Beef Pie with Sweet & Sour Red Cabbage

Beef Pie

By Walter Staib, HHOC

Making meat pies was a safety measure in colonial times. Since refrigeration was nonexistent, cooking leftover meat a second time in a pie eliminated any bacteria developed since the first roasting. No piece of valuable meat was wasted, even the tougher scraps left over from the slaughter were utilized, and the process of roasting, then cooking and finally baking was a great way to ensure that the meat was as tender and flavorful as possible.

Overnight preparation required.

Yield: Serves 8. Makes 8 large or 24 small triangles.

Makes 3 pounds of cooked meat

Beef ingredients:

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 t. salt

1 t. freshly ground black pepper

4 1/2 lbs boneless beef chuck roast


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together oil, salt and pepper. Rub the oil mixture over the meat.
  3. Roast the beef chuck roast for about 1.5 hours, until a meat thermometer registers 170°F.
  4. Remove the meat from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes. Cover and refrigerate up to one day or until ready to use.

Pie ingredients:

3 T. unsalted butter

3 lbs cooked boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (see above)

1 cup chopped yellow onions

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 cup red Burgundy wine

1 cup chopped button mushrooms

1 small bunch fresh basil, chopped (about 1/4 c.)

1/2 small bunch fresh parsley, chopped (about 3 T.)

1 sprig fresh thyme

2 t. salt

1 t. freshly ground black pepper

1 cup demi-glace

3 lbs purchased puff pastry

1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 T. water


  1. Melt butter in large skillet over high heat, add beef, onions and garlic, and sauté for 5 minutes, until the onions are golden brown.
  2. Add wine to deglaze pan, loosening any browned bits on the bottom with a wooden spoon.
  3. Add mushrooms, basil, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper, and cook until liquid has evaporated.
  4. Stir in demi-glace and cook for about 5 minutes more, until all liquid has evaporated again.
  5. Remove from heat. Spread mixture onto baking sheet and let cool for 10 minutes. Refrigerate for about 1 hour to cool completely.
  6. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  7. On a lightly-floured surface, roll out puff pastry to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out six, six- to eight-inch squares and brush edges with egg mixture.
  8. Place 1 cup meat mixture in center of each square. Fold each square over diagonally to form a triangle and press edges firmly to seal.
  9. Using a fork, gently prick center of each triangle to allow steam to escape. Lightly brush edges again with egg mixture.
  10. Arrange triangles two inches apart on a greased baking sheet.
  11. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until golden brown.

Chef’s Note:

This recipe can be easily adapted into a tasty appetizer, by making individual pastry triangles—perfect finger food for a party.

Sweet & Sour Cabbage

Yield: 8 servings


1 medium shallot, chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

2 T. unsalted butter

2 ½ to 3 lbs red cabbage, shredded (about 10 cups)

½ cup red Burgundy wine

1 ¼ cups balsamic vinegar

½ cup granulated sugar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a large skillet, sauté shallots and garlic in butter over medium heat for 1 minute, until golden brown.
  2. Add shredded cabbage.
  3. Add the wine to deglaze pan, loosening any browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
  4. Stir in vinegar and sugar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Increase heat to high and bring to boil, stirring constantly to prevent sugar from burning.
  6. Reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes, until liquid is reduced by three-fourths.


Portion the cabbage into bowls and top with warm beef pies.

Read more about Chef Staib in the Summer issue of Sizzle magazine, ACF’s quarterly e-zine for students of cooking. Subscribe here on our website. Chef Staib will also be presenting at Cook. Craft. Create. ACF National Convention & Show, July 9-13, at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.

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Beef pie recipe courtesy of City Tavern: Recipes from the Birthplace of American Cuisine, ©2009 by Walter Staib
Sweet & sour cabbage recipe courtesy of City Tavern Cookbook ©1999 by Walter Staib, Running Press Book Publishers, Philadelphia and London.



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