Sweet & Spicy Beef Pie

The idea of savoury pies really appeals at this time of year — short days (soon getting longer!), damp, and lots of rain and wind just begs for warming and filling meals. As I mentioned recently, I had the good fortune of hearing a talk by Ottolenghi last month, which inspired me to look through all of his recipes again. I chose this one as it looked really moreish and I thought perfect for this time of year. Also, I’d never made a savoury pie before.

I used only beef, no pork, for my pie, which I think possibly had adverse effects. I don’t want to say that this failed….it didn’t. Taste-wise it was great, if a little dry. However visually the pie looked awful. The problem was the dish I used. It was too deep, so the crust went too far up the sides, and the ratio of crust to filling was too high. I only used about 300g of pastry (the standard size it seems to come in here), and about 400g of mince, which I thought would work fine. [Side note: as I was re-reading the recipe to write this post, I noticed that the last instruction is to break off the excess crust — hmmmmm]. I think I needed a bit more meat though, and for that meat to be fatty — I used what would be called lean beef in North America (as opposed to extra lean or medium). I also think it was slightly overbaked — it is a very fine line when it comes to eggs, and I don’t like runny eggs, so prefer to err on the side of caution.

The TASTE however, was lovely. As the title indicates, it’s both savoury and sweet, the latter coming from the gingerbread-y, Christmas-y spices of allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg, plus sweet paprika and cayenne pepper.

We served it with a nice green salad which was the perfect pairing to balance out the heaviness. 🙂

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