Edible Basics: Savory Pies

PHOTOS BY MICHAEL PIAZZA / STYLED BY CATRINE KELTY

When the weather cools and fall turns to winter, our family’s weekend schedule shifts. Busy “Soccer Saturdays” and “Yard Work Sundays” give way to interior pursuits and a far more relaxing environment. We read together, play board games, or hunker down for movies or chess by the fire. And with less daylight and more free time, I’ll tuck into longer cooking projects like stews, roasts, and simmered broths and soups to fortify us through long lazy days at home.

Puttering away in the kitchen on a snowy Sunday afternoon, warming the house with the heat of the oven and producing something rich and delicious for supper—with plenty of reheatable leftovers for busy weeknights to come—is immensely satisfying. Savory pie, the perfect one-dish meal, is high on my list for winter cooking, especially after the holidays—meats and vegetables tucked into crusts or under mash, sent steaming and fragrant to the table, are an easy way to transform leftovers into something new and exciting.

The first savory pie I make each winter comes right after Thanksgiving, and it’s made wholly of leftovers. By the weekend after the big meal, we’re ready for a change from reheated turkey and stuffing, so into a pie plate goes the remaining meat and vegetables, some gravy loosened with stock, and it all gets capped with a dome of flaky pâte brisée. The post-Christmas pie is usually goose-based, with a mashed potato-and-rutabaga crust. And any extra Super Bowl chili can be reworked into a pie by layering it with corn tortillas and lots of cheese.

But savory pies aren’t just for leftovers. The following recipes are great winter weekend food, saved for snowy Sundays when you’re looking for a bit of a project and some tranquil time in the kitchen. These are not weeknight dinners by any means, and the ingredient lists are long, but the rewards are many: cook a big savory pie on Sunday and enjoy the leftovers all week, a bit of the languorous weekend stretched to Wednesday’s desk lunch.

Sarah Blackburn is a home cook, recipe developer, vegetable gardener and managing editor of Edible Boston. She can be reached at sarah@edibleboston.com