9-22: Meat Pie

Meat pies have been around for a LONG time (like 9500 BCE old, according to Wikipedia). They cross a lot of cultures and are featured in some fashion in most cuisines (even if they look somewhat different–for example, empanadaslahmacun, and samosas all are meat/pastry combinations from varied places). 9-22: Meat Pie is probably closest to the French Canadian tradition of meat pies, otherwise known as tourtière.

This one’s got some of my old notes on it–I’ve made this one before, about 6-7 years ago for my friend’s birthday party (the same friend from the 80s party in 1-22: Onion-Potato Diamonds). It was a “pie party” because he was (at the time) obsessed with the Keri Russell movie Waitress, which apparently has something to do with a lot of pies.

I made some adjustments to the recipe the first time (you can see those listed on the side), but this time, we’re going legit.

I wrote in my notes that I used a sun-dried tomato-and-herb version of the pie crust–I remember that I was learning to make pasta from scratch at that point, and had been doing a lot of sun-dried-tomato pasta doughs. If you’re interested in doing it that way, I’d suggest making the dough in the food processor and chopping the tomatoes up in there first.

I also noted that I added Worcestershire sauce and mushrooms to the meat. If I weren’t trying to adhere to the original recipe, I’d probably do that again–those flavors always make ground meat taste much more flavorful and savory.

Ingredients. Everything’s there except the milk (which I did use, I just forgot to put it in the photo). Only substitution is panko breadcrumbs for regular ones, which is mostly just because that’s what I have (and prefer). I used ground beef instead of pork, but you can use either (or even ground turkey too).

Making the dough in the food processor. If you do it this way, you know it’s ready when the dough starts pulling off the side of the bowl and rolls together in a ball on the blade. Add your water slowly (not all at once) while the processor’s running and stop it when you get to that ball stage.

Here’s where it hits that ball stage. There’s still a bit left on the sides, but you can use a bowl scraper to pull that up easily. Too much water and it’ll get gummy and sticky–too much flour and it gets tough, especially when it bakes.

Balled, wrapped, and refrigerated for an hour. Since this isn’t a yeast dough, it doesn’t really need to proof or expand. The chilling is to get the butter in the dough cold, which allows for air pockets in your dough when it bakes, leading to a flakier, lighter pastry.

While the dough chills, I start chopping onion for the filling.

I cheated and add a bit of brown sugar to my onion–I usually can’t resist caramelizing my onions a bit. They just taste so much better.

After the onions get to the right stage, I add in my garlic. If Cooking Mama taught me anything, it’s that if you start your onion and garlic at the same time, you’re gonna burn your garlic.

Browned my meat in the same pan (gotta get those residual pan flavors). This is a wide enough pan that the meat can brown quick enough without burning my already-cooked onions and garlic. Pan crowding is not your friend.

Chopping my celery.

Added my egg. Doesn’t say anything about beating it first, but it probably wouldn’t have been a terrible idea.

Post-egg addition–I was trying to mimic their second process shot with the wooden spoon/spatula.

Rolling out my now chilled and bisected dough.

Half of the dough is pressed into my pie pan, and panko’s sprinkled on the bottom.

Pie is filled with meaty goodness.

I decided to get a bit fancy with the crust and cut stars into it with some cutters I got for Christmas last year.

Brushed the top with egg wash–this’ll get it golden and shiny when it bakes.

After baking. Some of the stars look a little strange, but overall it’s not the worst thing ever.

Comes pretty easily out of the pan, and the crust looks pretty solid and even.

Final plated shot. It was delicious, filling, and kept well in the fridge. I highly suggest you make a meat pie–and make it however you want.

Grade: A