For some reason yesterday morning, I got the urge to taste a good old-fashioned meat pie. Perhaps it is the Winter feeling that has come over everything with the switch to chillier weather, rain, and the delightful seasonal hint of vegetative decay in the air… I was in a strong maker-mood and so this urge built into the desire to make the thing for real with my own hands. I had leeks and beef in mind, but it is not time for leeks yet in the Hollywood Farmer’s market, so I picked up some red potatoes, two types of mushrooms (shitakes and white buttons), two red peppers, some yellow onions and some garlic (forgot to get some green onions), and returned home (after stopping at Trader Joe’s for some good tenderloin beef).
I made some flaky pastry (half butter half shortening this time… figure it would be better for holding the heavy savoury filling I’d planned – see earlier posts for other pastry discussions) – enough to cover a nine inch pan twice, and popped the two balls of dough into the refrigerator and then got on with some other tasks. Since I was in strong hands-on mood this involved sawing the legs off the giant movable film screen I made some years back and then re-attaching them with hinges, and locking mechanisms to make them fold-away-able – makes the whole thing easier to pack away (I don’t like my living room dominated by large TV or other types of screens as a permanent fixture… I’m weird, yes…)
Anyway, later on I assembled the whole thing, after reading around for a few minutes to see other examples of meat pies and deciding on an approach that borrowed from several… I decided to do it in a pie dish (as opposed to making Cornish pasty style pies) and so rolled out and positioned one layer of pastry and blind-half-baked it, (I put a saucer on the bottom to keep it flat), figuring it would fortify it somewhat. While that was going on I fried the (earlier seasoned/marinated) beef in butter for a little while (until still medium rare in the middle) and then set them aside, cutting the results into cubes… then I did the mushrooms, garlic, and onions in some butter too, in the beefy pan…then put them aside… Then in went the potatoes (peeled, diced – same pan… more butter, seasonings)… then put the beef back in, added the chopped peppers, and let them cook slowly down with a cover, after throwing in a tiny bit of water.
Then it all went into the pie (I’d taken the blind baked case out of the oven by mow of course) and then I made the cover. The whole thing got brushed with a beaten egg (I removed most of the white) and popped into the oven for 15 minutes, with tasty results. Hurrah! urge satisfied! Here’s a gallery of the process (click any photo for larger view).