Chinese Pie


Chinese pie.

Or, as it was called around my house growing up, Chinese dish.

Yeah. I know. It doesn’t make sense.

It certainly doesn’t look like Chinese food.

It certainly doesn’t taste like Chinese food.

It is a recipe that was passed down from my grandmother, whose parents were French Canadian.

After years of wondering… I did a little research and found out that “Chinese pie” (or otherwise known as Pâté Chinois) is actually a very popular French Canadian dish. And, according to Wikipedia (my trusted source for all vitally important information haha):

Pâté Chinois is not a Chinese recipe. One possible explanation for the ‘Chinese’ reference is that it was introduced to French Canadian railway workers by Chinese cooks during the building of the North American railroads in the late 19th century. These cooks made it under instruction from the railway bosses (of English extraction) as an easily-prepared, inexpensive version of the popular cottage pie, with the sauce in the tinned creamed-corn serving as a substitute for the gravy. The French Canadian railway workers became fond of it and brought the recipe back with them to their home communities. From there it was brought to the textile mill communities of Maine (Lewiston, Maine), New Hampshire (Manchester, New Hampshire), Massachusetts (e.g. Lowell and Lawrence) and Rhode Island (Woonsocket, Rhode Island) where many French Canadians immigrated to work in the mills during the early 20th century.

Which completely explained everything as my Grandma was raised in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.

Hence, Chinese dish.

That is your history lesson for the day…now let’s make some Chinese pie!

Here is what you will need:

1 lb of lean ground beef

Peas (frozen or canned)

Corn (frozen or canned) whole kernel or cream corn…whichever your prefer.

Mashed Potatoes. (Milk, butter, paprika, salt, pepper. that sort of thing.)


Preheat oven to 350*.


Peel and cut three large potatoes.

1Boil the potatoes until tender… 25 minutes or so.

3Meanwhile, brown the meat.

6Once meat is browned, fill the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish.

7Next, layer the corn.


And then the peas.

10Set aside.

Time to make some mashed potatoes.

11Drain and start mashing.

12Add your butter and milk. I added around 2 tbsp of butter and a half cup of milk with salt and pepper to taste. But I’m not going to tell you how to make your mashed potatoes. That’s personal.

13Layer the mashed potatoes and sprinkle a little paprika on top.

Pop it in the oven for 25 minutes.

Set the oven to broil for the last 1-2 minutes to crisp the outer layer.

14It is ready! Cut up into squares…and don’t be afraid to scoop it out.


But Chinese dish would not be complete without a squirt of ketchup.

Don’t argue with me.

Just try it.

They don’t sound like they go together…but they do. Beautifully.

Simple but tasty.

And oh so easy-PEASy.

I apologize. I had to.

Bon appétit!


Be Sociable, Share!

  • elamae

    bon appetit! really looks so good. and its easy to do. thanks for sharing it!

  • Amy

    I have always called it chinese pie growing up too and everyone always looked at me like I was from another planet… glad to see I am not alone!

  • Mel B

    I grew up on Chinese Pie.  My grandmother was from Tiverton, Rhode Island and my Mom grew up in Massachusettes.  So nice to know I’m a) not crazy for calling it that and b) I’m not alone.  there are other Chinese pie lovers out there.  My sons love it!