Corned Beef & Potato Pie, also known just as corned beef pie, used to be a staple of my childhood dinners. It was made cheaply and was such a hearty meal. These days it is not so common. But it is good, sometimes, to look back and then try some of the old favourites.
I ought to explain that there are different types of corned beef. It is also known as bully beef or salt beef. In the UK the most common type of corned beef is shredded and pressed meat. The corned beef is sold in cans or in slices. That it the type of corned beef used in the pies. Another commonly known type of corned beef is salted and spiced brisket of beef. That is very popular in Ireland and in North America, and probably elsewhere too. Having cooked that I can attest that it is very good indeed, but it is not needed for this pie.
So, for this pie, we need pastry, potatoes, corned beef. They are the basic components. However other ingredients can be included, such as onions, spring onions, carrots etc to add flavour and texture, as required.
There are also different ways of handling the filling. Some people like to have the potatoes and corned beef in chunks in the pie. Others prefer that the potato is mashed and the corned beef incorporated into it. That is my preference and is how I made my pie.
It is a very simple recipe. Make the pastry. Cook the potatoes and, for my pie, some carrots. Cut the corned beef into cubes. Mash the potatoes. Roll out the pastry. Assemble the filling. Bake the pie.
Although most often served hot, or warm, this pie can also be served cold with salad or for a picnic.
For my pie I decided to incorporate carrots and spring onions. They provide some extra flavour as well as texture. If you wish some peas or suchlike can also be used. Of course seasoning is needed. In this case I used salt and white pepper. I prefer white pepper as it is milder and has a more complex flavour.
Stirring small cubes of cooked carrot as well as slices of spring onion into the filling provides a more visual appeal too.
The pastry is shortcrust, made with butter. However some of the butter can be replaced with lard for a slightly different flavour and texture.
I baked my pie for 35 minutes, until the top was a light golden brown. Then I allowed it to cool in the cake tin for about 20 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
It sliced well, holding the shape even though the filling was still hot. The flavour was just perfect, a meaty flavour through the potatoes, with the mild hit of white pepper. The little bite from spring onion as well as the sweetness of the carrot worked so well too.
Served with gravy and vegetables it makes a great dinner. It is also often served with chips and baked beans of the type available in the UK.
Another lovely pie for dinner is Deep Filled Minced Beef Pie.
Corned Beef & Potato PieCourse: Pies, TartsCuisine: BritishDifficulty: Easy
400g(2 2/3 cups, based on scooping packed flour into a 250ml cup) plain flour
200g(14tbsp+1 tsp) cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 medium egg(large in USA)
45ml(3 tbsp) cold water
pinch of salt
1 beaten egg, for an egg wash
340g(12 oz) can of corned beef
900g(2lb) potatoes peeled and chopped into equal sized pieces
100g(3 1/2 oz) carrots peeled and diced
40g(1 1/2 ounces) spring onions(scallions) slices thinly
3g(1/2 tsp) salt
1/5g(1/2 tsp) white pepper
- Place the potatoes into a saucepan and add enough water to cover them.
- Cover the pan with a lid and place on the stove top.
- Heat until the water reaches boiling point and then gently cook for about 20 minutes, until a knife slides easily through the potatoes.
- Put the carrots into a pan with some water and cook them on the stove until soft.
- Drain both the potatoes and the carrots.
- While the potatoes and carrots cook make the pastry.
- Place the flour, salt and butter into a the of a processor(you can do it by hand, rubbing in the butter).
- Pulse the processor until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.
- Add the egg and about 30 ml (2 tbsp) of the water and process until the mixture begins to clump into a dough, adding more water if required.
- Tip the dough onto the work surface and use your hands to squeeze it into a soft and smooth dough.
- Form the dough into a disc and then wrap in plastic wrap.
- Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.
- Set the carrots aside.
- Mash the potatoes thoroughly( I used a potato ricer), and allow them to cool for a few minutes.
- Add the corned beef into the potatoes and sprinkle over the salt and pepper.
- Stir the corned beef into the potatoes, breaking it up until the mixture is smooth and evenly coloured.
- Add the carrots and spring onions and gently stir to distribute them evenly throughout the mixture.
- Set aside until just about cooled.
- Preheat the oven to 190C/170C Fan/350F.
- Grease an 8 inch/20cm round cake pan( I used one with a loose bottom. A springform one will work well too.
- Flour the work surface and take 2/3 of the pastry and roll it out to a diameter of about 12 inches.
- Gently place the pastry into the prepare cake pan and press onto the base an around the sides, trimming any excessive overhang.
- Roll out the remaining 1/3 of the pastry to just over 8 inches/20cm in diameter and roll up onto the rolling pin and set aside.
- Spoon the filling into the the base of the pastry and spread fairly evenly, doming slightly in the centre.
- Brush beaten egg around the rim of the pastry.
- Carefully unroll the pastry top over the pie and press around the edge to seal to the sides of the pastry base.
- Crimp the pastry around the edge and remove excess pastry.
- Make some slits in the top of the pastry to allow steam to be released during baking.
- Brush the top with beaten egg.
- Bake in the oven for 35 minutes, until the top has coloured nicely and the filling is heated through.
- Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for about 20 minutes before removing and serving as desired.