Sunday, 14 September 2014

"Meat" Meat Pies

NAME: _"Meat" Meat Pies
Shown served with buttered riced potato topped with grated cheese.

500g lean minced beef
2 tbsp besan flour
juice of half a small lemon

2 tsp rock salt
2 tsp raw sugar
3 tsp granulated garlic
1 (or 2, to taste) tsp dried chilli flakes
2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 cup coarse burghul

200g (approx) frozen mixed vegetables
1 tsp cooking salt
1 tsp coarse ground black pepper
juice half a small lemon
1 tbsp olive oil

8 eggs
1 cup and a bit grated cheese

Put minced beef, besan flour, and lemon juice into food processor with steel blades. Put ingredients from rock salt to cumin seeds into a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder, add to food processor and process to fine consistency. Be careful to make sure everything stays cold, and process in short bursts so as not to make greasy. (Warm fat "breaks" and smears through the meat mixture. It alters the texture and the flavour.) Add the burghul and process until barely mixed through. Scrape into a small bowl and set aside for 30 minutes. This gives the cracked wheat time to absorb some moisture out of the meat mixture.

Place the frozen vegetables, salt, pepper, lemon, and olive oil into the food processor and process in bursts until the vegetables are in coarse crumbles. Set aside.

Divide the meat mixture into as many portions as you intend to make pies. In my case, I used eight micro loaf tins, so formed eight portions. Place a portion in each dish, and use either another dish or something similar to force the meat to adopt a pastry shell shape.
Note the toothpick dispenser wrapped in plastic and used as the stamp.
In my case, a toothpick cylinder made the ideal pressing block. I wrapped it in plastic wrap for hygiene's sake, and for ease of cleaning up. Add a spoonful or two of the vegetables to each pie and smooth out, then break an egg into it, top with grated cheese. Bake at 190C for around 40 minutes, until the cheese begins to brown.

May be served hot or cold. If hot, rice or mashed potato is a good choice of accompaniment, along with a vegetable cooked in tomato based sauce, I used okra garlic and onion in tomato sauce. Serves four when served with sides.

The only reason lean mince was specified is because if it is not kept almost frozen, the fat will "smear" during the processing, and that affects the texture and flavour of the shells. Smeared fat also affects how the burghul absorbs moisture out of the meat mixture.

The idea came about because I like meat kibbeh and wanted to try a Turkish / Arabian based dish but of my own recipe. It is even GPG (my wife, aka "Guinea Pig Goddess") approved. Thank you Kerry for testing my food experiment ideas with me. You're a brave woman. %)

This style of "meat pie" can be the basis for a whole lot of different recipes. As they can be served cold as mezzes, you could make up different batches and serve as party food. Or adjust the sides to suit each different style. The secret to the pastry casing is the food processor developing the meat glutens, and then the starch (burghul, polenta, chickpea flour, etc) being given time to absorb and bind.

Six variations I can think of right away:
-Minced lean pork, fine polenta, cayenne pepper and cumin for the shell, refried beans and chilli con carne for filling, nacho cheese for the topping, would be Mexican style,
-Or substitute chorizo and olive based filing topped with sliced tomato and herb crusting  to make Spanish style. Both served with white rice, tomatoes, chillies, and side salad type things.
-Minced lamb, burghul, curry spice for the shell, chicken / tomato / raisin / cardamom based filling, and goat cheese topping for a Middle Eastern version...
-For the ultimate meat lovers, make a beef shell as above with a minced lamb, burghul, and toasted pine nut filling, and close the top with more beef shell. This would be a "kibbeh meat pie." Serve both Middle Eastern versions with lentil and raisin rice or pilaf style.
-Minced beef, basil, polenta, with a filling of bolognese style sauce with small pasta stars and topped with slices of tasty cheese for Italian style. Serve with garden salad dressed with olives, cheese, pickled capers.
-Minced goat or lamb with mint and burghul, filling of chopped eggplant moussaka and topped with goat feta for Greek style. Greek salad goes without saying.


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