Old-Fashioned Pioneer Pie

Old-Fashioned Pioneer Pie
Old-Fashioned Pioneer Pie

If you thought that ground beef casserole recipes couldn't get any more hearty or comforting, think again. This recipe for Old-Fashioned Pioneer Pie is the perfect meal to make for your family during the cold autumn and winter months. This easy casserole recipe is a twist on shepherd's pie that you are sure to love. Though the title of this recipe may have you thinking of covered wagons and the Oregon Trail, it is actually inspired by Dutch pilgrims.

The base of this easy casserole recipe combines ground beef, bacon, and beans. The beef mixture is held together by a flavorful sauce made from barbecue sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Before baking in the oven, the ground beef mixture is topped with a flavorful vegetable mash made from potatoes, carrots, and leeks. The entire casserole gets a sprinkling of breadcrumbs and cheese before baking until golden brown.



  • 1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium leek, or 1 small white onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 strips bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons smoky barbecue sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 (15-ounce) can white beans in tomato juice and seasonings
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped parsley


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a deep-dish pie plate with cooking spray.

  2. Place the potatoes, carrots, and leeks in a large pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to medium and cook for 20 to 25 minutes until the vegetables are extremely soft. Drain well. Place the vegetables into the bowl of an electric mixer and mix on medium speed, gradually adding the milk, salt, and pepper, mashing until smooth.

  3. Meanwhile, in a 10-inch skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until it is cooked but not crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and in the resulting fat cook the onion for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute.

  4. Add the ground beef and stir to break up clumps, cooking 5 to 7 minutes until the beef is browned. Add the barbeque sauce and Worcestershire sauce and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in the beans. Cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes to blend flavors.

  5. Spoon the meat mixture into the prepared pie plate. Smooth the mashed vegetables on top.  Stir bread crumbs, Parmesan, and parsley together and sprinkle on top.  Bake about 30 minutes to heat everything through and lightly brown the top.  

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I love that you added beans to this dish instead of using just beef. I like adding protein without all the meat sometimes to keep the dishes as healthy as I can. I love this idea, and will definitely be trying it out this weekend. Thanks for the filling meals inspiration!

As usual, I made some substitutions, but I'm sure this recipe is just as good as written. I use what I have from the garden or on hand. I used one pound of ground venison, and used 6 strips of bacon (ours is lean and I need more to get enough fat) I pulsed the crispy bacon in the food processor with the cheese and used that as the topping...no breadcrumbs. Also I used white beans from the garden...precooked and frozen.

At first, I was put off by the long ingredients list, but it looks like a lot of the ingredients are just herbs and spices that add a lot of amazing flavor to this dish. I love the old-fashioned comfort - reminds me of a dish that my grandma used to make!


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