Fake Provencale Ground Meat & Vegetable Pie
I was originally intending to make Cornish pasties- little whole-meals in a pie crust consisting of ground meat, potatoes, carrots, peas and gravy. These little standards of English cooking were traditionally the lunch that the miners would take down into the pits with them, or the farmers out to the fields- Well- alas I had no peas at home, so I decided to desert the minors and the farmers today. In fact I decided to desert the English altogether! Instead, I improvised and put together this slightly different variation on the same theme... and crossed the channel to France to do so!
After 5-6 minutes, I added a teaspoon of green olive "tapanade" or paste and a teaspoon of tomato paste. I seasoned with salt and pepper, added around a tablespoon of herbs de Provence and a handful of finely chopped fresh parsley. I stirred this all in well and deglazed the pan with a splash of red wine, then followed it up with a little boiling water. Soon enough, a nice gravy appeared as if by magic- and pretty delicious it was too! I turned it down to simmer, turned on the oven to maximum heat and began to prepare my baking dish to finish the whole thing off!
First of all, I cut a few thin strips of puff pastry to a width of around 1"- the first of which I fixed to the top edge of the dish. This would be what would hold the rest of the pastry in place. Next, I carefully spooned-in the meat and vegetable filling, which by now had been cooking for around 20 minutes. The next thing I needed to do was to cut shorter lengths of pastry to make the criss-cross pattern on top. I set these in place and pressed the edges firmly to the first layer of pastry. Once the cross pieces were in place, I pressed long strips down again along the outer edge, on top of the first layer, to effectively sandwich the the cross pieces in-between... pretty simple really!
All it needed was 5-10 minutes in a hot oven, to bring the filling back to temperature and to puff up that pastry! As I said, it is not a real pie, as the filling is not completely enclosed, but there is plenty of fluffy and flaky crust there to make for deliciously good eating and the flavors are fresh, fragrant and really good! Bon apetit!