Thursday, November 8, 2012

Biff Paj (Swedish Meat Pies)

Swedish meat pie, served with almond green beans.
Today was cold and dreary, and I was wanting to bake, and I was also craving comfort foods.  After thumbing through some recipes, as I was trying to figure out what to make, I stumbled across this favorite.  It hit the "want to bake craving," the "comfort food" criteria,  and also was a great dinner idea, so I decided to make Biff Paj (Swedish Meat Pies) for dinner.

Many years ago, I first had these at the Junction City Scandinavian Festival, and is one of my favorite treats from the festival. Swedish Meat Pies are rich, savory, and delicious! In the spirit of Paula Dean, I have to say that it's hard to go wrong with potatoes, cheese, butter and sour cream.

Swedish Meat Pies (Biff Paj)

Skill level: 

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Baking Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 6 meat pies


1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 pound ground beef (or turkey)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 pinch Hungarian paprika (regular is fine, as well)
2 large red potatoes, grated
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese 
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 cup cold unsalted butter
1 cup sour cream


  1. Melt the 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat. 
  2. Crumble in the ground beef and add parsley, allspice, dill, nutmeg, paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, and grated potatoes. Cook and stir until the meat is browned. 
  3. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese and 1/2 cup sour cream until melted. 
  4. Set aside to cool.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  6. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour and 1 teaspoon salt. 
  7. Mix in the 1 1/4 cup cold butter with a fork or pastry cutter until only pea sized lumps remain OR pulse ingredients in a food processor to get pea sized lumps. 
  8. Stir in 1/2 cup sour cream a little bit at a time until the dough holds together. Knead briefly on a lightly floured surface. 
  9. Divide into six equal portions, and pat into balls.
  10. Roll out each ball of dough to about 1/8 inch thickness, about 8 inches across.  They do not have to be pretty at this point, as they will be trimmed in step 13.
  11. Place a heaping 1/2 cup of filling onto each one.
  12. Fold over into half circles, and seal by moistening the edges with warm water and pressing together. 
  13. Trim edges so that the pies have a nice half circle shape, and crimp edges. 
  14. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  15. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown.

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