). Depending on how many mini-pies you want to make, you can use two 8-oz. of store bought crescent rolls. Open it according to the package instruction and tear off the individual sheets and set aside.

If you prefer to make the dough from scratch, then you’re a masochist. But say you’re not, just a purist, then a tasty, but simple pie dough recipe, which is from The Tassajara Bread Book by Edward Espe Brown (p. 126), is as follows:

2 cups unbleached white flour
½ cup oil
½ tsp. salt
½ cup water

While briskly stirring flour and salt with a fork, add oil a small amount at a time. Continue stirring with a fork while adding water until the dough clings together. Knead lightly. May be rolled out immediately. (This recipe makes one 9” two-crust pie, or two 8-9” one-crust pies, or about 12 tart shells.) Splinter the dough into little balls and roll out the balls as small or as big as you want, depending how mini you want your pies to be.

Boil 2 eggs. For perfect or almost perfect hard-boiled eggs, depending how you fare, boil a potful of water, then carefully put in the eggs. When starting to boil again, turn on timer for 8 minutes. When timer goes off, carefully drain the pot and pour in cold water. Let sit for 5 minutes. Then carefully peel and when cooled a bit, chop them and set aside.

Using Yukon or yellow potatoes, take 3 of them and peel and cook over medium heat for about 45 minutes, more or less. Turn temperature down to low medium if boiling but potatoes are not quite tender yet. Be sure they’re tender but not falling apart. When cooled, chop them and set them aside.

Depending how much or little you want to work for this meal, you can caramelize some onions. Chop three onions and sauté them in 3 tbps. of butter, preferably in an iron skillet (stainless steel skillet is a second choice here), over low heat. When browned, set them aside. Time to assemble everything.

Assuming you want to do a shortcut, cut out the onion caramelizing step. If you pre-cooked the potatoes and hard-boiled eggs and ground beef in advance, take your skillet, put in 1 – 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat and warm them up together. If you didn’t pre-cook them a few days ahead and refrigerated them, then they are still warm, so you can simply mix them together in a bowl. Then take your favorite onion dip (I use Trader Joe’s 10-oz caramelized onion dip) and mix the dip in with the filling mixture. If you don’t use this shortcut, go back to when you finished caramelizing the onions. From there, over medium low heat, put in ½ cup of milk in the caramelized onions and stir. When the milk is warmed, put in 8 ozs of cream cheese and stir until melted. Turn down the heat to low and put in a tsp. of your favorite mustard, spicy or yellow.

Mix the homemade sauce or store bought dip with the filling. Get out your homemade or store bought dough. Roll each sheet out and fill up to the point when you can fold the sheet over in half so you’ll have a mini-pie. Pinch the dough edges shut. After filling your mini sheets of dough, spray a baking sheet with cooking oil and gently place the mini-pies on it. Lightly spray the top mini-pies. Preheat the oven to the temperature according to the store bought dough and use the same instructions for the number of minutes to bake them. If homemade, then 375 degrees and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. If you have leftover filling, use them to make a sandwich wrap by adding salad or sliced cucumbers.

Serve the mini-pies with salad or Brussel sprouts.

You can make these mini-pies ahead and wrap in foil for the next day to warm up in your toaster oven and take with you to eat on the go if you have to dash off to work or the airport.

Enjoy munching!

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