Although I’m not a particular fan of the 18th century poet, Robert Burns, tonight I decided to embrace my Scottish heritage and observe his birthday with a Burns Night celebration in my own way. Not with the traditional whiskey, haggis and poems, but at least with my version of a meat pie. The pie was simple and satisfying and I’m pretty sure that my Scot ancestors would love the thriftiness of this meal. I tried it two different ways, one a pot pie of sorts, and the other that was more like an English pasty, which, I realize, was probably sacrilege to my Scottish background, but at least gave a little nod to Sam’s British one. All in all, this was an easy and excellent way to use up ground beef and extra vegetables, although I wish I had saved more of the puff pastry to use up the leftover filling! One of these days, I promise I will make my own puff pastry, but to be honest, it will probably be when I have a real freezer, and then alas, no hotplate.
Meat Pie in Honor of Robert Burns
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
¾ lb. ground beef (or meat of your choice)
2 carrots, diced small
2 celery stalks, diced small
1 russet potato, diced small
2 tsp. tomato paste
1 c. chicken stock
salt & pepper
Heat oil in a heavy pan. Add the onions and sauté until tender. Add the garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add the ground beef and cook until completely browned, or about 10 minutes, then add the tomato paste and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the rest of the vegetables to the mixture and cook for an additional 10 minutes until the vegetables are just tender. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees, then pour the cup of chicken broth into the meat mixture. Allow it to simmer for roughly 15 minutes, or until the liquid has been completely absorbed. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
At this time, either prepare the puff pastry by cutting it into 8 squares, or by cutting it into two larger squares to cover whatever size ramekin you choose. Mine were 5 inches in diameter and because I used store bought, pre-cut dough, I used two squares of dough for the ramekins and then one each for the pasties.
For either version, make sure you brush the tops with egg wash and cut small slits in the dough. Bake for 25 minutes or until the puff pastry is completely golden.
In the end, I think I liked the way the pasties came out better than the pie, but that may have been due to the lovely ratio of puff pastry to meat.