As Seen On TV! Season 1 Episode 11 “The Secret Life Of… Pies” on Food Network, 2003.

Host Jim O’Connor had a fun-loving persona on the show, but was quite serious about reading my write-up before the camera rolled, and asked the good questions.

This is not low calorie. This is not low fat. This is low tech!


4 cups plain flour

1/2 pound chopped beef suet. [Back in the day, if you had beef, you probably also had its fat. Or just use one cup of vegetable shortening.]

1 Tablespoon salt

water to mix [also varies; can be up to 1 cup]

Mix chopped suet with flour and salt. Mix with hands or electric mixer set to lowest setting. Add water, a little at a time, until a pliable dough forms. Go ahead, handle it A LOT. This is not supposed to be light flaky confection, this is not only part of the “baking pan” for the meat and potatoes, it’s also the “lunchbox.” Tensile strength is a plus.

Divide into 6 evenly sized dough-balls and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap; there is more water than usual in this dough and the refrigerator will dry it out into un-rollable rocks.


2 pounds beef. A nice cheap chuck pot roast is ideal.

2 medium potatoes

2 small turnips

1 onion

1 Tablespoon Salt

1 Tablespoon Pepper.

Cut the beef, potatoes, turnips and onion into small bite-sized bits, under 1 inch dice. Mix it all up with the salt and pepper.


Roll out the dough balls into rounds about 8 inches in diameter. Wet down the edges of each circle with water, about 1-2 inches from the edge. Place a goodly handfull of filling into the circle of dough, fold over and seal the edges. Fold once, wetting it down some more if you have to in order to get a good seal. Crimp decoratively with your fingers. Place on an ungreased baking sheet, brush with milk or beaten egg for good color, and bake for about one hour at 350 degrees F or until well browned.

Susan Fox
Susan Fox

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