Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Why Can't All Pies Be Paul's Pies?

Paul's Pies - Chicken and Mushroom Pie Review

I was quite excited to finally get my hands on one of Paul's Pies. My fellow Pierateers TJP and RAS have both been impressed by the Oxfordshire based team. TJP went as far as to send Paul's Steak and Guinness pie to the top of our Pie Rankings. With over 225 pie reviews is surely the world's leading pie review website and we have in fact reviewed pies all over the world. So I hope that you understand what being top of our pie rankings really means for Paul's Pies. It means that Paul is producing some of the best pies in the world. Hence I was pretty darned excited to get hold of a couple of these colourfully boxed beauties myself. One Chicken and Mushroom and one Steak and Guinness at just £3.50 each, similar in price to a premium supermarket pie. But would they really be as good as I was told or would they not quite satisfy my taste buds in the same way?

These pies look fantastic, the crimped pastry edge and the letter denoting the flavour are nice touches. However, I thought that this might have meant excess pastry which can often lead to dry pie syndrome. I was wrong though, Paul uses suet crust pastry which is so delicious and moist that I could eat it by itself. The pastry had a fantastically homely and satisfying taste because of the use of suet instead of the more traditional butter or lard. I put this down to the fact that suet has more saturated fat than any other common cooking fat. This pastry did however make the pies taste akin to a steak & kidney pudding which use suet pastry whereas pies usually do not. Paul has shown that this twist on a traditional idea is a stroke of genius, the pastry was gooey on the inside with the perfect amount of crunch on the outside.

Onto the filling, the cross-section of the Chicken & Mushroom pie shows that the content really did fill the whole capacity. There were great chunks of 'slow-growing free range chicken' and wonderfully tasty pieces of mushroom (I don't even really like mushroom much!). I was surprised to see that the chicken and mushroom were also joined by some crispy bacon, certainly a good thing in my book as it really developed the flavour, however, I would have expected this to have been advertised on the box.

The chicken wasn't just breast meat as is traditionally the staple in this country but also used dark chicken too. I think this has much more flavour and contributed to a wonderful taste to the filling. When combined with the suet (which reminded me of dumplings) I got such a nostalgic feeling eating this pie. I had a bit of a 'Ratatouille' moment when the food critic is reminded of his childhood by the perfect ratatouille. This was a pie which really did bring a smile to my face.

So in summary, Paul won me over, the Chicken & Mushroom pie was one of the best I have ever had. You can be sure that Paul makes some incredible pies when so many of us aboard the Pierate Ship love his pies. If only all pies were like Paul's pies.

Paul's Pies Chicken and Mushroom Pie
Score: 6.55/7


P.S. For me this pie raised the question of whether 'puddings' which are a filling enclosed in suet pastry could be pies. If it had discernible sides, base and lid I find it hard to deny that a traditional steak and kidney pudding would actually be a pie (while not denying its right to also be a pudding). Potentially a controversial statement?

P.P.S. So what did I think to the Steak and Guinness pie? Well that has already been reviewed by TJP, I can't rock the Pierate Ship, you will need to ask me to find out!

See where these pies ended up in the Pierate Pie Rankings or find other pies of a similar flavour.

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