Moroccan Lamb Pot Pie for National Pie Day

Moroccan Lamb Pot Pie from Ken Haedrich and The Pie Acacemy

Today is January 23rd, National Pie Day, the day America celebrates everything we love about pie.

It’s a great idea, one worthy of our indulgence. But I have often wondered what possessed the fine folks – who had the otherwise good sense to set aside a day for pie – to choose the month in question.

Indeed, unless I’m missing something, January has about as much claim to pie as July has to eggnog.

What pie, or pies, are we to consider on January 23rd? I-Don’t-Even-Need-The-Ice-Box Ice Box Pie? Blizzard Pie? (The eastern part of our nation will need that recipe this weekend.) Please-Not-Another-Apple Pie? 

Excuse me, but wouldn’t August…or perhaps October – when we’re flush with fresh, juicy fruit – seem to be a better fit?

No, there’s really only one pie that comes to mind in January – one that resonates with all of us when the temperature dips – and that’s pot pie. Warm and saucy, meaty and flaky, it’s got all the right adjectives for this time of year.

Moroccan Lamb Pot Pie from Ken Haedrich and The Pie Academy

So how about we celebrate National Pie Day and the chilly weeks ahead with Moroccan Lamb Pot Pie (and since you’re going to ask anyway, of course you can use beef instead.)

What’s it taste like? Imagine your favorite meaty stew with a whole lineup of exotic spices and favorite herbs like curry, cumin, allspice, ginger, fennel seed and rosemary.

You can almost smell it already, can’t you?

The No-More-Tears Pie Pastry Course

Brown your meat, add a boatload of veggies, then slow simmer everything in wine and beef stock. Pour a little wine for yourself and enjoy the moment. We’ll add a bit of thickener to give the sauce body. Now cool it all down. The hard part’s done, and the house smells like heaven.

Now you’ve got a choice to make: one crust or two? There’s no right answer, and I love my pot pies either way. If you’re feeling a little lazy, just use a top crust like I did for the pie pictured here. You’ll save some time and need less pastry. But if you and your gang are hardcore crust-aceans, you know what you have to do.

Assuming you’re making just lids, either the Good Basic Pie Dough or the Food Processor Pie Dough will yield enough pastry for 4 to 5 individual pot pies.

If you’re making 4 or 5 double crust pot pies, I would prepare a batch of Double Crust Shortening Pie Dough (click, then scroll way down) or the shells, and a separate batch of one of the above for the lids. Finally, this makes a perfectly acceptable one-pie dish, if you’d prefer to keep it simple and use a single 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie pan or similar-size casserole. 

Moroccan Lamb Pot Pie from Ken Haedrich and The Pie Academy

If it sounds like I’m hedging with regards to the individual pies, it’s because the exact amount of dough you’ll need depends on the size of your little pie pans, which can vary anywhere from 1 to nearly 2 cups in capacity.

So there you have it – a January pie you can really sink your teeth into, and one that makes perfect sense for National Pie Day. Though I’m not sure it’s what the creators of National Pie Day had in mind, or if they’d even approve.

But I do know this: it’s hard to argue with with a savory pot pie that warms you to the core and puts a big smile on your face.

Moroccan Lamb Pot Pie from Ken Haedrich and The Pie Academy

I couldn’t resist. Here’s the double-crust version I’ll be eating on Sunday.

RECIPE NOTES: As you may or may not have guessed, this Moroccan Lamb Pot Pie recipe is one of the more than 100 savory pies in my latest book, Dinner Pies (Harvard Common Press) which was released just before the holidays. If you love dinner pies as much as I do – hand pies and turnovers, galettes, quiches, pot pies like this one, shepherd’s pies, meat pies, savory strudels and cobblers – you’ll absolutely adore this savory collection. If you’d like to learn more about Dinner Pies, just click here. By the way, just this week Tulsa World had a nice write up on Dinner Pies, if you’d care to read it.

OTHER NOTES: The newly revised edition of my Maple Syrup Cookbook is also starting to make news in publications around the country. (See this recent review from the Portland Press Herald.) Decades ago, the little self-published version of this book helped launch my career. The gorgeous

Maple Syrup Cookbook by Ken Haedrich, Dean of The Pie Academy

new edition bears little physical resemblance to my original book, but the best recipes are still there – along with a dozen new ones – not to mention a ton of information about maple syrup legend and lore, profiles of maple producers across North America, new grading standards, and so much more of interest to cooks.

Moroccan Lamb Pot Pie


  • Enough pastry for 4 to 6 individual pot pies (see links and article above)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons light olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 12 ounces to 1 pound lamb or beef stew meat, in bite size pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 1 small rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 small russet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup rinsed and drained canned chickpeas
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons tomato paste (optional)
  • 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon milk, for glaze


  1. Prepare your dough as directed. A single batch of dough will make 4 (larger) to 6 (much smaller) pastry lids for as many individual pies. Divide the dough into 4 to 6 equal pieces and shape them into balls. Flatten to about 1/2-inch thick. Wrap individually in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 1/2 hours before rolling.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large stovetop casserole over medium heat. Add the meat and brown it, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate and set aside. Add another tablespoon or two of oil to the pot and stir in the onion, carrots, and celery; salt lightly. Sweat the vegetables for 5 minutes, keeping them partially covered to trap moisture
  3. Stir in the rutabaga, potato, garlic, and spices. Cook for 1 minute, stirring, then add the wine and bring to a low boil. Add the beef broth, chickpeas, rosemary, and bay leaf. Return the meat to the pot and bring the stew to a simmer. Cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
  4. Taste, adding salt and pepper as required. For starters, you'll probably need about 1/4 teaspoon salt, depending on the saltiness of your broth. Simmer, covered, for 10 more minutes.
  5. Combine the soft butter and flour in a small bowl, blending well with a spoon. Uncover the pot and continue to simmer gently for 10 minutes, gradually stirring in dollops of the butter mixture to thicken the liquid, which should become saucy and full-bodied. Taste, stirring in tomato paste to taste. Set the pot aside for several minutes, then transfer the filling to a shallow casserole dish to cool it off more quickly. Cool to room temperature. It may also be refrigerated if you want to assemble the pot pies the next day.
  6. When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°F. Put a large baking sheet on the center oven rack while the oven heats. Lightly butter or oil your 4 to 6 individual pot pie dishes.
  7. Divide the filling evenly among the buttered pans. Working with one piece of dough at a time - and leaving the other in the fridge - roll it out about 1-inch larger than the diameter of your pan. Drape the dough over the filling. You can let the edge of the pastry drape over the sides of the dish, or you can tuck the pastry down next to the filling. Using the tip of a paring knife or a toothpick, poke the pastry several times to make steam vents. Repeat for the other pies. Lightly brush the pastry with egg wash.
  8. Place the pies on the baking sheet and bake on the middle oven shelf until the filling is bubbly and the top is golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes. (Double crust pies will need about 45 minutes.) Transfer the pies to a cooling rack and cool for 10 minutes before serving. Makes 4 to 6 servings.