I got it into my head to learn to make English meat pies. I haven’t had any from Thwaites Market in Methuen in a very long time and had a hankering. Not to mention I have been watching a LOT of British television lately, perhaps it is a side effect. I bought some meat and veg and made sure I had plenty of flour and lard. I think one of the reasons I like to cook British foods is that it rarely calls for a rare ingredient.
The first batch stuck close to traditional recipes of Raised pork pies and Cornish Pastys, I even tried a few cheese and onion. But I am not a fan of pork as such and I may have to revisit those with a more sausage flavored profile. But the Cheese and Onion without potato is something I liked very much, with potato it is more like a knish and less like a quiche. When I restock the Cheddar cheese I will make more.
Recipes and I don’t get along very well, I am always making alterations based on what’s handy and personal preference. Traditional Cornish Pasty has large bits of beef, minimal seasoning and is a large entree sized portable pie. I prefer the snack sized, I also prefer smaller bits of beef, carrots and less turnip, and more seasoning, basically I don’t like large pieces to fall out after every bite.
Final result of this weekend’s baking is that this is my favorite variation on the British Meat pie, and one I will continue to make in the coming year. Inside this is minced beef, carrots, turnip (rutabega), potato, and onion, all diced small, parsley, salt & pepper (I use my own mix of salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder) and a sprinkling of flour.
The key to it all is the pastry. 1 lb flour, 4oz butter, 4oz lard, salt to taste, and several tablespoons of hot water to form a dough. Paint everything with beaten egg to get things to stick shut and glaze nicely, this makes a great portable and tasty crust. And yes you need the lard, I even rub all my tins down with it so they don’t get rusty.
Bake 45-50 minutes in 350-400 degree oven; my counter top oven runs slow so your results may vary.