Small Pies Are Filled With Big Flavor

Recipes for savory and sweet hand pies


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Chicken and Chorizo Hand Pies
(Makes 12)


  • 1/2 cup unsalted, cold butter (1 stick)
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 egg, cold
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

  • 1/3 cup ice-cold water (plus extra, as needed)
  • Additional flour to dust work surface

Cut butter into tiny pieces. Pile loosely on a plate, and place in freezer for about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Add firm butter to flour. Using fingertips or a pastry cutter, quickly toss and pinch until mixture resembles coarse meal. (Pea-sized lumps are OK.)

Beat egg with vinegar until well blended and add to flour mixture. Drizzle 1/3 cup ice water over, and quickly and gently fold in. Dough may look dry; try squeezing a bit together with fingertips. If mixture crumbles, add additional ice water by tablespoons, and gently mix together. If mixture holds together, turn onto a work surface. Knead quickly and gently until mixture forms a cohesive ball, just a few turns. (Over-kneading will make the pastry tough.) Shape dough into a flat disk, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.


  • 2 whole chicken legs, bone-in, skin-on (about 1 pound)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium white onions, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 4 ounces raw Spanish-style chorizo (about 1 link), removed from casing

  • 1/2 cup light beer

  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup green olives, chopped roughly
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins

While dough chills, prepare filling. Rub chicken legs with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add legs, skin side down, and cook until just golden brown, about 3 minutes. Turn and brown other side, about 3 minutes more. Remove to a plate.

Discard all but 2 tablespoons of fat from pan. Add onions, stir to coat, and cook until translucent and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, bay leaves, cumin, and paprika, and cook 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add chorizo, breaking up if necessary, and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.

Add beer and scrape bottom of pan to deglaze and loosen any flavorful browned bits. Add chicken stock, olives, and raisins, stirring to combine. Nestle chicken legs, skin side up, into mixture, reduce heat to medium-low or low to maintain a simmer, and cover pan.

Simmer, covered, 25-30 minutes, or until chicken registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh. Remove legs to a clean plate to cool. If necessary, continue simmering sauce until thickened; it should be the consistency of heavy cream. Remove bay leaves, and let cool to room temperature. Remove chicken meat from bone, discarding skin, and stir meat into sauce. Filling may be made up to two days ahead and refrigerated (bring to room temperature before using).


1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water to make an egg wash.

Preheat oven to 400. Line a large baking sheet with parchment. Remove dough from refrigerator and let stand 5-10 minutes at room temperature. Divide dough in half and work with one piece, while the other half refrigerates to prevent butter melting.

Liberally dust work surface with flour. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces, forming each into a rounded shape. Keep unused pieces covered loosely with plastic wrap. Using a floured rolling pin, roll each piece to a disk about 5 inches in diameter (about 1/8 inch thick), lifting and turning dough and dusting with flour as needed to prevent sticking. (The shape need not be perfectly round.)

Place 2 rounded tablespoons of filling in center of each round. Brush dough edges lightly with egg wash, and fold the dough in half over the filling. Crimp edges to seal, either with a fork or by making a series of very small overlapping folds with fingertips, pressing firmly. Transfer pie to prepared baking sheet; lightly dust off excess flour. Repeat with remaining crust and filling.

Gently brush pies with egg wash. If dough has softened, refrigerate tray of pies for at least 15 minutes before baking.

Bake at 400 for about 25 minutes, or until golden. Cool briefly on trays before serving, or remove to a wire rack to cool thoroughly before wrapping tightly and freezing. Frozen pies may be reheated on a baking sheet in a 350-degree oven 15-20 minutes, or until warmed through.

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