20 Different Types of Meat Pies From Around the World

Meat pies are a delicious and popular snack around the world. But, what are different types of meat pies from around the world? What is the difference between all of these different kinds? Why would one meat pie be considered more traditional than another?

different types of meat pies
Australian meat pie. Credit: canva

In this article, we will explore 20 different types of meat pies from around the world so you know exactly why they are loved by people everywhere.

What Is a Meat Pie?

A meat pie is a wonderfully savory treat that can be found with different fillings all over the world. In Australia, they are often filled with ground beef and onion. In Canada, you might find them made of pork and apples or cabbage. And Europeans enjoy filling theirs up like shepherd’s pies using various meats such as lamb, rabbit, game birds, mutton chops or root vegetables, depending on what type of meat it contains (for example cowpeas).

Much like most pies, the pastry is typically baked or fried at a high enough temperature to produce the Maillard reaction. Depending on how it’s prepared, when cooked the pastry can also acquire a tender and flaky texture.

The History of Meat Pie

Pies have an ancient history and are found in many different cultures, including savory and sweet pies that can be served in many situations.

One popular version of the history of pie is a theory by food historian Dr Janet Clarkson. According to her, ‘pastry’ cover was not meant to be eaten and was thrown away.

The pastry was created and used with fats like lard and butter as both a cooking vessel and preservation. These medieval pastry dishes were called “coffins/coffyns”, which means either a basket or box.

The origin of the meat pie is hotly contested, but one theory suggests that bread crusts were often served to servants while royalty and the wealthy ate the filling.

Fast forward a few thousand years and meat pies remain popular, but they have certainly lost their status as a luxury item.

20 Different Types of Meat Pies from Around the World

Australian Meat Pie

There are many different types of meat pies from around the world, but one that is popular is the Australian meat pie. It is an iconic Australian dish and can be found in bakeries all across the country.

The traditional meat pie had beef inside and was cooked until golden brown on top with a pastry bottom crust that is soft to touch.

Australian meat pie (also known as Aussie hand pie) is a small type of pie that is typically filled with meat and vegetables. The difference between an Australian meat pie and other types of meats is that they have a pastry crust instead of a pie crust, making them easier to eat on the go.

Australians love their meat pies, and they’re fond of serving them at local sporting events like cricket matches as well as when picnics with friends.

chicken pot pie
Chicken Pot Pie. Credit: canva

British Shepherd’s Pie

The British Shepherd’s Pie is a variation of the more commonly known Meat Pie. It has been incorporated into many different cultures, such as American and French cooking.

This pie is called Shepherd’s pie in England because it was originally made with lamb or mutton chops instead of beef when sheep were domesticated there. The term “shepherd’s pie” is now often used interchangeably with “meat pie.”

Shepherd’s Pie is a very simple dish. Ground beef or lamb, peas, corn, carrots, onion, and celery chopped fine, with a gravy of Worcestershire sauce, herbs, beef stock, and thickener make the base.

Add a topping of creamy mashed potato (laid on nice and thick) cheese, and breadcrumbs on top to make it melt golden while it bakes in the oven.

It was first popularized in Scotland and Ireland as a working-class dish. It eventually became the most common form of dinner for Irish families on Sunday, which made it traditional.

American Chicken Pot Pie

These pies are typically made with chicken and vegetables that have been cooked in butter or margarine to make them tender enough for a crust-less filling. They’re topped with biscuits before baking it all together in an oven until there’s a nice golden brown crust.

There are many different types of meat pies from around the world, but one that is popular in American cooking is chicken pot pie.

The filling for these pies consists of cooked chicken and vegetables with a thick roux sauce made out of flour, butter, or margarine, and milk over top before baking it all until there is a nice golden crust.

The origin of the American chicken pot pie can be traced back to England in the 17th century, but it was later changed by French settlers into a dish called pâté chaud (literally “hot pastry”).

Chicken pies became popular again during World War II as people were looking for ways to use less expensive ingredients.

British Steak and Kidney Pie

Steak and kidney pies are very popular in England, where they can be found at almost every pub or bar.

The pie is traditionally made with a pastry crust that is deep-fried on the bottom before filling it up with beef (or lamb) kidneys, gravy sauce, and onions. It’s then baked until the pastry is golden brown on top.

The first steak and kidney pies were sold by street vendors in England as a hearty snack that could be eaten at any time of day. They became popular among workers, including coal miners who dug for fuel all day long before returning home to have their dinner cooked up in a pie.

The history of the steak and kidney pies is unclear, but there are many theories that surround its origins. One idea is that they date back to 17th-century France as pâté chauds with beef or lamb kidneys mixed into it.

Empanadas

Different cultures have their own take on a pie (also known as an empanada). An empanada from Southern Europe and Latin America, for example, is either baked or fried and consists of pastry and filling. The word comes from the Galician verb empanar meaning “enbreaded”, that is, wrapped in bread.

The dough is folded over a filling, e.g., meat or cheese, and the turnover is then baked or fried.

Several regional variations of empanadas include:

Colombian empanadas: vibrant yellow half-moons of cornmeal dough, filled with ground beef and cubes of tender potatoes flavored with onion, garlic, and cilantro.

Chilean empanadas: finely chopped (but never ground) beef, the interior of the crimped empanada is then studded with black olives, roughly chopped egg, and sweet raisins. 

Spanish empanada gallega: typically round or square, with a top decorated by pieces of dough. The bottom and top crusts of the Galician pie are always prepared with leavened dough, which gives them a dark, more unique-looking pastry.

Canadian Tourtière (Québécois Meat Pie)

This iconic Canadian meat pie is traditionally made with a pork or beef filling that includes onions, carrots, celery, and thyme. It’s then covered in browned crusts of ground pork belly mixed in wheat flour to give it its crunchy texture on the outside while inside there is an abundance of savory stewing juices.

Tourtière is believed to have been introduced in the late 18th century by French-speaking settlers from France and was originally called “pâté chaud”. The dish became popular among Quebecois people, which led to it being renamed tourtière.

The crust of a pie can be made with many different things like butter, lard (pork fat), shortening, or vegetable oil.

Moroccan Pigeon Pie (B’stilla)

B’stilla is a dish that originated in Morocco and Algeria during the 15th century. The word “b’stilla” comes from “bi’stiila”, which means “wrapped, or enveloped”.

The pie can be made with up to three layers of thin filo pastry dough filled with ground or chopped meat, sautéed vegetables such as carrots and celery.

The pigeon pie is then topped with more layers of filo pastry dough before being baked or deep-fried in olive oil for a few minutes on each side to give it its crunchy texture. The dish also has cinnamon sprigs that are studded throughout the filling.

The pie is served at room temperature, and it’s sometimes prepared with a side dish of almonds or walnuts sprinkled on top to represent the scales of a pigeon.

Lebanese Sfija/Sfeeha

The Lebanese pie is made with the traditional ingredients of ground lamb, rice or dried cracked wheat, and pine nuts. A sfija consists of a meat-based filling that’s wrapped in dough and cooked on an open flame while a Sfeeha has no crust at all because it was originally prepared for those observing Lent.

A popular dish in the Middle East, it’s often eaten with a side of yogurt or a tahini garlic sauce, a garnish of fresh cucumber, and fresh herbs such as mint or coriander.

Sfija is also known as “sfeeha” or “shish beldi”. It can be served with rice for those who observe Lent and without any crust to represent abstinence and fasting from meat during that time period.

Irish Beef and Guinness Pie

The pie is a traditional Irish meat dish, and it’s usually made from beef or leftovers that are simmered in Guinness beer before being mixed with mashed potatoes. The filling will then get topped off by browned buttery pastry dough to help keep the flavor of the gravy inside when it bakes.

Scottish Haggis Pies

Haggis is a traditional Scottish dish that’s made from sheep offal (a mixture of lungs, heart, and liver) minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices like salt, and pepper. Haggis is often served as part of the Burns Night celebratory supper on January 25th where it’s traditionally prepared by boiling it in a sheep’s stomach.

Besides being served with neeps and tatties on Burns Night, the haggis pie is also sometimes prepared for other special occasions like Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve) or Valentine’s Day.

Italian Easter Pie (Pizza Gain, a.k.a. Pizza Rustica)

Pizza Gain is a meat-filled, savory pie that takes its inspiration from the Italian dish “pizzacrusta”.

The pizza crust of Pizza Rustica can be made with butter or lard and then topped off with tomato sauce before it’s baked. It will typically have cheese sprinkled on top as well for an extra flavor.

Greek Kreatopita

Making Kreatopita may seem like a simple task but it is one that has remained unchanged for thousands of years. Today, however, many people are using frozen pastry sheets to save time and improve their taste.

Kreatopita is a triangular, flaky pastry with a meat filling. You can eat it either sweet or savory.

Russian Pirogi

Russian pirogi is typically made from a yeast dough that’s stuffed with ground meat, diced onion and/or garlic, cabbage or sauerkraut. A potato is generally used as well to help bind the filling together. The pie will then be boiled in water before being baked for about an hour at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius).

Iranian Northern Khoroshte

The Iranian pie is made with a pastry dough that’s stuffed with ground meat, chopped onion, and diced potato. The filling will then be topped off by more of the same ingredients before it bakes for about 30 minutes in an oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius) to make the crust crispy and golden.

Moroccan Tajine Pie

The Moroccan pie is made with a pastry dough that’s stuffed with ground meat, chopped onion, and diced potato. The filling will then be topped off by more of the same ingredients before it bakes for about 30 minutes in an oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius) to make the crust crispy and golden.

Israeli Knish

The meat-filled Israeli pie is made with a pastry dough that’s stuffed with ground meat, chopped onion, and diced potato. The filling will then be topped off by more of the same ingredients before it bakes for about 30 minutes in an oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius) to make the crust crispy and golden.

Indian Meat Samosa

The Indian pie is made with a pastry dough that’s stuffed with ground meat, chopped onion, and diced potato. The filling will then be topped off by more of the same ingredients before it bakes for about 30 minutes in an oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius) to make the crust crispy and golden.

Chinese Sweet Meat Pie (a variant of Gui zhi rou si  in Mandarin, or Siu yat gau in Cantonese)

The Chinese pie is made with a pastry dough that’s stuffed with ground meat, chopped onion, and diced potato. The filling will then be topped off by more of the same ingredients before it bakes for about 30 minutes in an oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius) to make the crust crispy and golden.

British Pork Pie

Pork pies date back to the 13th century. They’re typically made with minced pork that’s mixed with breadcrumbs, onion, and other spices before it’s wrapped in pastry dough. It’ll then be baked for at least an hour so that the meat is cooked through as well as set into a crumble-like consistency. The pie is then eaten cold.

Irish Lamb Pie

Lamb pies date back to the 13th century. They’re traditionally made with minced lamb that’s mixed with breadcrumbs, onion and other spices before it’s wrapped in pastry dough or put into a pie shell. It’ll then be baked for at least an hour so that the meat is cooked through as well as set into a crumble-like consistency. The pie is then eaten cold.

FAQs

What are the 4 types of pies?

Savory pies are any dish that has a crust with a filling. There are four types of savory pie: cream, fruit, custard, and bloody.

What are meat pies called in America?

Despite the name, “meat pies” are typically not a type of pie at all instead they can mostly be found in two main forms – the pot pie or Jamaican patty.

What is a traditional pie in the UK?

One of the more traditional pies in England is a Pork Pie. It’s traditionally eaten cold and consists of thick and crumbly pastry surrounding pork filling.

What were meat pies originally called?

The first pies, called “coffins” or “coffyns” were savory meat pies with tall and straight-sided crust. Open-crust pastry (without tops or lids) are known as “traps”.

See also: Aussie Hand Pies: A Refreshing and Unique Treat

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