The Bake Off'ers were on game pies this week and some of them (the pies) looked amazing. We don't eat enough game in this country even though you can see Muntjac deer, and dazed looking pheasants pre-shooting season, on nearly every corner here in Suffolk. Here's a young man who sells local venison and can even help you learn how to butcher a deer (in case you run one over...)
We went "In Deep" at the Grapesense wine class this week, we went to South America. We tried Atlantico Sur, Marselan from the Garzon Vineyard in Uruguay. Then we started talking about Uruguay and how it's remembered for Fray Bentos meat pies. Fray Bentos is a large Uruguayan town where the Liebig Company produced tinned meats and beef oxo for export to the UK. The Fray Bentos brand was launched in 1899, initially for corned beef, then later pies. By 1961, when Fray Bentos Steak and Kidney was launched, pie production had shifted to Hackney. From the dozen or so of us at the wine class, no one admitted to having ever eaten one of the pies! I remember my Grandma always had one in her kitchen cupboard but I have never tried one, so for the sake of my Grapesense friends - here is the photo story of the Steak and Ale pie that I bought and ate.
I chose the Steak and Ale pie as it had the highest meat content (25%) and by the way the pastry is 24% so not sure what the rest is?! The smell of the pie still lingers in my kitchen an hour or so later, that kind of school-dinner, cheap chip-shop pie smell, like kidneys cooking, although the pie doesn't have any kidneys in it. The pastry looked revolting when I took the lid off the tin but had an impressive puffiness to it when out of the oven, which soon deflated leaving a soggy under layer. The gravy was very salty with scruffy small pieces of beef that were all on one side of the tin.
Interesting Fray Bentos Facts!
Sales of the pies plummeted during the Falklands War. Uruguay being the neighbour of Argentina.
Sean Bean (the actor) always has a Fray Bentos pie on hand when filming abroad, he loves them.
The empty tin makes a good dog bowl.
- Impressive looking puff pastry out of the oven
- Soggy bottom of the pastry lid
- Small pieces of beef
- Surprising choice of pies at Morrisons
- The deep fill steak and ale pie
- Slimy pastry when opened