Offbeat Bites: Irish Pocket Pies

With flavors that hearken back to Ireland, these little pies are perfect for the harvest season.

Chef’s note: With the arrival of fall, we typically start eating heavier foods and use the oven a lot more. These cute Irish-inspired pocket pies are perfect for the season, and surprisingly substantial for their size, making one or two ideal to eat for lunch or dinner. They are fairly easy to make as well, and can be assembled ahead of time. For a future meal, you can place them in the freezer for an anytime snack, even on a weeknight. The recipe yields about eight pies. You will invariably have extra filling, but if you don’t want to waste it, you can eat the extra filling like chili.

The filling proportions can be changed to suit your palette, but be sure to compensate liquids as needed.


1 to 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

2 cups of shredded green cabbage (I used angel hair coleslaw)

½ lb of red potatoes, scrubbed then diced

1 large carrot, peeled

1 lb of minced or ground beef sirloin or lamb

About 1 cup of fresh or thawed frozen peas

1 cup of water

3 tablespoons of tomato paste

½ teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon of dried thyme

Salt and pepper, to taste

All-purpose flour, for dusting and rolling

2 9-inch pie crusts

Egg wash (one egg beaten with 2 tablespoons of water)

Stir constantly, if possible, as the cabbage has a tendency to stick to the pan.

Heat oil over medium heat, add carrots, potatoes, and cabbage. Cook for about 7 to 9 minutes, until beginning to brown.

If your pan was dry before, the natural fat released from the beef during cooking should lubricate the pan. This is also why we use ground sirloin – a fattier beef would be too greasy.

Add beef, and cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

Be sure to thoroughly stir in the tomato paste and thyme.

Stir in tomato paste, thyme, worcestershire sauce, peas, and water. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Mashing the potatoes gives the filling a more cohesive texture, which is easier to spoon out.

Mash mixture lightly with fork – try not to damage the peas too much. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool completely.

Preheat oven to 400F. Prepare two greased baking sheets.

The dough should be thin, but if it’s too thin then it will tear.

Roll out one pie crust into a large, thin, square piece of dough approximately 12 or 13 inches across. Cut into 4 smaller equal squares. Repeat for the second pie crust.

If you use too much filling you won’t be able to properly fold the dough into a pocket pie.

Spoon filling onto each square, leaving plenty of room to fold the crust and form a border. Fold the crust over and bring the edges to meet.

Be careful when handling the pies, as the dough tears quite easily.

Crimp the edges with a fork. Slit 3 vents into each pie. (At this point, if you want to freeze the pies, you would freeze them until solid, then wrap them in foil. They keep, frozen, for up to two months.) Brush each pie with egg wash.

Bake for 12 minutes, or until golden brown, rotating the baking sheet halfway through. If baking from frozen, bake for about 30 minutes. Let the pies cool for 5 minutes before serving.

All photos by Lauren Quinn

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