Cheesy Sloppy Joe Hand Pies.
Saucy, spicy, sweet, and salty Sloppy Joe filling and sharp cheddar cheese are tucked inside pockets of tender sour cream pastry that’s so buttery and flaky you might be tempted to compare it to a croissant.
Sloppy Joe sandwiches are one of those things most of us associate with being a kid. We either ate them as kids or make them for our kids, but they aren't the kind of thing we think of as "adult food". This, I'd like to point out, is strange, inconsistent, and tragic because the entire concept of a Sloppy Joe is awesome.
Set aside for a moment any negative Sloppy Joe experiences you've had in your life (school cafeterias especially) and think only about the basic idea: Beef cooked in a thick, rich sauce and served over a (preferably) toasted roll. Meat + Sauce + Bread = delicious. This, I believe is a self-evident fact, as evidenced by how many versions of this formula exist. Pot pie, French dip, pot roast, or hot turkey sandwiches with gravy, stew and biscuits, chicken and dumplings, BBQ pork sandwiches.... just to name a few.
I think Sloppy Joes get kind of a bad rap because they are often, unfortunately, made badly. Sloppy Joes made an appearance on my elementary school's hot lunch menu at least once a month and I swear they were nothing but unseasoned ground beef and canned tomato sauce served on soggy, nutritionless white bread. I'll bet many of you have similar memories.
So, let me just say that these Sloppy Joe hand pies are nothing - NOTHING - like that. Here's what they ARE:
- Simple. The filling takes less than 10 minutes of hands-on time, and less than 15 minutes of cook time. Plus, many of the ingredients are things we tend to have in our pantries and refrigerators most of the time. The pastry is made in the food processor and requires no kneading. Just mix it up, let it chill in the refrigerator for a bit, then roll it out. It's a sticky dough, so you'll want to use quite a bit of flour on your work surface - but it rolls out easily and bakes up gorgeously flaky.
- Sugar free. A good Sloppy Joe should be slightly sweet. More accurately, it should be a balanced combination of sweet, salty, acid, and spice. I've seen Sloppy Joe recipes that include as much as a tablespoon or two of sugar per serving, and I mean, I can hardly be accused of being anti-sugar, but that seems unnecessary. I like the idea of being mindful of the sugar in our life and not just using out of habit when something else might work just as well, or even better. In my kitchen's baking drawer, you'll find a bag of Steviva Blend right next to the bag of granulated sugar, on hand at all times for exactly this reason. Steviva Blend is sweeter than sugar, so you only need half as much, and does the job of adding essential sweet notes to Sloppy Joe sauce without the negative side affects associated with sugar. You can, of course, use regular sugar and the sky will not fall. 🙂
- Awesome to have on hand whether you have kids or not. These reheat really well - about 45 seconds in the microwave - making them super awesome to have on hand for a quick lunch or snack. Bring one to the office for lunch. Grab one to eat in the car while you rush off to this or that. Keep a few in the fridge for after school snacks. On that point: sometimes it makes sense to intentionally make leftovers. This is one of those times. If you have hungry people in your house that insist on eating every day (😉) double the recipe and make a few extra.
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- Ham and Cheese Hand Pies
Used in this recipe:
- Steviva Blend can be found in many grocery stores and on Amazon.
- To cut out the pastry dough, I used a 4 & ½-inch round pastry cutter from this Double Sided Round Cutter Set.
FOR THE PASTRY:
- ½ cup sour cream (full fat)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup ice water
- 2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon Steviva Blend - OR - 4 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon milk
FOR THE SLOPPY JOE FILLING:
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 tablespoon steak seasoning blend
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon each salt and ground black pepper
- 2 ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- 8 oz tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon Steviva Blend - OR - 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
- 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, seeds removed and diced
- 6 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated or thinly sliced
MAKE THE PASTRY:
- Add the sour cream, apple cider vinegar, and ice water to a measuring cup and stir to combine.
- Add the flour, salt, and Steviva Blend (or sugar) to the bowl of a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the flour and pulse 5 or 6 times, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few pea sized pieces of butter scattered throughout.
- Pour the sour cream mixture into the bowl, and pulse just until the dough begins to come together. Dump the mixture into a large bowl and gently squeeze together with your hands just until it forms a cohesive dough; do not not overwork the dough.
- Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.
- Add the egg and milk to a small bowl and whisk to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble the hand pies.
MAKE THE SLOPPY JOE FILLING:
- Heat the oil in a large heavy bottom saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the ground beef, steak seasoning, onion powder, salt, pepper, and minced garlic. Stir to combine and cook until the ground beef is browned, about 2 minutes.
- Add the tomato sauce, Steviva Blend (or sugar), Worcestershire, mustard, molasses, and chipotle peppers to the pan and stir to mix. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down slightly and let simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the sauce is rich and thick. Taste and add more salt, pepper, or another chopped chipotle pepper, if desired.
- Pour the sloppy Joe mixture into a bowl and let sit for 10-15 minutes to allow it to cool slightly.
ASSEMBLE AND BAKE THE PIES:
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and remove the pastry dough and egg wash from the refrigerator. Roll half the dough out to a ¼-inch thickness on a floured work surface. This is a sticky dough; flour the surface of the dough and the work surface as necessary to keep it from sticking. Using a large 4 & ½-inch round pastry cutter, cut out as 9 circles, re-rolling the scraps as necessary.
- Lay the circles on the parchment lined baking sheet and distribute the cheese and sloppy Joe filling between them, piling both in the center of the pastry circles.
- Roll out the other half of the dough and cut out 9 more circles. Top the pies with these circles, using your fingers to press their edges together slightly. Use the tongs on a fork to go around the edges of each pie, crimping them together.
- Brush each pie with the egg wash and place the tray in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the pies for 35 - 60 minutes, until the tops of the pies are golden brown.
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