Monday, December 29, 2014

Beef Pie

Beef Pie
 My dear husband requested Meat Pie yesterday, and so today we had Beef Pie. 

It also nicely fulfills the Fortnightly Food Challenge #13 that I skipped out on over the holidays.  Foodways and cuisine are at the heart of every ethnic group around the world and throughout time. Choose one ethnic group, research their traditional dishes or food, and prepare one as it is traditionally made.
You can't get much more cuisine than French cuisine, and Monet's recipes are quinticential French cooking of the mid to late-19th century.
(spoiler alert: I failed miserably at an accurate recipe, but boy was it good!)

From "Monet's Table, The Cooking Journals of Claude Monet" by Claire Joyes comes Pate de boeuf.  You can buy the book here

I made a few adjustments for family dietary needs and availability, but this was GOOD.

Pate de boeuf
serves 6 (accurate)
4 oz lean ground chuck (we used ground beef)
1 onion
1 garlic clove
5 tomatoes peeled seeded & roughly chopped (whole canned, skins off)
1/2 c. parsley (1 tbsp - I'm nursing & parsley can cut milk supply)
1/2 c. fresh tarragon (1 tsp - it's all I had on hand)
2 oz bacon (2 slices - again, all I had)
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp unsalted butter (olive oil - son can't eat dairy)
2 c. flour
1/4 c. lard
1 egg yolk, beaten (I read this wrong & used the whole egg)

(I'm paraphrasing the instructions, if you want the originals I highly recommend reading the book)
Grind the first ingredients together up to the salt, using only 1/2 of it for this.
Saute the mixture in a skillet in the butter on medium low heat. Reserve.
Mix up the pie crust, the recipe says 1 c. cold water, but it only took 9 tbsp to do the job. Roll it into a ball, wrap in a damp cloth & wait 20 minutes. Roll it out, ball it, wrap it & wait another 20. Again. Cut in 1/2 and roll bottom crust, fill with meat, roll top crust. Poke a hole in the center for a steam vent (this says use cardboard to funnel the steam, I didn't). Brush with yolk.
375F oven for about 1 hr.  (ours cooked in 45 minutes)

Time: it should have taken longer, probably 3 hours total, but since I did a quick pie crust it was 2 hours all told. 
Cost: Around $10 or so.  The beef was most of that, followed by the tomatoes & onions.  If you had to buy everything, it would probably be about $30, but you'd have staples left over.
How accurate was it?  Well... everything was commercial, even the tomatoes, so honestly, not very.  I followed the recipe, but did no special research or effort into finding the right bacon, the proper flour, fresh anything... heck, I didn't even toss the stuff through the grinder because there wasn't enough volume to make it worth cleaning the thing - I doubt there was enough to get through the machine.  I also cut the herbs down a lot, I'm still nursing my son & parsley (among other things) can reduce milk supply, so I go easy on it.  It was good.
My mother was surprised at how little meat the recipe called for - this is accurate!  Don't be tempted to dump the entire package of hamburger in the pie.  It's a small thing, not a Super Sized Big Mac With Double Everything... OK?
Results: It's really good. Greasier than I'd hoped, but less than I expected.  Recipes in this book tend to run high to the grease/fat content, much richer than what we are used to in home cooking here in the states.  About the same as we get in restaurants, so for the most part they won't upset your stomach. 
I didn't let the crust settle like it says to do. I had made some up last week & it was in the fridge, knowing I had to use it I planned to use it for this... but it was nasty & I had to do a quick crust, so it was a little tougher than it otherwise would have been, but was still quite good & my toddler had no trouble munching his way through it.
The flavors are very fresh and distinct.  They clobber you a bit, but it is a sensory delight to eat.

Best part?  My kid said "Pie!" three times.  I even got one of them on video.