Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Personal-Size English Meat Pies (seriously awesome)

     Jess and I made this a few weeks ago when her grandparents were here to visit, but I haven't had time to post until now.  Suffice it to say, this is one of our favorite things we've made in a long time.  It seems like I'm always longing to be back in North Yorkshire and Northumberland and nothing takes you back faster than a) a good English ale or b) good English pub food.  This recipe is an example of the latter, though it pairs wonderfully with the former!

     To begin, make up a recipe of the Cornish Pasty crust used here (though remember to note the changes to the ingredients listed in my directions).  Instead of making pasties, we rolled the dough out into small circles a bit larger than the diameter of the widest part of a large (i.e. 6 to a tray) muffin/cupcake pan.  Gently but firmly press the dough down the sides of the muffin tin and smooth out, so that an equal amount of pastry remains around the edge on all sides.
     Next, it's time to make the filling.  For six of these (really, with sides, you can serve one of these per person and be about right; they're pretty rich), you need:
     -8 oz. steak, chopped into small, equal-sized pieces (easier to do this if steak is partially frozen)
     -1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
     -1 tsp crushed garlic
     -1 tbsp olive oil (extra-virgin or regular)
     -6 to 8 oz. of Red Leicester or English Cheddar, chopped into same size pieces as the beef 
     -1 tsp dried thyme
     -1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
     -1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Begin by gently sauteing the onion, crushed garlic, and thyme in the olive oil until soft and lightly golden.  remove from the heat, add your balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce, and stir well to combine.  Add these ingredients to the steak and cheese, stiring well to combine.  Pile about 3/4 of a cup (so it just comes above the rim of the cup) into each muffin cup, and crimp the tops together lightly with a bit of water to help them stick. 
Oven times will vary a bit, but bake for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees, before lowering the heat to 350 and baking another 40 minutes.  You want the crust to be lightly golden to golden brown and, most importantly, the beef inside to be fully cooked.  Let sit for a few minutes before serving.  The result?
Serve with just a touch of horseradish cream and some balsamic glazed green beans with onion and bacon, and you've got a kockout meal.  Pair this with a slightly sweet, nutty, or caramelly English Real Ale for the perfect paring. 
Perhaps the biggest surprise of all is that these hold over very well until the next day.  Simply fully cook them and let them cool for a bit before placing them in an airtight container in the fridge overnight.  The next day, heat them (lower heat, slowly) in the oven until warm through, and serve!
This is definitely something we'll come back to for special occasions!

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