Wednesday, 9 March 2011

It's the first day of Lent-il Pies

It may be the first day of Lent today but that certainly doesn't mean that I'm going to give up pies! Not least because, as we have already mentioned, it is British Pie Week when pies a plenty are eaten. I thought I really should put in the effort to make a pie of my own for this very special week.

We are an open minded lot here on the Pierate Ship. True, we make people walk the plank if they 'accidentally' eat a slice instead of a pie but when it comes to pies themselves we try anything. I needed a more vegetarian friendly option so I could share British Pie Week with my housemates and hence the idea of a Lentil Pie came to me. The filling was similar to a meat pie but instead of mince I used lentils. For a pie big enough for four people I used;

250g red lentils, 1 onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 carrot, a load of stock and salt/pepper/herbs

Unfortunately British Pie Week has become very commercialised in recent years. In fact it has been entirely commercial since forever. It is the creation of General Mills (one of the largest food companies in the world) to advertise their Jus-Rol pastry range. Hence, as a snub to them, I decided I would have a bash at making some pastry of my own. Just because I love pies does not mean that I am good at making pastry, this is for some reason a common misconception. I am terrible, the pastry was too dry so I put more water in and then it was too wet. Then I realised I had only made enough for the base so cheated with some shop bought puff pastry for the lid, this saved the pie I think! (It wasn't Jus-Rol so it's okay)

Here is a picture of the pie in its precooked condtion, note the use of a traditional blackbird shaped pie funnel. This really helps the pie to not deflate while cooking. Of course, to get a nice golden colour it is important to brush the pie in milk or preferably egg. However I normally find I don't want to waste a whole egg doing this. Today I was lucky enough to have broken an egg on my shopping trip so used the residue from the egg box to create the nice colours you can see in the cooked version. (pretty classy huh?)
Upon serving the pie my pastry base promptly disintegrated leaving a gloopy mess. Despite this I thought it was a decent meal alongside some mashed swede and peas (I know, I didn't use potato, but that's an article for another time).The filling had a good taste, although was a little too runny. I won't give it a score due to a lack of impartiality but I can certainly recommend the use of Lentils as an alternative to meat in a pie.

Have a great British Pie Week!

SJL

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