Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Half-Assed Recipe Time

Recently, for a holiday potluck party, I decided to do something special and make some savory treats for my friends. They came out somewhat unique and were a big hit, so I'm going to share the recipe with you. One problem, though:

I don't measure anything.

So I'm just going to describe things and show you a couple pictures. You can figure it out from there.


First, gather your ingredients:
You will need:
Some ground beef (I don't know how much, just cook it real quick in a pan till it's nice and brown)
Mashed potatoes (I just made a pouch of instant potatoes, directions are on the box)
Broccoli or your vegetable of choice (See how much is in that bowl? A lot less than that)
Cheese (Shredded is best)
Pastry (I used pie crust dough, any kind of dough you like will do)
An egg (Just one, beaten to make an egg wash)

There's a little bit of preparation to do beforehand with everything. Make sure the meat, potatoes, and veggies are already cooked, and the egg wash is ready to go before you start doing things with the dough. It's best to let the dough sit out and get to room temperature while you prepare.

Now that everything is ready, roll out your dough.
Roll it out and cut out circles. You'll be folding the circles in half, so make sure that the size of half a circle is as big as you want the finished meat pie to be. Something I noticed when I made these is that they are actually better tasting at a smaller size. So, either plan to use these as semi-large hors d'oeuvres, or to have a couple of them for a meal.

Now for the fun part:
Stuff the circles!

You won't need much, unless you're going against my advice and making some gigantic meat pies. Just a little bit of each ingredient, not even a full spoonful. Some meat, veggies, potato, cheese, all piled in the center of the circle. Don't let it get too close to the edge or you'll have trouble closing it, and not too high or else you'll overstuff it. Since there were going to be some vegetarians at the party, I made sure they could have some pies as well:
I just made sure to not put meat in theirs.

Now, be sure not to overstuff these things, or else they'll pop in the oven and you'll just have a little ball of dough with all of the insides leaking out next to it. It'll probably happen anyway, but a small leak due to a slight overstuffing is better than a really overstuffed pie that just has everything leaking everywhere.

Small mess > big mess

That's all I'm really trying to say there.

You might notice that I have my dough on some little plastic things. Those plastic trays actually fold over and crimp the edges of the dough for me, removing a whole step from the process for me. If you don't have those, don't worry, you don't need them.

Now that you have the small pile of delicious in your dough, brush a little egg wash around the edge of the dough, and fold it in half. If you don't have the fancy crimping thing I do, just take a fork and press the edges together with it, the egg wash will act as a glue to hold the whole thing together.

Be sure to poke a hole or two in the pastry to let out steam while it cooks, or else you'll get those leaks I was talking about earlier. You don't want those. Holes are important. I can't stress this enough. Make holes.

Also, brush some egg wash on top of the pastry. It'll give you a nice golden brown when you bake it. It can also serve as a glue in case you decide to do like I did:
I had extra dough which I used to put letters on the pies. Since the party was a bunch of members of Justice Productions, the word Justice was the only natural choice. I had a system, too. Consonants (J,S,T,C) had the meat and vowels (U,I,E) were vegetarian.

In the end, with the amount of dough I had, I was able to make somewhere around 20-30 pies. I still had tons of ingredients left over, so if you make around as much as I did in that first picture, you'll have enough to make way more than 30 small pies. Enough for just about any party.

As for baking, just bake like the instructions on the box of dough should say. Usually around 350 or 450 for about 20 minutes. You'll know they're done when they reach a nice golden brown.

The numbers aren't important. Measuring, timing, etc. I do none of that. This is easy to make, just have fun and know what to look for and you'll do fine.

Or burn everything.