"Chinese Pie" is a French Canadian—and later New England—name for a pie or casserole made with layers of ground beef, corn, and potatoes. It's very similar to a cottage pie or shepherd's pie. One theory for the Chinese part of the name is that Chinese workers might have first introduced the "pie" to Canadian railway workers in the late 19th century as an adaptation of the English style shepherd's pie.
This slow cooker version puts sliced potatoes over a beef and gravy layer, and then it is topped with the corn mixture. We used canned and drained sliced potatoes in this dish. If you use raw sliced potatoes, slice them very thinly. It will take a little longer to cook the casserole with raw potatoes.
There are several versions of the original mixture, including one with a layer of pickled eggs or beets. In some versions, ketchup is mixed into the ground beef. A gravy mix seasons and thickens this version.
- 1 pound lean ground beef (about 85 to 90 percent)
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper (green, red, or a combination)
- 1 (0.87 oz) packet gravy mix (brown, onion, or mushroom)
- 2 (15 oz) cans sliced potatoes, drained, or about 3 cups thinly sliced peeled potatoes (2 cans=30 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
- 1 (14.75 oz) can cream-style corn
- 1 (12 oz) can whole kernel corn (drained)
In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef, breaking up and turning, for about 3 minutes. Add the onion and bell pepper and continue cooking, stirring, until the onion is translucent, and the beef is no longer pink.
Using a slotted spoon or spatula, transfer the ground beef mixture to the slow cooker. Sprinkle with the gravy mix.
In a bowl, toss the drained sliced potatoes with the melted butter, about 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, and about 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Arrange the potatoes over the beef and gravy layer.
Combine the cream-style corn with the drained kernel corn in a bowl; mix well. Pour the corn over the potatoes and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Cover the slow cooker and cook on LOW for about 4 hours. If using raw sliced potatoes allow an extra 2 to 3 hours, or cook until the potatoes are fork-tender.