Jun 14, 2009

Pioneer Pie


It’s a bit chilly and rainy here today in my little country below sea-level. As soon as the weather takes a turn for the worst I always seem to fall back on casseroles, stews and and soups. Can you say predictable? I must admit, though; I don’t really stick to seasonal dishes. I’ll eat stews and chili con carne during summer just as easily as I eat salads or gazpacho during winter.

I’m a big fan of the classic Shepherd’s pie—or any other pie you can make ahead of time—but you need more pies in your recipe box to choose from. This Pioneer Pie will definitely please those of you who love down to earth, simple, honest and hearty food. That’s basically what Dutch food is all about. I guess it explains the name Pioneer Pie, as some of the Pilgrims came to the US from the Netherlands.

It’s no fancy cooking or haute cuisine, but it’s so filling it will surely keep you from raiding the fridge, or cookie jar, only two hours after dinner.





1 pound potatoes
2 medium sized carrots
1 leek
1/4 cup milk
pepper & salt


Meat & Vegetable mix:

1 onion
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp oil
4 oz bacon
8.5 oz ground beef (or ground turkey)
3 tbsp BBQ sauce
12oz can white beans in tomato sauce
Worcestershire sauce
grated cheese



* I’ve made a pie for two (and a half). Adjust the quantities to suit your needs.

So what do I do when it rains and I get bored? Well, like any other sane, normal and mature 35-year-old woman… I draw puppets on rainy windows. Or letters. Don’t you?


Or I cook. Let’s start with the topping. Mashed potatoes and vegetables.


Peel the potatoes and carrots. Slice only the white and very light-green part of your leek and give everything a rough chop.


Until you end up with a chopping board full of pretty colored vegetables.


Wash the vegetables and boil them in lightly salted water, for about 15 minutes. Depending on how big you’ve chopped them, of course.

My grandma always said “If you’ve got it, flaunt it“. So here I am, shamelessly flaunting my Jamie Oliver pans. Blame grandma!


I’ve seasoned 8.5 oz lean ground beef with 1/2 a tsp salt, lots of pepper and a few drops worcestershire sauce. Our Dutch BBQ sauces are more sweet than smokey, so omit the worcestershire sauce if your BBQ sauce provides plenty smokiness. Knead until all the flavors have blended together.


Here’s roughly 4oz finely chopped bacon. I didn’t chop it; they sell it like this here for lazy bloggers, like me.


Behold 1 chopped onion and a decent sized grated garlic clove.


Heat 2 tbsp oil and cook the bacon for about 3 minutes. Add the onion and cook until the onion starts to brown. That’s when you throw in the garlic and cook everything for an additional minute.


Get your ground beef in there as well, and break it up in coarse pieces. Cook the ground beef until it loses its rawness. If there’s a lot of fat, just drain it. We don’t have drive-through angioplasty yet, so look after yourself a little, okay!


Grab your BBQ sauce of choice. This happens to be mine. I like to judge a book by its cover, and well, this sauce bottle just looks so sassy. Oh, it tastes good to boot. Add 3 slightly heaping tbsp to the ground beef.


Stir it in and let the beef mix simmer, over low heat, for about 5 minutes.


Your potatoes will probably be done by now. Drain them and coarsely mash them.


Pour in 1/3 cup of milk and season the puree with salt and pepper. Or Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, as I like to do.


This is what the BBQ beef will look like after 5 minutes. Time for the next ingredient.


A good old fashioned can of white beans in tomato sauce. Believe it or not, but this is my kinda food. I could eat it straight from the can.


Stir to combine. Pop the lid on and simmer, over low heat, for 10 minutes.


This is what it’s going to look like after 10 minutes.


Transfer the beef and beans to a baking dish.


Top it with the mashed potatos & vegetables. Don’t flatten it out, it just looks prettier when you draw some peaks here and there. Sprinkle a good handful of bread crumbs on top.


Grate some of your favorite cheese and sprinkle it right on top of the breadcrumbs. No set quantities, just go with what feels good to you.


Bake the pie at 350F (180C) for about 25 to 30 minutes. Until the cheese has melted. You can leave it in the oven if you want a brown crust on top, I never really do; I prefer eating it when the cheese has just melted and the breadcrumbs have a slight bite to them. Potato peaks can dry out so easily when you let them brown.


This is soul food, people. Plain and simple.


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    1. 1

      You have the best recipes and even make a pie look gorgeous. Printing the recipe card right now.

      Mandy on Jun 14, 2009 @ 7:21 pm Reply
    2. 2

      That looks so yummy!!

      Paige on Jun 14, 2009 @ 7:31 pm Reply
    3. 3

      I’ve seen some similar dishes but yours seriously looks superior ;) Can’t wait to try this :D

      Claudia on Jun 14, 2009 @ 7:44 pm Reply
    4. 4

      My husband will LOVE this one! He’s always begging for casseroles. Thanks for sharing!

      Erin on Jun 14, 2009 @ 7:54 pm Reply
    5. 5

      Yum, that looks amazing, can’t wait to try it.

      Jacky on Jun 14, 2009 @ 8:43 pm Reply
    6. 6

      Wow, you have every good thing in this – I have never thought of the very good addition of beans in such a dish. I love it! I too love eating dishes out of season – so to speak.

      I giggled at the title, musing – Oh, I bet P.W. will have something called Dutch Pie up soon! I consider it a sort of kindred spirits thing…that you two think alike at times. :D

      Made the sausages with tomato/basil tonight, it was amazing and to have something so simple get raves from my four; man and boys – is a huge deal! It IS a must with bread! Dank U Wel!

      elizabethk on Jun 14, 2009 @ 9:01 pm Reply
    7. 7


      I had to grin when I typed the name, but it is actually the original name for this pie :)

      We polished off an entire Turkish flatbread the last time we had the sausages, it’s so good to dip the bread in those juices.

      Kay on Jun 14, 2009 @ 9:05 pm Reply
    8. 8

      I adore shepherd’s pie – it’s a great childhood memory for me – and recently I made it again after years of not eating it. Here’s the recipe for my version:


      Can’t wait to try your recipe!

      Michele Morris on Jun 14, 2009 @ 9:36 pm Reply
    9. 9

      That looks amazing! I have one question though, I don’t think we have the white beans in red sauce here in the USA (if I’m wrong let me know USA residents). Should I just substitue canned white beans and add in a little tomato sauce?

      Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary on Jun 14, 2009 @ 9:53 pm Reply
    10. 10

      @Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary:

      That’s precisely what I would do, Lisa! I even made this with canned white beans and ketchup that I diluted with a little vegetable broth!

      Kay on Jun 14, 2009 @ 10:03 pm Reply
    11. 11

      Isn’t van camp’s pork and beans in tomato sauce?
      Here is a pic
      That looks great Kay :)

      arrisje on Jun 15, 2009 @ 12:41 am Reply
    12. 12

      Lea & Perrin? where is the Maggi? LOL

      Deb on Jun 15, 2009 @ 2:46 am Reply
    13. 13

      What a comforting dish! The flavors looks so rich and delicious.

      Cookin' Canuck on Jun 15, 2009 @ 6:08 am Reply
    14. 14


      With chronic hypertension, I tend to steer clear from the maggi :)

      Kay on Jun 15, 2009 @ 7:25 am Reply
    15. 15

      This looks so good! I know what I am making for dinner tonight! I love the idea of the vegtables in the mashed potatoes, what a great way to sneak nutritious veggies into my daughter’s dinner :)

      Desiree on Jun 15, 2009 @ 8:55 am Reply
    16. 16


      Lately I sneak vegetables into almost anything. The kid has no clue that his belOved pancakes are spiked with carrot and cauliflower puree either :)

      Kay on Jun 15, 2009 @ 8:57 am Reply
    17. 17

      forgot the “e” in vegetable…had to comment on it! It was driving me crazy the second after I hit submit and realized my typo!

      Desiree on Jun 15, 2009 @ 8:58 am Reply
    18. 18

      This looks awesome, Kay! I do a similar casserole and I love that you just get up and pop it in the oven!

      Melissa on Jun 15, 2009 @ 12:23 pm Reply
    19. 19

      Wow, my guys will absolutely love this! I love shepherd’s pie, too, and this has got a great twist to it.

      The Italian Dish on Jun 15, 2009 @ 2:43 pm Reply
    20. 20

      This looks really tasty! I like the use of the beans in it.

      Kevin on Jun 15, 2009 @ 3:47 pm Reply
    21. 21

      Ok, this looks so good that I guess I have to quit lurking and comment. I’ve got my eye on the sky in my new home of Amsterdam, waiting to see if this day will shape up to be dreary enough for a good comfort recipe, or whether the sun will burst through the clouds. I have to say, I’m torn about what I hope will happen…

      Bonnie on Jun 15, 2009 @ 4:10 pm Reply
    22. 22


      It’s no better here than it is in A’dam. It didn’t rain this afternoon, but it’s just so overcast.

      Kay on Jun 15, 2009 @ 5:12 pm Reply
    23. 23

      Hello I am Portuguese and I found your blog by chance also have a blog that is (os meus sabores blogspot.com) I hope you visit.

      celia on Jun 15, 2009 @ 9:14 pm Reply
    24. 24

      This sounds so delicious. Nice to find a different variation to Shepherd’s Pie which is delicious, also.
      BY THE WAY………not sure about anyone else out there having this trouble…….Your RSS feed is not working. All other sites I have RSS feed on are working just fine. I’ve tried a few things to see if it’s on my end but it’s not.

      Pamela on Jun 16, 2009 @ 12:38 am Reply

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