Happy Wednesday, everyone! This week in Historic Everyday Eats, I decided to go with a historic recipe that was NOT a dessert–I know, it’s shocking. I’ve only made a “savory” dish one other time in my weeks of following historic recipes, so I figured it was about time to do it again. 😉
I found a recipe in the same cookbook that I used last week, (Seventy-Five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats, 1832) and I didn’t break anything this time while making it! (Yay!) The non-dessert I chose out of this book was Beef-Steak Pie.
The recipe for “Beef-Steak Pie” reads as follows:
“Butter a deep dish, and spread a sheet of paste all over the bottom, sides, and edge.
Cut away from your beef-steak all the bone,fat, gristle, and skin. Cut the lean in small thin pieces, about as large, generally, as the palm of your hand. Beat the meat well with the rolling-pin, to make it juicy and tender. If you put in the fat, it will make the gravy too greasy and strong, as it cannot be skimmed.
Put a layer of meat over the bottom-crust of your dish, and season it to your taste, with pepper, salt, and, if you choose, a little nutmeg. A small quantity of mushroom ketchup is an improvement; so, also, is a little minced onion.
Have ready some cold boiled potatoes sliced thin. Spread over themeat, a layer of potatoes, and a small piece of butter; then another layer of meat, seasoned, and then a layer of potatoes, and so on till the dish is full and heaped up in the middle, having a layer of meaton the top. Pour in a little water.
Cover the pie with a sheet of paste, and trim the edges. Notch it handsomely with a knife; and, if you choose, make a tulip of paste,and stick it in the middle of the lid, and lay leaves of paste round it.
Fresh oysters will greatly improve a beef-steak pie. So also will mushrooms.
Any meat pie may be made in a similar manner.”
(In case you’re wondering, mushroom ketchup is exactly what it sounds like–ketchup made from mushrooms instead of tomatoes. I could not find this in the store, but I still used mushrooms in the pie!)
Let’s see how I did with this savory dish!
The ingredients: 2 cups flour, 2 beaten eggs, 3 sticks butter (for the crust). 1 pound beef (I used sandwich steaks), 1/2 cup onion, 1/2 cup mushrooms, 1 pound potatoes, and salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste.
First, I made the dough for my pie crusts using the same method as I did for pumpkin pie and apple pie. I mixed the 3 sticks of butter (in large, cold chunks) into the 2 cups of flour with the 2 beaten eggs and a few tablespoons of water. I then let the dough sit, covered in the refrigerator for about thirty minutes while I prepared the other ingredients.
I then sliced and diced my onion and mushrooms while I boiled the potatoes. (I cut up WAY too many mushrooms and onion, but that’s okay. I just used the leftovers as a side!)
Since I got packaged meat from the grocery store, I didn’t actually have to cut away the fat and bone , and since I got “sandwich steaks,” the pieces were already cut thin. (Thanking my lucky stars for grocery stores!) I cut the pieces roughly into the size of my palm (about 2ish inches), as the recipe states.
I then rolled out my pie dough and laid it into a disposable pie pan.
Next, I “beat” the chunks of meat with my rolling pin [I really just rolled them with the rolling pin because that was easier], and I began to layer my pie. I put down a layer of meat, followed by a sprinkling of pepper, salt, and nutmeg, followed by potatoes [boiled and cut thin], onions, and mushrooms. [Shock of all shocks–I forgot to put extra butter in the layers. Oh well. It still turned out well.]
I continued the layering until I had my final layer of beef “heaped” on top. [I had three layers of beef total.] I then poured on about two tablespoons of water.
I then topped the pie with a top layer of crust [or “paste”] and tried my best to cut fancy holes in it, but I did not even attempt to make a tulip out of leftover dough and lay pretty leaves all around the top because I am just not that talented. 😉 I poked more holes in the crust with a fork to release as much steam as possible.
I baked the pie in a 375 degree oven for 1 hour [on a cookie sheet in case of spill over]. This was a complete guess, of course, because there are absolutely no baking instructions with this recipe! The crust came out golden brown, and the filling was cooked perfectly.
While the pie was baking, I made a side of sauteed mushrooms and onions since I purchased way too many. 🙂
I was very hungry when I made this pie, so I cut into it after about 10 minutes of letting it sit after it came out of the oven. Because of that, it kind of fell apart when I took it out of the pan, but it was still delicious! The pepper and nutmeg go really well together and give the beef a distinct flavor. The onions, mushrooms, and potatoes inside the pie were a great combination, and the pie crust was flaky and buttery.
When it was time to get seconds, the pie had set for about 40 minutes, and it stayed together much better out of the pan [even the bottom crust stayed in place].
Beef-steak pie was definitely a winner in my house (especially with my dog Cosmo who tried to steal it off of our plates several times and finally succeeded in stealing some off of the counter while we weren’t looking). This recipe is pretty simple, and it is a nice hearty meal to have in the middle of winter!
I may have to give more savory recipes a go in the future, even though my heart does remain most strongly attached to desserts!