Mince and tomato pie

21 05 2011

Tonight, we were right at the end of the week’s grocery supplies and were out of fresh fruit/veg, apart from onions. I’d taken some mince out to defrost last night and we’ve had quite a lot of pasta and rice recently, so I thought I’d knock up a pie.

Ingredients

Makes four good-sized portions, sufficient to be eaten on their own.

For the filling

  • 500g mince
  • 2 – 3 cups of porridge oats
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 4 teaspoonfuls of rosemary (optional)
  • 3 small red onions

For the pastry

Method

Before starting on the pastry, I put the mince, three teaspoonfuls of dried rosemary and 3 small, red onions, diced, in a frying pan and left them to brown. At the same time, I put a pan of porridge on to boil for a few minutes. When the oats are mixed in with the mince and sauce, you really can’t taste that they’re there – they are just a cheap way of bulking out meat. I was using them in bolognese, chilli and pies for ages without anyone noticing; it was my leaving the packet out that gave the game away in the end! Once the porridge is cooked, rinse thoroughly with boiling water to get rid of the white gloopy residue and just leave the oats.


Pie filling

Check that the mince is thoroughly browned, then add the porridge and the tin of chopped tomatoes and stir together thoroughly. Leave it to simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick to the pan.

Perhaps because ready-made pastry is available in the supermarkets, there seems to be a perception that pastry must be tricky or time-consuming to make. This really is not the case. There are three core ingredients for pastry: plain flour, butter and water. The weight of the flour should be twice that of the butter. Cut the butter into the flour with a knife (see below) and then rub with your finger-tips until all the lumps of butter have been thoroughly dispersed and the mixture has a bread-crumb-like texture (see below). Add water by the teaspoonful until the pastry binds together and leaves the bowl (and your fingers!) clean. If you find you’ve added too much water and the pastry becomes too sticky, just add a little more flour, but do this cautiously: don’t let the flour to butter ratio get too far from 2:1.


Cutting in the butter


Flour and butter rubbed together to achieve a bread-crumb-like consistency


Ready to roll!

Choose a smooth surface to roll out your pastry and dust it with flour; this will help prevent the pastry from sticking. If you don’t have a rolling pin, don’t worry – a smooth bottle or glass will do just as well! Dust your rolling pin (or substitute!) with flour too – although it left your fingers and the bowl clean, it’s still sticky stuff! Roll out your pastry, turning it as you go, so that it’s rolled in each direction and is an even shape – don’t let it get long and thin, unless you’re using a long, thin dish for your pie of course.


No rolling pins here!

Grease an oven-proof dish and lift the pastry onto the top of it, gently easing it down into the dish. There’s no need to push it too far into the corners: it will settle once you’ve filled it.


Ease the pastry into the dish

Pour the filling in and fold the edges of the pastry over to cover the top. Personally, I don’t see the need to try and make it look pretty for the average meal – it will still taste the same and it’s a lot quicker to just use the one sheet of pastry, rather than cutting out a base and a lid.


Filled pie-crust


Top folded over

Sprinkle a teaspoonful of rosemary over the pastry and put the pie in the oven at 190C for half an hour or until the pastry is cooked.


The finished article

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