Friday, 16 May 2008

Meat and potato pie

Here's the last but one product of the veg box and my recent trip to the butcher - a meat and potato pie. A bit like a Cornish pasty filling with carrot (by this time quite dessicated) and swede (given away by the greengrocer it was looking so sorry for itself). It should feed 6 though I suspect four would make short work of it. It's equally good cold as hot - if not even better. It would make a great picnic pie.

The downside? It takes a fair time to make because it's best to chop the meat and vegetables by hand. If you had a sophisticated food processor with grating and slicing dish you could probably cut the preparation time in half but don't mince the meat.

Serves 6

400g beef skirt or lean braising beef, trimmed of fat
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 medium carrot, peeled
Half a small swede, peeled
450g potatoes, peeled (e.g. Desiree)
2 medium sized onions, peeled
1 level tsp fine sea salt
1 rounded tsp white or black peppercorns, freshly ground
For the pastry
250g plain flour
90g chilled butter
90g chilled Cookeen or other vegetable shortening
A good pinch of salt
4-6 tbsp iced water
1 medium egg, lightly beaten (for glazing the pie)
You will also need a large round shallow pie dish or a deep flan dish about 24-26 cm in diameter

Measure out the margarine or butter and lard, wrap each piece in foil and place in the freezer to harden for at least half an hour. Cut the beef into very small cubes, put in a large bowl and mix with the Worcestershire sauce. Cut the carrot and swede into similar sized cubes, quarter and finely slice the potatoes and finely chop the onion. Add the vegetables to the meat, season with salt and pepper and mix well.
Measure the flour into a bowl and grate in the semi-frozen fats, dipping each block into the flour as you go. Cut the fat into the flour until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs then sprinkle over 4 tbsp of the iced water. Work in the liquid with a flat-bladed knife, adding enough extra liquid to enable you to pull the mixture together into a ball. Put the pastry onto a floured board, shape it into a flat disc then place in a plastic bag and chill it in the fridge for half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Grease the inside of the pie dish lightly with butter, tip the filling into it and pack it down well. Moisten the rim of the pie dish with water. Roll out the pastry to a circle slightly wider than the diameter of the dish and carefully lay it over the meat mixture. Press it down lightly inside the rim and trim off any overhanging pieces with a sharp knife. Cut a slit in the centre of the pie and brush the surface with the beaten egg. Decorate the pie with the pasty trimmings. Bake the pie for 30 minutes then turn the heat down to 160°C/325°F/Gas 3 and bake for another 45 minutes to an hour depending on the depth of the dish, covering the pastry loosely with foil if it gets too brown. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before cutting into it. Or leave to cool and serve cold.


Drew Shiel said...

The trick with grating the half-frozen fats is genius. My hands are always too warm to make good pastry, but I think that might make the difference.

Fiona Beckett said...

An old Delia trick I have to admit, Drew!