British Pie Week – A Spanish Inspired pie

It’s British Pie Week and so I decided to cook my own delicious pie to celebrate (any excuse!).  I had some beef and chorizo lurking in my fridge so I thought I’d have a go at creating my own version of Pieministers delicious Matador Pie which I enjoyed rather a lot when I tried it.  Sadly they’re not available round here apart from at the odd food festival.

I started things off by cooking my filling which, for two individual pies, consisted of:

  • an onion
  • A couple of garlic cloves
  • about 120g of diced beef
  • 25g of chorizo
  • two tomatoes
  • some sweet smoky paprika
  • Madeira
  • half a tin of butter beans (about 120g)
  • half an oxo cube
  • a heaped teaspoon of flour

First I finely chopped the onion and the garlic before softening them in the pan.  I then cut my chunks of beef down from inch cubes to cm cubes and similarly chopped my chorizo into small pieces before adding these to the onions.  My plan was to have everything nice and small in the sauce so that I could get more in the pie and hopefully have a nice even top.  I had, of course, forgotten just how big butterbeans are (Doh!)

When the meat was starting to brown and the chorizo was giving up its wonderful oil, I added the finely chopped flesh of two tomatoes.  This was followed by half an oxo cube, a heaped teaspoon of plain flour and a half a teaspoon of sweet smoked paprika.  I gave everything a good mix for a minute or so which allowed the flour to cook. Then I  added a tablespoon of Madeira (Yes, I know this is actually Portuguese and so probably some kind of major insult to the Spanish, but I didn’t have any sherry in the house!).Making the filling: Adding the meat; then the tomatoes, then the oxo flour and paprka, then the MaderiaFinally I added 150ml of water to make the gravy, and the drained butterbeans, then left everything to bubble away on a low heat for an hour and a half.

With the water added ready to simmer for a while

With the filling cooking I set about making the pastry.  Having decided to make a lovely rich rough puff pastry (no point in doing things by halves, pies should be naughty and filling!).  For this I needed:

  • 4oz of Flour (I only know how to make pastry in imperial!), plus extra for dusting
  • 3oz of butter (the proper stuff, margarine does not work well in pastry, it’s too soft!)
  • a bit of salt and pepper
  • enough water to bind.

I started off by seasoning my flour with salt and pepper before adding enough water to just about create a dough (you don’t want this to be sticky or you will get in trouble!).  Then I rolled this dough out into an approximation of a rectangle before adding on top some of the butter (1/2 to 3/4 oz) in small pieces.  The rectangle was then folded onto itself in thirds before being turned and rolled out again.  This was repeated until all the butter was in the pastry.

If you can keep this cool while you’re doing it, it’s so much easier as the butter will start to ooze out when it gets warm.  You also need to keep your work surface and rolling pin well floured to stop the pastry sticking.  Once I had incorporated all the butter the pastry went into the fridge for about 10 minutes to make sure it was nice and cool.

Making my pastry

Once the pastry had rested, I was able to roll it out to line my moulds (I was using my ramekins in which I made the individual toad in the holes).  Keeping about a quarter to one side to make the lids, I divided the rest in two before rolling each piece out into something approaching a circle.

My ramekins were luckily non stick and there was plenty of fat in the pastry so I didn’t need to grease them.  This meant I could move straight onto trying to manhandle the pastry into the ramekins.  Rather than go for an overly neat approach, I decided that I didn’t want to waste any pastry and left some handing over the edges.  It may have also been a little thicker in some places than others, but there’s no shame in a rustic style pie!

Filling the pies and topped and ready to go in the oven

Filling the pies and topped and ready to go in the oven

With the pastry in the ramekins I added a sheet of baking parchment and some baking beans before popping them in the oven.  After 10 minutes I removed the baking beans and parchments and they went back into the oven for a further 5 minutes.

Rolling out and lining the tins

Now it was time to fill the pies!  The filling, which had been simmering away nicely, had thickened leaving soft meat with just enough gravy to hold it all together (no soggy watery pies for me!).  I gave it a quick taste, added salt and pepper to season, before dividing it between the two ramekins and squeezing the pastry lids on top.  A quick egg wash and they were ready for the oven.
They took about forty minutes to cook and came out of the oven golden brown and smelling delicious.  Next came the scariest part of the whole production, getting the pies out of the ramekins. I did this by placing a side place on top of the ramekin and inverting the lot, this got the pie onto the side plate upside down from where I quickly grabbed it and plonked it on our dinner plates the right way up. I was extremely nervous that the pies wouldn’t hold, but in the end my fears were unfounded.  They came out intact easily with only a minor bit of gravy being lost.

Served up on the plate

Inside the pie!

The pies were delicious, the filling had a wonderful deep flavour, and the pastry was lovely and crisp.

I won’t claim that they’re a patch on the real pieminister version, but I have to say that I was pretty pleased with them.

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4 Responses to “British Pie Week – A Spanish Inspired pie”

  1. Jill Colonna Says:

    Had no idea it was pie week! This looks absolutely delicious. Love the addition of chorizo to the beef. Must be fantastic. Have a great weekend.

  2. Food Recipes Says:

    […] British Pie Week – A Spanish Inspired pie « Rhi's Foodie World […]

  3. Corina Says:

    I love pies and I love chorizo. I just wish my husband was keener on them!

  4. Janice Says:

    They look great, I totally missed British Pie Week!

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