In the United States, we typically relegate pie to the dessert menu. With a few notable exceptions (hello,
chicken pot pie), Americans tend toward sugary fillings like apple and cherry. What a shame. Savory ingredients deserve to be wrapped in pie crust, too.
One-dish meals so satisfying they rarely require a side, savory pies just might be the ultimate comfort food. Most freeze well, making for convenient make-ahead dinners or, in the case of savory hand pies, on-the-go lunches. And while it takes practice to nail the perfect
from-scratch, all-butter pie crust, once you do, that dough can be frozen, too.
Cooks who don’t feel like fiddling with a rolling pin can always look to quality store-bought pie shells,
puff pastry, or phyllo dough—a key ingredient in Mediterranean classics such as Greek spanakopita and Moroccan b’stilla. That British pub staple, the shepherd’s pie, forgoes the flaky envelope altogether in favor of mashed potatoes.
Peruse the best meat-pie recipes the U.K., Italy, Chile, South Africa, and Canada have to offer, and see if you don’t want pie for dinner. Pescatarian and vegetarian types: You’ll find temptation in the form of crawfish hand pies and veggie tarts. After all, why should fruit have all the fun?
Mortadella and Fontina Slab Pie This flaky, comforting puff pastry hand pie is evil but genius—it tastes like the Italian version of a ham and cheese croissant, but without the labor of from-scratch pastry. Mortadella, a pork-based deli meat with pistachios and delicate morsels of pork fat, is available at many grocery stores, and Italian markets. Get the recipe for Mortadella and Fontina Slab Pie » Italian Easter Pie (Pizza Gain, a.k.a. Pizza Rustica) Sometimes called pizza rustica or Easter pie, this savory southern Italian pie—eaten around the holiday—incorporates chopped cured salamis and Italian cheeses into a dense, eggy filling surrounded by a pastry-like crust. It's most delicious eaten warm the same day it's baked, but leftovers (which you are almost certain to have) will keep for 4 to 5 days. Get the recipe for Italian Easter Pie (Pizza Gain, a.k.a. Pizza Rustica) » Firm and sweet, crawfish meat goes well just about anywhere you'd use lobster; here, it's combined with peppers, celery, tomatoes, and cayenne pepper and baked in a flaky pastry dough for a spicy twist on pot pie. This recipe first appeared in the tablet edition of our April 2014 issue with Felicia Campbell's story Born on the Bayou. Get the recipe for Crawfish Pie » These moist lamb pies are popular in Sicily during Easter celebrations. This recipe appeared in our March 2011 issue as a part of our special feature, Soul of Sicily. Get the recipe for Easter Lamb Pie » This recipe for old-fashioned chicken pot pie, an adaptation of one in James Beard's American Cookery (Little, Brown; 1980), originally appeared in the September/October 1995 issue of SAVEUR. It's still one of our favorites. Get the recipe for Chicken Pot Pie » Beef Short Ribs Empanadas In his version of Chilean empanadas, chef Rodolfo Guzmán of Boragó replaces lean ground chuck with rich beef short ribs, which make each bite tender. Get the recipe for Beef Short Ribs Empanadas » Beef Cheek and Stout Pie with Stilton Pastry "If making a pie, one should make it indulgent," says chef Daniel Doherty of London and New York's Duck & Waffle. He follows his own advice for this meat-stuffed pie with a pungent crust. Get the recipe for Beef Cheek and Stout Pie with Stilton Pastry » Chicken Pot Shepherd’s Pie Give this comfort food staple the best of both worlds by topping a rich chicken stew with mashed potatoes and puff pastry. Get the recipe for Chicken Pot Shepherd's Pie » This flaky double-crust pie, from Prince Edward Island resident Marion Buote, is filled with a sumptuous beef, chicken, and pork stew. Get the recipe for Marion Buote's Meat Pie » Bobotie (South African Meat Pie) This Cape Town specialty generally consists of spiced meat mixed with chutney and tamarind paste and milk-soaked bread, poured into a dish, topped with a custard of egg and milk, and baked until it's golden on top. Get the recipe for Bobotie (South African Meat Pie) » Stargazy Pie (English Sardine Pie) In this whimsical Cornish dish, whole sardines poke their heads through the crust of a savory pie filled with bacon, hard-boiled eggs, and a mustard-laced custard. Get the recipe for Stargazy Pie (English Sardine Pie) » Rabbit and Crawfish Stargazy Pie In this whimsically constructed pie from restaurateur and cookbook author Mark Hix, rabbit and sweet crawfish form a thick, creamy, cider-rich sauce under a biscuit-like beef suet crust. Get the recipe Rabbit and Crawfish Stargazy Pie » Jerusalem Artichoke and Comté Pasties Pasties were originally made for miners—they could hold the pies' thick edging with dirty hands and discard it after eating. James Lowe updates the pedestrian pasty by marrying tender, earthy tubers with melty cheese for the filling. Get the recipe for Jerusalem Artichoke and Comté Pasties » Tourtière (Québécois Meat Pie) The recipe for this French Canadian classic came from Saveur kitchen assistant and resident Canadian Anne-Marie White. "This is my favorite kind of rustic home cooking," she says, "and the apple cider and warming spices make it a perfect holiday dish." Get the recipe for Tourtière (Québécois Meat Pie) » This New Zealand combination of flaky pastry, canary-yellow yolks, and salty bacon has cross-cultural appeal. Get the recipe for Bacon and Egg Pie » Two kinds of mustard bring bright, tangy, and savory notes to this quiche, which is full of vegetables and less heavy than the standard. Recipe adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan. Get the recipe for Mustard Tart » Moroccan Pigeon Pie (B’stilla) This sumptuous Moroccan starter—a spiced poultry pie enriched with scrambled eggs and decorated with ground almonds, sugar, and cinnamon—is typically served at weddings and other festive occasions. Traditionally the pastry known as warqa and bone-in pigeon are used to make b'stilla, but phyllo and chicken thighs, quail, or Cornish game hen make excellent substitutes. This recipe first appeared in our November 2014 issue with the story Not-So-Humble Pie. Get the recipe for Moroccan Pigeon Pie (B'stilla) » Perfect Blue Cheese Quiche With Whole Grain Crust One of the best quiches we've ever tasted comes from Avery Ruzicka, the head baker of Manresa Bread. She gives the filling a velvety texture by adding a touch of flour and baking it long in a relatively cool oven; she also adds in plenty of soft cheese for good measure. For a flavorful, buttery crust, use a mix of whole grain flours and leave your butter in large chunks, not pea-sized pebbles. Get the recipe for Perfect Blue Cheese Quiche With Whole Grain Crust » Veal and Pearl Onion B’Stilla B'stilla, a North African meat pie, is traditionally made with poultry. Cookbook author Suzanne Zeidy's take includes veal and caramelized pearl onions. When ordering the veal for this recipe, have your butcher remove the bone. Get the recipe for Veal and Pearl Onion B'Stilla » In this pub staple, gravy is added to minced meat, onions, and any vegetables on hand and topped with a buttery mound of mashed potato is dolloped on top. Get the recipe for Shepherd's Pie » Quebecois-Style Mixed Meat Pie (Cipaille) The exposed marrow bone isn't just carnivore bravado: It's also a chimney that allows steam to escape past the pastry from the juicy filling within. Get the recipe for Quebecois-Style Mixed Meat Pie (Cipaille) » A light-bodied, vivacious white wine pairs beautifully with the abundance of herbs in this dish. Get the recipe for Spanakopita » This advanced version of traditional pork pies includes three kinds of pork (shoulder, belly, and slab bacon) and tender chicken for a multi-note meaty flavor, plus savory stuffing. The recipe is inspired by the huntsman pie from the Brantwood Café, a restaurant in Coniston, where it's served with tangy Westmorland chutney. Our recipe makes small single-serving pies; you will need four 5 3/4-by-3-inch loaf pans, available from Wilton. Get the recipe for Huntsman Pies » Savory Rice Pudding Pie (Karjalanpiirakka) Eaten in Finland as an afternoon snack, these rye flour pastries come with a filling of creamy rice topped with salty butter and hard-boiled egg. Get the recipe for Karjalan Priaka (Karelian Rice Pudding Pies) »