Scottish Pies with Mushy Peas

January 26, 2019

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The Husband and I went on an amazing trip this time last year and seeings how yesterday was Robbie Burns Day, I’ve just got to tell you about it. That’s right- January 25th is the birthday of Robert Burns. Robert Burns was born in 1759 and is regarded as the National Poet of Scotland. On January 25th folks throughout the world, though especially in Scotland, will be remembering him with a Burns Night Supper. Robbie Burns has indeed inspired me to share this recipe for these delicious Scottish Pies, sometimes also called “Scotch Pies” which is perfect for a casual Burns night supper.

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I’m often inspired by our travels to come home and make one of the dishes from the area we visited. Although I have done a few of these blogs in the past, I am woefully behind on them. But I am really going to be doing some backtracking and telling you about our past travels, boring you with our vacation photos, offering a few recommendations on hotels, tours etc. and sharing a recipe or two in the process. So let me get on with it! At the end of January 2018, we set out for the Shetland Islands via Glasgow and with a stopover in Iceland on the way back. The Shetland Islands are a group of islands which lie between the north Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea, 104 miles north of Scottish mainland. It is the same latitude as southern Greenland and closer to Norway than Scotland. Now I bet you’re wondering, “Why exactly did you go there in the middle of winter? Wasn’t it cold?” Well, truth be told it wasn’t really much colder than it is in Virginia in the winter, temperatures hovering slightly above freezing. However it was a whole lot more windy and wet. The precipitation did come down as rain vs. snow, but oh my Gawd was it windy! And why January? Because that is when the town of Lerwick, the largest in the Shetlands with a population of about 7,500, holds its annual Up Helly Aa, a viking festival, which we had been itching to go to for years. But before I get into the big event, our first stop was Glasgow.

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Spoiler! Keep tuned for next post about this amazing Viking fire festival!

I had actually visited Glasgow previously. It was the husband’s first visit. Glasgow has been overlooked as a destination for years, losing tourists to the fancier, more posh Edinburgh. And while I think Edinburgh is a gorgeous city, I have always been partial to Glasgow. To me, Glasgow felt much more laid back, friendly and comfortable. In recent years, the city has undergone a revitalization, seeing a large influx of bars, restaurants and shops. The place is absolutely buzzing with excitement. We were lucky enough to have ended up there during the annual Celtic Connections music festival. The husband and I love going out to see live music, so this was right up our alley. We saw the Deslondes, one of our favorite bands which hails from New Orleans,

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in an amazing venue – Òran Mór. Located in Glasgow’s vibrant West End, Oran Mór was formerly the Kelvinside Parish Church, but has now been transformed into a truly unique venue, offering up two bars, a restaurant, a nightclub as well as a live music hall.

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We also saw ever enduring (celebrating 30 years together this year) English folk/punk band The Levellers at Glasgows Old Fruitmarket – another unbelievably cool music venue tucked away in Glasgow’s stylish Merchant City.

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The Fruitmarket, was as the name suggests, originally a market where fresh fruit and vegetables were sold up until the 1970’s. The amazing renovation manages to retain all of the period charm of the original building including all of the ironwork, balconies and beautiful vaulted ceiling.

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Although we didn’t have a lot of time in Glasgow before venturing further north, we were able to visit Glasgow’s stunning cathedral,

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stroll through the Necropolis (Glasgow’s large Victorian cemetery),

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visit the iconic Cloisters of the University of Glasgow,

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explore the extensive Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum

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spend a luxurious afternoon at Blythswood Square Spa

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and relax in one or two (or so….) of the local pubs.

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We also did manage to get out of the city for one day. Frank Jones, the owner of Wee Adventours, picked us up in his very luxurious Land Rover and whisked us away from Glasgow out on an action packed day of adventure. We knew that we did not want to get crammed onto a big bus full of tourists to be rushed from stop to stop. We wanted something a bit more personalized and relaxing and that is what we got with Wee Adventours. The lovely Frank was an absolute pleasure to spend the day with, so friendly, funny and charming, it felt as though we had known him for years. Having worked in the tourism industry for some time, he was very knowledgeable about the history, customs and landmarks of Scotland and enthusiastic to share it with us. He spent a little time before the day of the tour finding out what our interests were and then customized an itinerary just for us. We did a small hike around Loch Lomond

img_3232 (3)and visited the town of Sterling. We had a great time at Doune Castle which is not only where Monty Python’s Holy Grail was filmed, it is also Castle Leoch from The Outlander television show and was further used as the set for Winterfell in Game of Thrones pilot.

 

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Last but not least, we visited charming Glengoyne Distillery for a tour and a Whisky & Chocolate tasting. Just an amazing day!

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Already an action packed holiday and we hadn’t even got to the main event! Turns out, much to my delight, the Husband absolutely loved Glasgow and said he couldn’t wait to return. I’m sure it didn’t hurt that we really made an excellent choice when we decided to stay at The Dakota Deluxe Hotel. The Dakota was fantastic! They offer free airport transfer during the week, which was so nice. Everyone we met who worked there was so friendly, charming and ready to help in any way they were able. The spacious rooms were decorated tastefully and the beds were very comfortable. The location was perfect, we were able to easily walk to most everything that we wanted to do. We look forward to our next stay, which will definitely be happening!

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Funky rope dog found in the Dakota’s reception.

So this is how we actually found ourselves in Scotland, Glasgow is particular, on Robbie Burn’s birthday. In the past I’ve shared lots of recipes with you that would be great for your own Burns Night celebration. There were these Cranberry Bannocks:

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And these Drop Scones – which might be better for Burns Breakfast – perhaps served around 2 am after a wee too much indulgence in the pubs.

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There was Steak Auld Reekie served over Crispy Tatties & Neeps:

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Dundee Cake with Hot Whiskey Marmalade:

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Scotch Egg Pie:

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Cock-a-Leekie soup:

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Which I always serve with this Scottish Harvest Bread, called Struan:

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And who could forget thyme impressive and delectable Scotch Eggs!

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Which I have also done deviled:

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Last year, we did not attend a big, formal Burns Night Supper, but did enjoy a lovely dinner in Fault & Blame – a fantastic, laid back pub located on in Glasgow.

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It was there that was we were served these delicious Scottish Pies with mushy peas and mashed potatoes. Absolute heaven I tell you!

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Now I know I’ve told you how we absolutely love meat pies. This blog is chock full of recipes for them. I’m pleased to say that the Scottish Pie (sometimes called Scotch Pie) is no exception to our pro-pie stance. A Scottish Pie is a small, personal sized double crust meat pie, usually made with mutton or minced lamb. Very popular in Scotland, and actually throughout the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Canada & Australia, these pies are often found at football matches resulting in the nickname – “football pies”. But these pies are not a modern invention, oh no no no. In the middle ages the Scottish church really had it in for these little treats. They viewed them as decadent luxurious English style food, cautioned their parishioners against the perils of indulging in them and advised them to stay clear. Thank goodness these little delights were able to endure the test of time! The pastry is a hot water crust pastry, the lid of which is placed 1cm or so lower than the edges of the pie. This recessed space is often topped with mashed potatoes, baked beans, brown gravy or even an egg. Very portable and quite tasty served hot or cold, they are the perfect fast food!

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I served my Scottish Pies with mashed potatoes and Mushy Peas. Mushy Peas are a traditional side dish and are pretty much exactly what they sound like – peas which have been cooked until they are mushy. Anyone who is from the American South should be familiar with this vegetable preparation method. There is one difference though. The peas traditionally used for Mushy Peas are marrowfat peas, not the usual pea you would find in an American grocery store. Marrowfat peas are peas which have been allowed to dry naturally in the field rather than be harvested whilst young. The resulting peas are larger and have a much higher starch content than your regular pea. This gives them a smoother, creamier consistency which is desired in properly prepared Mushy Peas. Now, you can use a regular pea to make this dish, but if you’d like to try for a more authentic experience, use marrowfat peas for sure. You can find these type of peas in British specialty shops or simply on Amazon. I have supplied the link below. And do remember that since you are using dried peas, an overnight soak in salted water is required to soften the peas prior to cooking. Don’t forget to put them into soak before you head off to bed the night before!

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I will admit, the hot water crust pastry used to make the pie casing is a bit of a challenge if you’ve never done it. Before you ever get started, you’ve got to go find some lard. I would’ve thought it would have been no problem. I started searching around my local grocery store and when I couldn’t find it, I asked one of the employees, ‘Sorry – could you tell me where the lard is?” The reply I got was “What is lard?”. Hmmmm…..so that is what we’ve come to…folks don’t know what lard is anymore! After a few different stops at a few different stores, I was able to get ahold of some. Lard is absolutely necessary in the hot water crust recipe as it is what makes that crust strong enough to stand up to the filling. Then, I had to actually shape the little pie cases while that pastry was warm. I used some mini cheesecake springform pans ( 4″ diameter pans – not the really really small cheesecake pans) that I had, but you can also shape them over a canning jar, ramekin, or even the bottom of a glass. This method is a bit more tricky as you have to thoroughly grease the item you are using for a mold and then once the pastry has hardened you have to gently tease it off of the mold. I tried each method and the springform pans are much, much easier. I have supplied an Amazon link for them below.

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All that fiddly work was so worth it in the end! These pies were crisp, juicy savory perfection! And I think it was quite appropriate that while writing this post, I was also able to reminisce about our lovely time in Glasgow one year ago. Sure didn’t Robbie Burns write Auld Lange Syne in 1788. He definitely understood the pleasure in remembering the fun times past that we’ve shared with our friends and loved ones. I did intend to have this post on my blog for January 25th. However as Rabbie so knowingly said “The best laid schemes o’ mice an men, gang aft a-gley” (translated “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”). I can definitely say my plans did go a-gley, but here it is, a day late. I will say, you can enjoy Scottish Pies and Mushy Peas year round. And just think you’ll be so prepared for Burns Night next year! So remember to raise a wee dram on January 25th for Scotland’s National Poet on his birthday. And by all means, make yourself some of these indulgent Scottish pies. Don’t worry for your soul, you can repent tomorrow. (PS – Don’t forget to check back soon to see all the action from the second leg of this journey – The Shetland Viking Fire Festival Up Helly Aa!)

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Scottish Pies with Mushy Peas

  • Servings: 4 -8 Pies depending on the diameter
  • Difficulty: moderate - in making the pie casings
  • Print

recipe from: Mother Earth News (for the Hot Water Pastry) 

Ingredients:

For the Pastry:

  • 450 grams (3 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten and at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (200ml) water
  • 80 grams (3/4 stick) butter
  • 80 grams (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) lard

For the Filling:

  • 450 grams (1 lb.) minced lamb (I couldn’t find lamb and used ground beef)
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 -4 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 1 Tablespoon flour

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375°F. First make the pastry.

Mix the flour, salt, and confectioner’s sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle, pour in the egg and toss a liberal covering of flour over the egg.

Place the water, butter, and lard into a saucepan and bring slowly to a boil. When the liquid boils, pour it on to the flour, mixing with a spatula as you go.

When cool enough to handle, gently knead the pastry until all the egg streaks have gone and it is smooth.

Separate 1/4 of the pastry and set aside to use to make the pie lids. Make sure it remains warm.

Thoroughly grease the jelly jars, ramekins or mini cheesecake springform pans that you will be using to form the pastry cases.

Roll the pastry out to 1/4″ thickness. Measure the diameter of the cases you will be using and add twice the depth to the diameter. This will give you the appropriate size of the circle of pastry you will need to cut to fit your cases. The pastry cases should have sides approximately 2 – 21/2″ tall or can be taller as you prefer. Once you have finished shaping your pie shells, place them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes so that they can firm up.

In the meantime, prepare your filling. Heat a small amount of oil in a large sauté pan until hot. Add the lamb or beef to the pan and fry in the oil over moderate to high heat for 2-3 minutes. If the meat has released a lot of grease, drain off at this point and reserve. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.

Sautee the minced onion in 1 Tablespoon of the reserved drippings until it is soft. Add the minced garlic and sautée for 1 minute. Return the meat to the pan and mix to combine. Add the thyme leaves, nutmeg, beef broth, & Worcestershire sauce and stir until combined. Simmer for 1 -2 minutes and then add salt and pepper to taste. Finally sprinkle the 1 Tablespoon of flour over the meat mixture. Stir to combine and allow it to simmer for a few more minutes until thickened. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

Remove the pastry cases from the refrigerator. Gently slide them from the jelly jars or ramekins if you are using them. Place your cases onto a parchment lined baking sheet to be filled.

Divide the meat mixture between the pastry cases, pressing it down well.

Roll out the reserved pastry dough to form the lids. The lid should be cut using the diameter of the case as a guide. Paint the edges of the pastry case with a bit of egg wash and them fit the lids on top, crimping the edges with your fingers to seal the pies.

Brush pies with the remaining egg wash. Cut a hole in the lid of each pie to allow steam to escape.

Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve hot or cold as you prefer. If you are serving hot, consider topping the pies with mashed potatoes & gravy with a side of mushy peas!

Mushy Peas

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces dried Marrowfat peas
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 200 ml boiling water
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • lemon zest to taste
  • salt, pepper and sugar to taste

Directions:

As I mentioned, these peas need an overnight soak. So the evening prior to which you want to serve them, dissolve two teaspoons of baking soda in boiling water.  Place the dried marrowfat peas in a bowl and pour the boiling water over them so that they are covered by at least 3 inches of water.  Give the peas a stir then leave them to soak for at least 12 hours.
On serving day, drain and rinse the peas. Place them in a large pot with 2 1/2 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium low and allow the peas come to a simmer.
Continue to cook for 30 minutes or so until the peas are broken down. Add the butter, lemon juice and zest. Add salt, pepper and sugar to taste.
Serve immediately as the peas will continue to thicken the longer they sit. Should you need to reheat them, adding a bit of water will help.
Enjoy!

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Scottish Pies with Mushy Peas:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Batchelor’s Marrowfat Peas

Wilton 4″ Mini Springform Pans

Links for Planning your vacation in Glasgow, Scotland:

Accommodation:

The Dakota Deluxe Hotel – Luxurious & stylish boutique hotel in a superb location in the city. Absolutely love our stay here!

Tours:

Wee Adventours – Specializes in exclusive personal tour services for small tourist groups. Owner Frank Jones has over 10 year guiding experience and is passionate about his country. For all you Outlander fans, he does an amazing Outlander tour which will take you to many locations around Glasgow & its environs were the popular series has filmed. Frank is available for day tours or multi-day journeys. For a luxury custom experience, give him a call!

Restaurants & Pubs:

Òran Mór – Formerly the Kelvinside Parish Church, this is a truly unique live music venue which also boasts two bars, a restaurant, and a nightclub as well.

Fault & Blame – Sad to report, as of November 29, 2018 Fault & Blame has closed. It was a wonderful venue.

Slouch Bar – Our favorite pub in Glasgow thus far. Fantastic, comfortable pub serving homemade food every night until 2 a.m. Burgers, wings, pizzas as far as the eye can see. And one of the meats on their meat-lover’s pizza is haggis! You can’t pass that up!

Mother India Cafe – Glasgow has been voted Britain’s curry capital many times. So if you visit Glasgow you have to try out one of their many south asian restaurants. Glaswegians definitely like it hot, so if you do as well, you’ll be in good company. We asked several locals where their favorite place for a curry was and Mother India kept coming up. A stalwart for many years, Mother India has several locations in Glasgow. We went to the Cafe located just opposite the Kelvingrove Museum. It did not disappoint! The tapas sized portions were spectacularly spiced and the service impeccable. Definitely a must!

Things to See:

Glasgow Cathedral – A fine example of Scottish gothic architecture, with a breathtaking array of stained glass, this Cathedral is the oldest building in Glasgow

Necropolis – Approximately 50,000 folks are buried in the 37 acres of Glasgow’s Victorian city of the dead. It is located on a hill just adjacent to Glasgow Cathedral.

The Cloisters at the University of Glasgow – The Cloisters, also know as The Undercroft are a group of impressive archways and are an iconic part of the University of Glasgow. They have made appearances in many television shows and movies, such as Outlander. And although Harry Potter movies were not filmed at the University, certainly it was the inspiration for that School of Wizardry. Surrounded by the beautiful castle like architecture and soaring spires, you will feel like you have actually set foot on the campus of a real life Hogwarts!

Kelvingrove Art Museum & Gallery – Free to enter, The Kelvingrove boasts 22 themed galleries. You can find it all here – with over 8,000 items on display there is plenty to explore!

Doune Castle – You probably don’t know it, but you have likely seen Doune Castle many times. This 14th Century castle is featured in Monty Python & The Holy Grail, it was Winterfell, home of the Stark Clan, in Game of Thrones and is also Castle Leoch, home to Colm MacKenzie and his clan, in the Outlander television show. Highly recommend a visit here!

Loch Lomond – Located in The Trossachs National Park this picturesque (The Bonnie Shores o’ Loch Lomond) freshwater lake (or Loch) contains many islands and is surrounded by hill, including Ben Lomond. You will find many hiking and cycling paths there.

Glengoyne Whisky Distillery – Located in Dumgoyne, a short bit north of Glasgow (approx. 40 minute drive), this picture perfect whisky distillery has been in continuous operation since 1833. It is unique in that it produces Highland single malt whisky that is matured in the Lowlands. The Distillery is located on the border with its stills in the Highlands. The whisky is then sent across the road, to the Lowlands, to mature. They offer many fun & informative tours, classes and tastings.

Things to Do:

Blythswood Square Spa – Housed in the luxurious Blythswood Square Hotel, this 10,000 square foot facility boasts a thermal suite, two relaxation pools, nine treatment rooms, lounge and cafe. All right there in Glasgow’s city center.

Celtic Connections Music Festival – Annual music festival held every January in Glasgow since 1994. Features over 300 concerts, ceilidhs, talks, late night sessions and workshops. Whilst the focus is on Scottish music, you will also find international folk, roots and world music artists.

 

 

 

 

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Chef Cathal Armstrong’s Shepherd’s Pie

March 16, 2018

 

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Ahhh…Shepherd’s Pie. Comfort food at its finest. There are many many versions of this dish. Today I am bringing you one from Chef Cathal Armstrong’s cookbook My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland and Restaurant Eve. Chef Armstrong, originally from Dublin Ireland, has a culinary empire here in Northern Virginia  which includes Restaurant Eve, the Majestic Cafe, two branches of Eamonn’s – A Dublin Chipper, PX cocktail lounge and Society Fair a gourmet emporium and wine bar. He is an internationally recognized four-star chef and leader in the sustainable food movement which he attributes firmly to his Irish upbringing. Chef Armstrong has brought forth this cookbook which contains a collection of family recipes and Irish inspired dishes from Restaurant Eve.

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He makes his version of Shepherd’s Pie with a rich stew of diced lamb shoulder and fresh vegetables. It also has double potatoes – Potatoes in the stew and creamy mashed potatoes topping it. That is my kind of dish! I’m one of those folks that seriously considers ordering a baked potato and french fries for my two sides in a restaurant when given a choice. So of course I love the abundance of spuds in this Shepherd’s Pie.

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Interestingly, there is some controversy as to where this dish originated. Chef Armstrong says that it is an interpretation of a French dish called hachis parmentier. Others have claimed it has an English pedigree. No matter where it started, I think you can most assuredly find a version of this casserole in any Irish Pub you might visit. One of the great things about Shepherd’s Pie is that you can make it in stages. The stew part can be made 2 days prior to when you would like to serve it. Then on the day of your dinner all you need to do is make up the mashed potatoes, pipe them over the pie and then bake for 30 – 35 minutes.

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Way back when, the first year that I actually posted St. Patrick’s Day recipes on this blog, I shared Chef Gordon Ramsay’s Shepherd’s Pie, which is a very different dish, so I don’t feel guilty at all blogging about it again. The more the merrier I say. Chef Ramsay uses minced lamb rather than diced lamb shoulder and he advocates grating the carrots and onions rather than chopping them. And his version isn’t really a stew.

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Gordon Ramsay’s Shepherd’s Pie

Which one do I like better? Difficult to say as they are so different from one another. The Husband has weighed in and picked Chef Armstrong’s version as the victor. Me…I’m not so sure. Again, they are very different. I can say without hesitation, that I would be quite happy presented with either one at a St. Patrick’s Day feast. If you’re expecting a crowd for your festivities this year, perhaps you could make both versions and hold a little competition of your own. I’m sure your guests would be thrilled!

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Chef Cathal Armstrong's Shepherd's Pie

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland and Restaurant Eve

Ingredients:

For the Stew:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. lamb shoulder, trimmed of all fat and sinew, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups lamb stock or store-bought beef broth
  • 3 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes (2 cups)
  • 2 large fresh bay leaves
  • 2 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves

For the Mashed Potatoes:

  • 4 russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions:

Brown the lamb: Pat the lamb cubes dry on all sides with paper towels and season well with salt and pepper. In a large slope-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil until it shimmers. Distribute the meat evenly in the bottom of the pan without crowding it and don’t disturb it for several minutes. If you stir the cubes too soon, they will release water and the meat will boil instead of browning. After 3 or 4 minutes, turn the cubes over and brown them on the other side for another 3 or 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a bowl and return the pan to the heat.

Sweat the vegetables: Add the onion, carrots and celery, stirring with a flat-edged wooden spatula. As the vegetables cook, water will release and deglaze the pan. Use the spatula to scrape up brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Sweat the vegetables for 4 to 5 minutes. They should be translucent but still bit firm.

Cook the stew: Stir in the flour and allow it to brown lightly for about 2 minutes. Add the lamb stock, continuing to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the potatoes, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary and oregano. Return the meat and its collected juices to the pan. Bring the liquid to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and cover the pot. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours, until the meat is fork tender. Discard the bay leaves and transfer the stew to an 8 – cup baking dish. ( 9 x 9 or 11×7 would work well).

Boil the Potatoes for mashing: Place the quartered potatoes and salt in a pot and cover them with cold water. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and allow the potatoes to simmer uncovered until cooked through, about 40 minutes. To tell if they are cooked, take a piece out and cut it in half to see if it’s soft in the center.

While the potatoes are cooking, preheat the oven to 450°F.

Mash the potatoes: Drain the potatoes, return them to the pot and stir them over the heat for a coupled of minutes. This ensures that they are dry. Rice the potatoes into a mixing bowl. Add the egg yolks, butter and cream, whisking until the mixture is smooth. Work quickly while the potatoes are hot so they don’t become gummy and starchy. Adjust the salt seasoning to taste and allow the potatoes to cool.

Top the pie: First a large pastry bag with a large star tip. Spoon the mashed potatoes into the bag. Moving in one direction, pipe large rosettes of potatoes over the lamb mixture, in neat rows or around the perimeter of baking dish. Go over your work and pipe rosettes wherever you see any holes-you want to create a good seal. Alternatively, you can dollop the potatoes over the stew and spread them with a spatula to seal it.

Bake the Pie: Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Set the pie on it and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the potatoes are nicely browned and filling is bubbling. Let the casserole rest for 15 minutes.

Enjoy!

Chef Cathal Armstrong’s Shepherd Pie is brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Cathal Armstrong’s Shepherd Pie:

My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland and Restaurant Eve by Cathal Armstrong, David Hagedorn

Scanpan Evolution Sunday Pan with Lid – I absolutely love this pan! Cooked the stew in it with no problem.

Le Creuset Stoneware 10.5 x 7″ Baking Dish

Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Potato Ricer

 

 


Yorkshire Pudding Stuffed with Guinness Shepherd’s Pie

March 16, 2017

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You ever have those “oh my god, worlds are colliding” moments? I definitely experienced one when I saw a recipe for Yorkshire Pudding Stuffed with Guinness Shepherd’s Pie. I think I literally said “shut up”, in my outside voice and everything!

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I mean I love Yorkshire Pudding and I love Shepherd’s Pie but the thought of putting them together has somehow eluded me. Well I couldn’t wait to give it whirl and boy oh boy was I glad I did. It certainly did not disappoint.

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I was inspired by the folks at Cooks with Cocktails, but being very set in my ways, I already had strong opinions about making both the pudding as well as the Shepherd’s Pie. So I did take their concept and then applied it to my own time tested recipes. My Shepherd’s Pie is an adaptation of Chef Gordon Ramsay’s version. (Please don’t tell him I changed one of his recipes – I must admit I am a bit scared of the Chef…). And I don’t remember where I originally found this Yorkshire Pudding recipe. The marriage of the two was just amazing.

IMG_6119 Let me tell you I was over the moon with this dish. Not only did I get to experience the golden puffed goodness of the Yorkshire Puddings but I also got to savor that rich Guinness spiked Shepherds Pie topped high with lashings of creamy mashed potatoes and gooey melted Irish Cheddar. Comfort food at its finest!

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With out a doubt, this is the dish to serve at your St. Patrick’s Day dinner. And it is so easy because everything can be prepped ahead of time, which gets you out of the kitchen and on to celebrating! You can make the Shepherd’s Pie filling and mashed potatoes earlier in the day or even the day before. The Yorkshire Pudding batter should be made and refrigerated for at least and hour before cooking, but can be made up to 24 hours ahead. After your guests have arrived, preheat the greased yorkshire pudding tins, make the puddings, stuff them with the pre-made Guinness filling and top them with the potato and cheddar. Then just pop them back into the oven until the filling is bubbling and the cheese has melted and there you have it. Dinner is served. Folks will surely swoon!

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Yorkshire Pudding Stuffed with Guinness Shepherd's Pie

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe inspired by: Cooks with Cocktails

Ingredients: 

For the Mashed Potatoes:

  • 3 -4 large potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 -4 Tablespoons cream
  • salt & pepper to taste

For the Shepherd’s Pie Filling:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 pound (500g) minced lean lamb-or ground beef
  • 1 large onion, finely grated
  • 1 large carrot, finely grated
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato puree
  • Handful of thyme sprigs, leaves picked
  • 1 sprig of Rosemary, needles chopped
  • 1 small can of le sueur very young small early peas
  • 1 cup + 1 Tablespoon (250ml) Guinness
  • 1 1/4 Cup (300ml) chicken stock

For the Yorkshire Puddings:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 1/4 cup flour

Grated Irish Cheddar & chives for sprinkling over top

Directions:

Make the mashed potatoes. Peel the potatoes and place them in a pot of water salted with 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain the potatoes. Put the cooked potatoes through a ricer into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add in the butter milk and salt & pepper to taste. Mix until light and creamy.

Next make the Shepherd’s Pie Filling. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan until hot. Season the meat and fry in the oil over moderate to high heat for 2-3 minutes. If the meat has released a lot of grease, drain off at this point. Return pan to heat. Stir the onions and carrot into the meat and then grate the garlic in as well. Add the Worcestershire sauce, tomato puree, herbs and peas. Cook for 1-2 minutes stirring constantly. Pour in the Guinness and reduce until almost completely evaporated. Add the chicken stock, bring to the boil and simmer until the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Now make the Yorkshire Puddings. Heat the oven to 425°F. Place one teaspoon of oil ( I used bacon grease, but a vegetable oil is fine) in each of the wells of a yorkshire pudding or popover pan. Place the baking tin into the oven once it reaches temperature. In a blender combine the eggs, milk, salt and flour. Blend well. Once the oil in the baking tin is very hot, pour the Yorkshire Pudding batter into each well, filling it 1/2 way full. Place the baking tin back in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. I know you are going to want to open that oven door to check on the process of the puddings, but DON’T! You absolutely can not open that oven door until 20 minutes have passed! I’m serious!!! Check after 20 minutes, the puddings should be puffed up and brown. Let go for 5 more minutes if you would like it to be set a bit firmer. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Assemble the puddings. Slice into the Yorkshire Puddings along the length, taking care not to cut all the way through. Place Puddings into oven proof dishes. Stuff with Shepherd’s Pie Filling and top with a good hearty dollop of mashed potatoes. I used a pastry bag to pipe the potatoes on because I was being fancy, but that is not necessary. Sprinkle each pudding with a handful of shredded Irish Cheddar Cheese. Place back in the oven until the cheese has melted and the filling is bubbling. Sprinkle with fresh cut chives. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Yorkshire Pudding Stuffed with Guinness Shepherd’s Pie brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links to Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Yorkshire Pudding Stuffed with Guinness Shepherd’s Pie:

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Potato Ricer

Scanpan Evolution Sunday Pan with Lid

Nordic Ware Grand Popover Pan – what I use for my Yorkshire Puddings

Oval Au Gratin Baking Dishes

 


Drunken Pig in an Orchard

March 14, 2017

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Drunken Pig in an Orchard! Yes!!! What a great recipe title! Now it may surprise you that this does not actually refer to a drunken local lad, who after having one too many pints celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, stumbles into your orchard and can’t seem to find his way out… No, what I’m actually talking about here are cider cooked pork chops nestled into a savory sweet bed of apples and sauerkraut and covered in creamy Irish cheddar and nutty breadcrumbs. A dish which certainly evokes thoughts of Autumn, bonfires and the yearly apple harvest, but it also well suited for your St. Patrick’s Day feasting.

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All of the ingredients used in this dish are abundant in Ireland and have been part of the cuisine there for thousands of years. Indeed there is archaeological evidence which indicates that apples have been grown there for over 5000 years and cider making stretches back at least 2000 years if not more. We also know that wild boar was being consumed in Ireland as far back as 7000 BC. Now I will admit, I don’t know how Irish sauerkraut is. Certainly cabbage abounds there, so it wouldn’t be difficult to imagine it bunch of it getting pickled, or rather fermented – you know…kind of like those drunken St. Patrick’s Day revelers wandering about your orchard! Any hoo…sauerkraut is good for you, full of antioxidants and probiotics, not to mention vitamins B,C and K. So eat up!

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This wonderful sweet/sour/savory dish comes from my friend Theresa’s debut cookbook: Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen.

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Theresa’s company, The Green Apron, is an award winning artisan preserve company which she runs from her family’s orchards at Derryclough located near Ballingarry, County Limerick in Ireland.

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This year, I’ve been delighted to share her recipes for Irish Whiskey Marmalade Tarts, Irish Whiskey Marmalade Cocktails, Batley Cake and now her Drunken Pig in an Orchard. All of these gems, plus so many more can be found in Fruit on the Table. Certainly you must be convinced of how much you absolutely NEED a copy of her cookbook by now. T’would be an awesome St. Patrick’s Day gift for your favorite cook…just saying. And remember if you find yourself anywhere near Limerick Ireland on a Saturday, make sure you stop into the Milk Market and visit The Green Apron shop which is always chock full of Theresa’s award winning jams and preserves.

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That being said, I’ve gotta go now and shoo those tipsy hooligans out of the orchard!

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Drunken Pig in an Orchard

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen” by Theresa Storey

Ingredients:

  • 4 large cooking apples ( peeled, cored and cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • salt
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons slight melted apple jelly or honey
  • 100 grams (3 1/2 oz.) walnuts (chopped and toasted)
  • 200 grams (7 oz) Irish cheddar (grated)
  • 110 grams ( 4 oz) fresh breadcrumbs
  • 900 ml (30 fl. oz) sauerkraut
  • 2 medium onions (finely chopped)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 4 – 6 pork chops
  • 150 ml (1/4 pint) cider
  • 1 Tablespoon wholegrain mustard or sweet yellow mustard

Directions:

Butter a large casserole dish and set aside. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/Gas 5)

Put the apples, spices, salt, flour and jelly (or honey) in a bowl and mix together. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix the walnuts, half of the grated cheese and the breadcrumbs together. Set aside.

Drain the sauerkraut in a colander and rinse it in water to ensure that all the vinegary liquid is gone. Set this aside too.

In a large frying pan, cook the chopped onions in the butter over a medium heat for about 5 minutes until they start to soften.

Add the pork chops and cook for about 5 minutes, until they are starting to brown.

Now add the cider and the mustard and cook until the chops are cooked through, which should take about another 5 minutes.

Add the sauerkraut to the frying pan and mix everything together, making sure the chops don’t fall apart.

Cook the whole lot until the cider has all reduced down and there is no liquid left in the pan.

Put half the apple mixture on the bottom of the casserole. Cover this with the pork chops and half the sauerkraut. Sprinkle with the rest of the grated cheese. Put the rest of the apples on the cheese, then the rest of the sauerkraut, then top with the nutty breadcrumb mixture.

Bake covered (I use tinfoil) for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 20 minutes.

Enjoy!

Drunken Pig in an Orchard brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools and Ingredients for Drunken Pig in an Orchard:

Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen by Theresa Storey

Le Creuset Heritage Stoneware Casserole 9X12″

ScanPan Evolution Sunday Pan with Lid


Chef Armstrong’s Chicken Casserole (aka President Obama Stew)

March 12, 2017

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So I know I’ve been all about my mate Theresa’s gorgeous debut cookbook: Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen. And a lovely book it is. However, that is not to say that there aren’t other lovely cookbooks out there…and another one I’m all about is: My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland and Restaurant Eve by Cathal Armstrong & David Hagedorn.

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I have not had the pleasure of meeting Chef Armstrong, but I am certainly a big fan. Chef Cathal Armstrong, originally from Dublin Ireland, has a culinary empire here in Northern Virginia  which includes Restaurant Eve, the Majestic Cafe, two branches of Eamonn’s – A Dublin Chipper, PX cocktail lounge and Society Fair a gourmet emporium and wine bar. He is an internationally recognized four-star chef and leader in the sustainable food movement which he attributes firmly to his Irish upbringing. Chef Armstrong has brought forth this cookbook which contains a collection of family recipes and Irish inspired dishes from Restaurant Eve. It is from this cookbook that I take this recipe for Chicken Casserole, which he fondly calls “President Obama Stew”. According to Chef Armstrong, it seems that on Saturday October 9th of 2011, while taking a little time off of work and preparing his mother’s chicken casserole for a family dinner, he received an unexpected call from his restaurant manager at Restaurant Eve. The Obamas were coming for dinner. And it wasn’t just any old dinner for them, that night they would be celebrating their nineteenth wedding anniversary. Well, needless to say, the family chicken casserole was forgotten as he rushed back in to the restaurant. The recipe I give you today is that casserole. Now I would definitely be a bit remiss if I told you that i wasn’t a little bit sorry that the Obamas didn’t dine on this casserole. Nevertheless, this is an amazing dish!

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Cooked low and slow, this chicken is so savory, so succulent and so all around spectacular it is definitely elevated from a mere casserole rating. Now I will admit, I did make a couple of wee changes. The Chef does call for the use of an entire cut up chicken. I did decide to go with solely chicken thighs – less choice but better for consistency in cooking. That being said, when I cook this again- oh and I will – I will use skinless boneless thighs and will remove the bones and shred the chicken once the casserole is cooked through. But to each his own. I also LOVE mushrooms and decided to throw in some portobello mushrooms. I hope the Chef will forgive my adaptations. I will tell you this casserole, or stew even, is brilliant all on its own – so savory, thick and hearty with just the right amount of spice (who would’ve known 20 cloves of garlic was just the right amount…) but it is absolutely amazing when served over mashed potatoes.

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A feast worthy of St. Patrick himself I tell you! I assure you folks will be over the moon if you serve up this feast on St. Patrick’s Day. Heck with the 20 cloves of garlic in this baby, you wouldn’t go wrong serving this up on Halloween – t’would definitely keep the vampires at bay! Though seriously, if you want to treat yourself to some amazing Irish recipes, beautiful photography and various cooking tips in general, invest in a copy of Chef Armstrong’s My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland and Restaurant Eve.

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Chef Armstrong's Chicken Casserole (aka President Obama Stew)

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland & Restaurant Eve” by Cathal Armstrong & David Hagedorn

Ingredients:

  • 1 (3 1/2 pound ) chicken – cut into 14 pieces – (or….I just used 3 1/2 lbs of chicken thighs)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, very coarsely chopped
  • 6 carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/2 inch coins
  • 6 celery stalks, halved lengthwise and cut into 1 – inch dice
  • 8 oz. portobello mushrooms, washed and sliced (*optional – my addition)
  • 20 cloves garlic, crushed and coarsely chopped (yup…not a misprint….20!)
  • 1 (28 oz) can whole plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano), coarsely chopped, and their juices
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 large fresh bay leaves
  • 1 serrano chile, coarsely chopped, with seeds
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • Leaves from 1 large bunch fresh bails (1 cup loosely packed) coarsely chopped.

Directions:

If the chicken you purchase is not already cut up into pieces, then cut your chicken in 14 pieces, making 6 breast pieces, 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs and 4 wing joints. (Or just use a big old package of thighs – this is per me-not Chef Armstrong). Season them well with salt.

Brown the chicken in a large pan over high heat. Arrange all of the chicken evenly in the pan skin-side down and cook for 5 minutes, until golden brown. The pieces should release easily from the bottom of the pan; if they don’t , let them brown longer until they don Transfer the pieces to a flameproof casserole, arranging them skin side up. ( I used my largest Le Creuset dutch oven.)

Add the onion, carrots, celery and mushrooms (if you are adding them) to the sauté pan, stirring to combine them. Sweat the vegetables for 4 to 5 minutes until they are translucent but still bit firm. As they cook and water releases from them, use a flat edged wooden spatula to deglaze the pan by scraping up the brown bits from the bottom. Stir in the garlic (seriously…don’t be scared- use all 20 cloves – the stew will taste amazing and somehow not over garlic-y) and then the tomatoes and flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add the bay leaves, serrano chile, chicken stock, thyme and rosemary.

Transfer the vegetable mixture to the casserole. Bring to a boil then decrease the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer slowly for 45 to 60 minutes, until the chicken and vegetables are very tender. Remove the stew from he heat. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper if you like. (Truth be told – here is where I would recommend removing the chicken pieces from the stew. Shred the chicken meat from the bones and stir the meat back into the stew mixture.) Stir in the basil leaves at the last second before driving. The stew can be made a day before and gently reheated on the stove or in a 300°F oven for 30 to 40 minutes.

I have served this chicken casserole all on its own or over mashed potatoes and I gotta say – Mashed Potatoes are the way to go. I am sure it would also be good over rice, but again go with the Mashed Potatoes for the win!

Enjoy!

Chef Armstrong’s Chicken Casserole brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Chef Armstrong’s Chicken Casserole (aka President Obama Stew):

My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland and Restaurant Eve by Cathal Armstrong & David Hagedorn

Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Oval Dutch oven – 8 quart

Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Potato Ricer – The key to perfect unbelievably creamy – dare I say dreamy – mashed potatoes every single time. Well, this and a good amount of butter and cream…

 


Holiday Leftover Pies!

November 28, 2016

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Who out there has leftovers? I bet one or two of you do if your Thanksgiving feasts looked anything like ours did. Well boy oh boy do I have an awesome recipe for you today… Holiday Leftover Pies! Now I will admit, this might be a bit of a replay on my part, but I got the idea from those delicious Pirozhki’s that I blogged about a couple of weeks ago. Pirozhkis are little Russian yeast buns which have been stuffed with ground beef, leeks and cheddar. Quite yummy as you can imagine. So I was thinking about them. Well, them and the fact that the Husband loves the day-after Thanksgiving sandwich. You know – the Thanksgiving dinner -turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy – squished between two slices of bread. Yeah, well he loves it…quite possibly more than he likes the original Thanksgiving Day feast. So, combining the two thoughts, I stuffed these little Thanksgiving Pirozhkis with leftover turkey and all the trimmings, baked ’em up and let me tell you…They were Awesome! Dare I say even better than the sandwich version.

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And the fact that you are working with a filling that has spent at least one day in the fridge is a big benefit as well. I mean cutting off a slice of gravy to add to the filling rather than working with a hot liquid version when stuffing dough is a far superior experience. Just take a few moments to dice up any meat into bite sized cubes and the rest is easy-peasy. The total amount of filling, whatever leftovers you might have on hand, should be about 2 – 2 1/2 Tablespoons per bun. And I will say that when you pinch the folded over dough together to seal the bun, don’t hold back! Give it quite a pinch or use a fork like you would in making a pie crust to ensure that the bun edges stick together and don’t pop open in the oven. But if they do, no worries. I assure you, it won’t effect the taste one little bit!

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These Day-After Leftover Pies will be a tradition after every holiday feast from this day forward, I can assure you. We’re already thinking ahead to Christmas when we’ll have leftover prime rib, mushrooms, mashed potatoes and gravy. Drool, drool, drool! So I just had to share this with everyone. If you’ve already gobbled down all your Thanksgiving leftovers, keep these in mind for Christmas. You, and whomever you decide to share with, will be delighted!

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Holiday Leftover Pies

  • Servings: 16 pies
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Holiday Leftover Pie dough recipe from: King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

For the Dough:

  • 4 cups (17 oz /482 grams) All Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 cup (1 oz./28 grams) Vermont Cheese Powder (don’t have cheese powder? you can substitute grated parmesan or leave it out altogether.)
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz./113grams) sour cream
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons, 2 oz./57grams) soft unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz./113grams) warm water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons (7/8 oz./25grams) sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast

For the filling:

  • Whatever leftovers you have, such as: diced turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy & cranberry sauce

Directions:

To make the dough: Combine all the dough ingredients and mix and knead — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — until a soft, smooth dough forms.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover, and allow to rest for about 90 minutes, until puffy but not necessarily doubled in bulk.

Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces; if you have a scale they’ll weigh about 2 ounces each. 

Shape the pieces into balls, and place them on lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving about an inch between them. 

Cover the dough balls, and allow them to rest for about 15 minutes.

Ready your leftovers. Don’t reheat them, leave them cold. They will be much easier to work with.Chop any large pieces of meat into a smaller dice.

Shape each ball into a flattened round about 5″ in diameter, brush the surface with some of the egg/water wash, and place 2 tablespoons of filling onto the center of each round. 

Pull the dough over the filling, pinching two opposite edges together tightly, to seal in the filling; it should look like a dumpling. 

Place the buns on two lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets. Cover the buns, and allow them to rise for 1 hour, or until puffy.

Towards the end of the rising time preheat the oven to 400°F.

Brush the buns with the remaining egg wash. Bake the buns for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. It’s OK if some of the seams have come undone and the filling is visible; they can be prettier that way!

Remove the buns from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Store any leftover buns in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!

Holiday Leftover Pies brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Useful Links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Holiday Leftover Pies:

6 Quart Dough Rising Bucket

Norpro 2 Tablespoon Cookie Scoop

SAF Instant Yeast

Vermont Cheese Powder

 


Stuffed Buns (Pirozhki)

November 15, 2016

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Look what I’ve got here…little yeast buns stuffed with ground beef, leeks and cheddar! YUM! Comfort food at its best! Known as Pirozhki in their native Russia, which actually means “small pie”, these savory, individual sized pies will soon be found in high rotation in your meal plans.

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We fell head over heels for them straight away. I mean what’s not to love? There’s a soft pillowy dough which encircles a savory blend of meat and cheese – Oh yes! Count me in.

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Exceedingly portable, these buns are not only delicious hot from the oven, but are also fabulous at room temperature and may have single-handedly saved us on a particularly rainy camping weekend. They are very versatile, so if ground beef and cheddar isn’t your thing, you could try a meatless option with sautéed onions, cabbage and chopped hardboiled eggs. And don’t forget, Thanksgiving is coming up soon. That means leftovers. A post-holiday Pirozhki with chopped turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberry sauce is very likely to make an appearance in my house. I’ll let you know how it goes, but in the meantime, give these Stuffed Buns a try!

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Stuffed Buns (Pirozhki)

  • Servings: 16 Buns
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

For the Dough:

  • 4 cups (17 oz /482 grams) All Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 cup (1 oz./28 grams) Vermont Cheese Powder (don’t have cheese powder? you can substitute grated parmesan or leave it out altogether.)
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz./113grams) sour cream
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons, 2 oz./57grams) soft unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz./113grams) warm water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons (7/8 oz./25grams) sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast

For the Filling:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 small peeled onion or shallot, finely diced; about 3/4 cup (3 1/2 oz./14 grams) (loving leeks as we do, I went with leeks)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) ground beef
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • chopped parsley, fresh or dried, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 oz./170grams) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, to brush on dough

Directions:

To make the dough: Combine all the dough ingredients and mix and knead — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — until a soft, smooth dough forms.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover, and allow to rest for about 90 minutes, until puffy but not necessarily doubled in bulk.

To make the filling: Heat the oil in a sauté pan set over medium heat. 

Add the onion and cook until translucent. 

Add the garlic and ground beef and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, breaking the meat up as it browns, until it’s cooked through. 

Season the filling with salt, pepper, and parsley, remove it from the heat, and cool to room temperature. 

Stir in the cheese. The filling can be made ahead of time, then wrapped and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces; if you have a scale they’ll weigh about 2 ounces each. 

Shape the pieces into balls, and place them on lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving about an inch between them. 

Cover the dough balls, and allow them to rest for about 15 minutes.

Shape each ball into a flattened round about 5″ in diameter, brush the surface with some of the egg/water wash, and place 2 tablespoons of filling onto the center of each round. 

Pull the dough over the filling, pinching two opposite edges together tightly, to seal in the filling; it should look like a dumpling. 

Place the buns on two lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets. Cover the buns, and allow them to rise for 1 hour, or until puffy.

Towards the end of the rising time preheat the oven to 400°F.

Brush the buns with the remaining egg wash. Bake the buns for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. It’s OK if some of the seams have come undone and the filling is visible; they can be prettier that way!

Remove the buns from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Store any leftover buns in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!

Pirozhki brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links to Useful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Stuffed Buns (Pirozhki):

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

6 Quart Dough Rising Bucket

Norpro 2 Tablespoon Cookie Scoop

SAF Instant Yeast

Vermont Cheese Powder

 


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