Pies. It’s a staple British dish, enjoyed on football terraces, in pubs and around dinner tables for as long as most of us can remember. What more could you want on a cold and grizzly evening.
Chicken and leek, steak and ale, cottage or even apple pie are such popular foods, great for all kinds of meals. In honour of British Pie Week our Group Executive Chef, Richie Hobdell, reveals two of his favourite pie recipes and a little history behind this much loved dinner staple.
A Little Slice of History
Pies are popular today but where did they come from? Historians don’t actually know the origins of the pie, but they have been known to date back as far as the ancient Egyptians. They can then be traced through history from the Romans to the Middle Ages, right through to the modern day.
Every generation has put different fillings in their pies, the Romans even put seafood in their pies. But overall, the pies have been savoury and mostly more crust than actual filling. This has changed recently, with sweet and fruit pies becoming more popular.
Once considered a poor mans dinner, using up the leftovers to make the ingredients go further, they now grace our tables with elegance, packed full with flavour!
Steak and Stout Pie
The beef and stout are the pairing together with a classic puff party top (you can use shortcrust or even suet if you prefer).
This recipe works just as good as a stew, and will geed four hungry mouths. Serve this with an extra creamy mash (you can never use too much butter in our opinion) and peas because you’ve got to have peas with a pie!
FOR THE FILLING
500g chuck steak, diced
3 medium brown onions, diced
1 large carrot, quartered and cut into 2cm long batons
flour for dusting
1 pint of stout, Guinness
1 tsp mushroom ketchup, (if you don’t have it, leave it out or use 1 tsp balsamic vinegar)
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of thyme
salt and pepper
Egg-wash for pastry – 1 egg and milk
We know some would consider it sacrilege, but sometimes there’s nothing wrong with using bough puff pastry (or whatever pastry crust you would prefer). If you would like to make you’re own pastry here are a few good options. Rough-puff, Suet, and Shortcrust
Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3
Add the carrots and onion to a casserole dish and colour over a medium heat
Dust the meat with the flour and add to the vegetables, stirring until the meat is browned all over. Once brown, add in the stout, mushroom ketchup and herbs. If the meat isn’t completely covered by the liquid, add some water, beef stock or event some extra stout until it’s just covered
Bring the liquid to the boil and only once boiling,place on a low shelf in the oven for 3–3.5 hours. Make sure you check it regularly to avoid overcooking; the meat is done when it is just about to fall apart at the touch.
Remove from the over and ladle the mixture into a shallow pie dish or four individual pie dishes should you prefer
Preheat your oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
Roll out the pastry to 1cm thickness and then carefully drape over the top of the pie tray. Trim the edges of the pastry and then crimp them using your thumb or a fork so the pastry lid is closed tightly.
Egg-wash generously before baking on a low shelf of the oven and bake for 35 – 40 minutes or until the pastry looks deliciously golden and flaky.
Although not a traditional pie as we know it, this is one of my favourite dishes from Turkey. Börek comes in all shapes and sizes and recipes vary from region to region but esentially these delicious snail shaped pastries are filled with seasonal greens and white cheese.
If you can, buy yufka from your local Turkish shop, but if you can’t find it,filo pastry works just as well. The traditional cheese for this is Sütdiyarı Picnic Börek Cheese but we’re using feta for as it’s readily available..
300g of spinach
200g of good quality feta, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
100g of melted butter, melted
8 sheets of yufka pastry, or filo pastry
salt and pepper for seasoning
2 tbs sesame seeds (optional)
Egg-wash for pastry – 1 egg and milk
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan and add the chopped onion, cooking until fragrant (roughly 3-5 minutes). Add the spinach, salt and pepper and cook over a medium heat, string occasionally until the spinach has lost most of its volume Once achieved, remove from the heat and set aside for 15 minutes.
Once cooled combine with the cheese until evenly mixed.
Take a sheet of yufka, place on a clean work surface and brush with melted butter. Lay another on top. Then, on one side of the pastry, brush a little more melted butter and lay a fresh sheet of yufka on top, so that it overlaps slightly with the two sheets already there (the idea is to make one long strip of yufka). In the end you will have four pieces of double layered yufka, overlapping in a line
Along the long edge of the pastry, begin to lay out your filling in a long sausage like line, continuing right to the other end of the pastry
Carefully roll the pastry up and around the filling until you end up with one long tube of pastry filled with the spinach, onion and cheese mixture.
Starting from one end curl the party tube up (like a snail) and place in a baking tray on tin. Don’t worry if your tin isn’t the right size or shape
Brush the borek with the egg-wash, sprinkle with the sesame seeds and cook for 25–30 minutes or until golden brown.
Since pies have been around for many thousands of years, you know that they are a tried and tested food that is popular with almost everyone. So when it comes to looking for food to entertain with, you simply can’t go wrong with a delicious pie.
Are you planning to try Richie’s recipes at home? We’d love to see your pictures, tag us on Instagram or tweet us @createfood