Professional Pies

Pie 177: The St. Johnstone Steak & Chorizo Pie

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Look, I know. You’re reading that heading and screaming at me to avoid the pre-amble this week. You want to know more about this delectable sounding double meat masterpiece. Patience my friends, the words will be flowing shortly but for now I need to do another little bit of self-promotion. I mean, what’s the point of having your own website if you can’t do that?

So what is it? Well, I have a new podcast project via Leading the Line. Episode One dropped this Tuesday where I interviewed women’s football journalist and co-author of “The Making of the Women’s World Cup” Kieran Theivam.

The pod has been set up with two aims in mind. One, to promote women’s football, particularly in Scotland, interviewing those within the game and those that pass comment on it and two, use the pod to help people promote their own projects and passions, giving a platform to those who are fulfilling a long held creative football based dream or project.

There are already four pods in the bag at the time of writing and I’m hoping over time to see it grow and make things more interactive. The link to subscribe on iTunes is here and you can also access it via all the usual podcast channels including Soundcloud where it’s hosted. I hope you enjoy it, and if you do, find the time to drop a wee five star review saying so. At some point I’m sure I’ll find a way to get a pie themed interview in there too.

Shilling done let’s get into the meat of this week’s footballing matters as we head to Perth where St. Johnstone took on Ross County in the Betfred Cup Group Stages. So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: McDiarmid Park, St. Johnstone 1-2 Ross County, Betfred Cup Group Stage

Price: This pie was the match day special and was billed at a slightly higher price point than the standard scotch and steak pies on offer. At £2.80 this was one of the more extravagantly priced pastries to be entered into the annuls of Meat Filled Pastries but as I was soon to discover, sometimes, you get what you pay for.

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Presentation: The pie was housed in a large tin foil case with a substantially sized white napkin present to prevent the palm from any potential burn. That said it was still absolutely roasting!

Meatiness: Oh my. This was a delight. I’m not sure where to start! First the gravy, fluid but still thick, wrapping itself around a melange of steak and toothsome chorizo cubes, with the flavours of meat marrying with undertones of paprika from the seasoning within this widely known Spanish sausage. The chorizo used wasn’t cooking chorizo though but instead the air dried ready to eat version. Not that was a bad thing, in fact it was somewhat of a masterstroke as it added wonderful texture in amongst the tender steak and luscious gravy occasionally popping with a little burst of chorizo flavour.

Pastry: It came out clean from the pastry, itself a cause for celebration, although I was deliberately gentle to ensure so. The sides were baked just enough to hold but did require a little juggling to ensure the filling stayed within and the top was smooth and golden. Tin foil cases and pies with moist fillings aren’t always a match made in heaven but credit the Saints and Yorke’s their suppliers as this held together adequately.

Brown Sauce: It would have been highly disappointing had I seen anyone splashing this pastry. Definitely not needed.

Overall: Tasty gravy, well textured proteins and good pastry made for a fiesta of flavours.

Gravy Factor: Super Salsa!

I’m glad I took my detour home to Glasgow via Perth as this was a wonderful treat. As a little bonus, and to round off a smashing match day feed, I had some pudding in the form of an Empire Biscuit. It was just the ticket although controversially adorned with a cherry as opposed to a jelly. So as well as your pie thoughts, let me know what goes on top of your dream Empire Biscuit?

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That’s it for this week so until next time, remember to support your local side, big up women’s football and of course go forth and eat pie.

Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. Editor of Leading the Line, A member of the Scottish Women’s Football Media Team and a contributor to various football websites, podcasts and publications. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

Pie 171: The Kello Rovers Pie

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Hello and welcome to the first of a trio of slightly delayed reviews as I round out my 2018/19 season in pie. This time around I head to one of junior football’s most southerly outposts, Kirkconnel, where Kello Rovers hosted Rossvale in the West Region Championship with a victory for the visitors guaranteeing them promotion to the top tier of the West Region pyramid for the first time in their relatively short history.

The home side had already been condemned to relegation a number of weeks previous but they put up a more than adequate showing in a surprisingly feisty end of season encounter. In fact on more than one occasion I had to recoil such was the ferocity of some of the tackles flying in from the home side.

Nithside Park, for reasons I can’t fully articulate or understand has long been on my wish list to visit. The only conclusions I could come to as we rattled through the countryside was that 1. it’s a bit far away (in a wet region junior football context at least) and 2. I’d never been. Having never been it also meant that I had probably, sub-consciously at least, unlocked reason three I had never sampled their meat filled goods and so it was with some relief to find that on arrival the pie stall was fully stocked which is a scenario that is not always guaranteed come season end. With sides balancing the demands of those on the terraces with the reality of having a whole load of perishables and nobody to punt them to for the next month or so I have on occasion been left disappointed on my pastry quests. Anyway, Kello Rovers did have the pies on, so without much further ado, let’s rate some pies!

Where: Kello Rovers 0-3 Rossvale, Nithside Park, West Region Championship

Price: At £1.20 this was bang in line with the standard price point for a junior scotch pie.

Presentation: Classically presented on a single white medium sized napkin.

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Meatiness: This was a very tasty squat little pie. The filling had a moreish savoury flavour profile, not so strong on the pepper but well seasoned, with a slight leaning towards the salty for some but bang on for my palate. The texture made the four or five bites in which it took me to demolish this pie some of the best bites that I’ve taken this season. An unexpected delight.

Pastry: This pastry glistened amongst the late spring showers at Nithside Park. The top edge was crisp and golden. It did look a little rough around the edges and was certainly a tad fragile to handle (especially when you had two in your hands!) but it held together just enough to ensure a safe consumption could be completed.

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Brown Sauce: A giant bottle of brown sauce was available to ensure that despite it being the last fixture of the season for the home side there would be no shortages in the condiment department.

Overall: Tasty savoury filling with good texture that very much makes this the little pie that could…satisfy my early afternoon hunger.

Gravy Factor: A little flavour bomb.

As I said at the start this late burst of reviews from the back end of the 2018/19 season are going out a little later than planned as a result of a couple of things which I’ll share in the upcoming reviews. My season in pie will round out with a double feature from Prestonfield as the home of Linlithgow Rose played host to the King’s Cup Final between Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic and Tranent Juniors. A cracker of a game on a sunny Lothian day.

So until, next time, go forth and eat pie!

Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. Editor of Leading the Line, A member of the SWPL Media Team and a contributor to various football websites and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert, hosting “The Isco Inferno” a weekly take on all things Spanish football. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

 

 

Pie 170: The Annan Athletic Steak Pie

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It’s Annan Athletic Pie 2 and with the season ending and with the volunteers who run lower league social media accounts across the country taking a well earned break let’s not waste any time and get straight into this steak pie.

Without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Annan Athletic 2-0 Stenhousemuir, Galabank, Scottish League One Play Off Semi Final

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Price: £2. For a luxury pie that’s pretty much on the button for this level, for some it might be a little top heavy but anything under the two quid marker is usually pretty good going.

Presentation: Much like the scotch pie this was presented on an ample sized single white napkin.

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Meatiness: Now normally when you buy a steak pie you are met with a marriage of beefy gravy and chewy to meltingly tender chunks of meat dependent on ratios and overall quality of the pie. The Annan Athletic Steak Pie though was a different animal, the meat more stew like in texture with the strands of slow cooked meat melding with the gravy within. It tasted pretty good but was a little one note texturally and I found myself starting to crave a little variation from my next bite.

Pastry: There was a double layer of pastry used here. A harder outer layer with a softer inner layer that merged with the filling. This approach meant that there was no requirement for any metallic casing and also ensured a secure bite. There was also a nice little bit of decoration on the top, a rarely seen flourish on football terraces.

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Brown Sauce: Nada as this is a luxury pie but perhaps a little squirt might have been a good edition.

Overall: Generously portioned but perhaps lacking a little pizzazz.

Gravy Factor: I think I need to stew on this one.

The end of my pie season is near, and the fatigue is setting in just a little but there is still time for one more review from the junior scence as Kello Rovers took on Rossvale in a game where the visitors had to claim three points to earn promotion to the West Region’s top tier for the very first time.

However until then, go forth and eat pie.

Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. Editor of Leading the Line, A member of the SWPL Media Team and a contributor to various football websites and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert, hosting “The Isco Inferno” a weekly take on all things Spanish football. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

 

Pie 169: The Annan Athletic Pie

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Hello my meat filled muckers and welcome to the first of two reviews from Annan Athletic as I found myself taking the relatively easy 80 minute drive from Glasgow to Galabank for the home side’s SPFL League One play off first round leg tie against Stenhousemuir. I think the play-offs have been a great addition to the SPFL calendar and whilst Annan were ultimately unsuccessful in their promotion push despite their two-legged victory over Stenny an opportunity to bring in bumper crowds for some all or nothing football with the heightened coverage it brings is something that I hope continues to grow. It’s not perfect but it’s definitely entertaining.

Speaking of entertaining the Scottish Football season as a whole has been a pretty good one, yes a fairly average Celtic have coasted the league again but once you look by that you’ve seen a Rangers re-emergence, Kilmarnock claiming third, compliance officer shenanigans, Tartan Army travesties and of course Shelley Kerr and the girls qualifying for this summer’s Women’s World Cup with seven of her squad currently plying their trade in the Scottish Women’s Premier League. That’s a lot to take in, and so instead of me doing it here can I point you towards the How’s Your Touch? Kickstarter Project which will be providing a holistic look at all things Scottish football, including my end of season pie awards. This fully illustrated annual can be yours for just £10 so why not get involved by clicking here.

As I say my take on this season’s pies will feature, so without much further ado let’s see if this first effort from the Galabankies will turn out to be a contender. Let’s rate some pie!

Where: Annan Athletic 2-0 Stenhousemuir, Galabank, SPFL League One Play Off Semi Final

Price: Priced at £1.60 this is a fairly priced pastry in a Scottish League Two context, slightly more than your average junior pie but still a perfectly affordably treat when compared with prices further up the pyramid.

Presentation: A super large single white napkin. Plenty of layers to mop up any spillages from in and around your oral cavity.

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Meatiness: This was an interesting pie to eat. The texture was pretty good with the meat loose enough to give way as much as your bite dictated it should do. The first few bites though seemed pretty short on flavour. I knew what I was eating but it wasn’t until about halfway through that the those familiar scotch pie tastes became prominent. The end note was quite a fiery pepper kick, just on the right side of tasty. Decent but perhaps a little unbalanced.

Pastry: This pastry glistened in the early evening sun, adorned with a thin layer of gleaming fat that for some is a worry whilst for others a joy. The pastry did the job though, stayed in tact and was crisp all the way round with a good seal on the top and a little steam hole for a dash of artistic flair.

Brown Sauce: There was not just one type of brown sauce to chose from here but two. I plumped for a blob of Daddies which did the necessary in adding notes of sweetness and spice to the overall bite.

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Overall: A handy little pastry although the absence of flavour in the first few bites was a bit of a downer.

Gravy Factor: A pie of two halves.

That’s the first of two reviews from Annan Athletic in the books, with the second review of their steak pie following shortly, however until next time go forth and eat pie!

Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. Editor of Leading the Line, A member of the SWPL Media Team and a contributor to various football websites and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert, hosting “The Isco Inferno” a weekly take on all things Spanish football. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

Pie 164: The Carlisle United Steak & Ale Pie

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I’ve gone rogue! That’s right I’ve infringed on rival turf and this last Good Friday I took a train down to Brunton Park to take in Carlisle United v Lincoln City in the race to escape League Two.

I have to say as footballing day trips from Glasgow go the hour long train ride from Glasgow Central to the populous heart of Cumbria is a pretty good one. The journey is relatively cheap, there are a good number of pubs in and around the city centre as well around the ground with Brunton Park itself a short twenty minute walk from the station. I’d recommend it and as I found on the train back to Glasgow later that evening I wasn’t the only visitor from north of the border to the Cumbrian’s that day.

The rugby club beside the stadium was busier than usual with over 2,000 Lincoln City fans in attendance hoping that The Imps would lift the title and so, after deciding to not wait in a massive queue for the second time, I headed into the stadium where I continued my supping as well as, of course, having a meat filled pastry.

So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Brunton Park, Carlisle United 1-0 Lincoln City, English League Two

Price: There were two pricing options for this pastry. Option 1 was to buy the pie on it’s own for £2.80 or Option 2, to buy a pie and a pint (I’m not going to get deep into the booze at football debate here) for £6. Obviously I like the economics behind option number two and so promptly set myself up with a Steak & Ale Pie and a pint of Strongbow because it was sunny and sunny equals cider. The BBC Price of Football survey recently calls this out as one of the cheapest pies in the English Football League which, considering this game was in the bottom tier of this set up, is quite frightening.

Presentation: This was weird as after putting away my change I was presented with one of those white silver lined heat retaining bags which I was assured had my pie within. After finding a spot to watch the end of the Sheffield United v Nottingham Forest game, I opened the bag to then find my pie wrapped in plastic. I remove the plastic to finally have in my hand a fairly large pie housed with a silver tin foil case. So odd.

Meatiness: Well once I got to a bite with some filling in, my first couple of bites heartbreakingly shy of both meat and/or gravy, this was a fairly tasty mouthful. The gravy was viscous and plentiful enough with the right hint of ale to the overall taste but for me the steak was a little sparse and the chunks a little small which meant they didn’t add that meaty tooth feel that really pushes a pie onto greatness.

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Pastry: It and nice golden tinge to it but it was too soft. Soft, almost spongy, on the bottom and soft on the top with the flakes of pastry a little soggy. As soon as you got through your initial bite every one that followed there after resulted in the gravy squirting out all over the shop. Pastry on a pie, on the top at the very least, should be crispy. With it being hosted in this multitude of bags the pie had clearly steamed under the heat lamps and so the pastry for me was all wrong.

Brown Sauce: None for a luxury pie. Them be the rules.

Overall: The filling tasted pretty good but the wasteful nature of the packaging and the softness of the pastry really holds this pie back. I was surprised to learn as I entered the Pioneer Stand that this was an “Award Winning” pie and my concern is that once again a pie that wins prizes on the shelf of a butcher’s or baker’s shop had been compromised in the face of mass catering.

Gravy Factor: Spongy Gravy.

Would love to have this pie without the heat bags and plastics but this site designated to the best pies you can have at the ground and as long as the pie continues to be presented in this way it will remain a fairly tasty but slightly wrong take on the wonder that is a meat filled pastry.

Next up, I have a first for the site as I get elbow deep into a Breakfast Pie from Scottish Junior side Clydebank as they took on Pollok at their temporary home of Lochburn Park in Glasgow’s West End.

However until then, go forth, and eat pie!

Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. A member of the SWPL Media Team and a contributor to various football websites and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert, hosting “The Isco Inferno” a weekly take on all things Spanish football. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

Pie 160: The St. Mirren Curry Pie

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Hello pie fans, it’s been a while since a review has dropped from the desk at Meat Filled Pastries Mansion so I think it’s only fair I share an update in relation to what’s been going on and reassure you that the end has never been further away for your favourite Scottish football pie website.

Firstly, the fixture gods have not been my friend. Whilst I try and watch as much football as I can I still have a team I follow every Saturday. Pollok’s recent stability in the league combined with some over familiar cup pairings means that I haven’t been furnished with many opportunities to review new pastries.

Secondly, I have revived Leading the Line and have been focusing more on features in particular relating to Scottish and Spanish football including statistical analysis, opinion and retrospective pieces. The statistics in particular is an attempt to marry my day job to my passions and I’m quite pleased with how some of these pieces have progressed.

Thirdly, and for me this is the most exciting, I have joined the SWPL Media Team. I have been a long time advocate of women’s football in Scotland and after finally getting annoyed enough to start promoting it myself I was approached by the league to join the team. As well as covering match days for the SWPL website I have also provided statistical match previews and I am brimming with ideas about how to help the game grow at a time when the interest levels have never been higher fuelled by the national team’s upcoming appearance at the Women’s World Cup which, of course, I’m heading to.

So yeah, lots going on, and I’m willing to admit that the pies may have probably taken a back seat whilst I’ve been getting other things on the go but it’s good to be back with this curry offering from the stands of The Simple Digital Arena. So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: The Simple Digital Arena, Scotland U17 0-2 Portugal U17, Euro Qualifier Elite Round

Price: At £2.70 this is at the top end of the football pricing spectrum in Scotland. Whilst in the junior ranks this kind of price point would be baulked at in a Scottish Premiership context there are some far worse out there as well as some better priced offerings too.

Presentation: In a large, round and shiny tinfoil case that was a lot shallower than you initially thought it was going to be. The encased pastry sitting securely on a single large white napkin.

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Meatiness: This pie was criminally under filled with so much space between filling end and pastry top that you could almost squeeze another pie in there! Putting aside the fact I burnt my tongue (my mouth filled with a plume of roasting hot steam on first bite) this pie was…alright. Initially your mouth welcomed what was a fairly generic curry taste but as you ate notes of sweetness and heat did pop their heads in from time to time. There was nowhere near enough chicken in it but as it wasn’t billed as a Chicken Curry Pie I suppose I have to let them off that one on a technicality.

Pastry: The pastry was a bit peely-wally and as the picture shows the lid flapped off the base as you ate which meant some juggling was required. It was however just crisp enough, very neat on presentation before that first bite and there was no sticking to the tin foil. Serviceable.

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Overall: I’ve yet to have a curry pie that has blown me away in a football setting, this was perfectly edible but the lack of filling really holds it back.

Gravy Factor: A half cup of gravy.

Ah, that felt good, a new pie review done. The nights are getting lighter so I’m hoping to get out and about a bit more for some midweek action over the coming months. I also am currently acting on an idea I’ve been sitting on in relation to pies so keep your eyes peeled for that when it finally drops.

However until next time, go forth and eat pie!

Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. A member of the SWPL Media Team and a contributor to various football websites and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert, hosting “The Isco Inferno” a weekly take on all things Spanish football. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

 

Pie 156: The East Stirlingshire Steak Pie

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Hello and welcome to the first pie review of the new year. 2019 will see me continue to try to find the best match day pastries around. One of the questions I often get asked is who makes the best football pies. I’ve often shied away from it as I’m not sure what the right answer has been, but with a new year comes new ideas and for the very first time I present to you the 2018 Meat Filled Pastries Awards.

I’ve split this into 3 categories – Best Scotch Pie, Best Luxury Pie, Best Non-Pie Pastry. I should note that at this point that this is for only new pies consumed in 2018, to include pies tasted more than a year ago just doesn’t feel right. So here we go:

Best Scotch Pie 2018 – Pie 131: The Bathgate Thistle Pie

A former World Scotch Pie Champion this offering had all the key components a good scotch pie should have all just fine tuned and turned up a little. Honourable mention to Pie 153: The Partick Thistle Pie for keeping the senior flag flying.

Best Luxury Pie 2018 – Pie 151: The Cumnock Steak & Haggis Pie

A surprise winner here. Not because the combination of steak and haggis shouldn’t have been delicious, it definitely can be, and it was but because I turned up at Townhead Park with zero expectation of having a new pie to review. To be then greeted with this beauty was truly something wonderful. Honourable mention also goes to Pie 142: The Troon Steak Pie, a pie that could feed a million people quite easily such was its generosity in size and flavour.

Best Non-Pie Pastry 2018 – Pie 130: The Girvan Sausage Roll

This was a tough one to call as it easily could have also gone to Pie 153: The Ardrossan Winton Rovers Bridie but this sausage roll just edges it with its size and neatness in construction tipping the balance in its favour. The smear of mustard inside the pastry an inspired addition.

A strong showing for the Scottish Juniors here. I had a slight concern that I was viewing these with a non-league bias but when I read back through the reviews the words really did speak for themselves. I’m writing this on the 1st January 2019 and so I thought it would be remiss of me not to welcome in the new year with a new steak pie review, this time from the Lowland League as I spent the Friday night between Christmas and New Year at the Falkirk Stadium as East Stirlingshire took on University of Stirling.

So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: The Falkirk Stadium, East Stirlingshire 2-2 University of Stirling, Lowland League

 

Price: At £2.40 it feels like this pastry pricing was a victim of its surroundings being as it was right at the very top end of the non-league pastry pricing structure whilst also being higher than many SPFL pastries.

Presentation: Presented in a tin foil case which sat on top of a super large double layered white napkin which helped to protect your hand from the oven fresh pie.

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Meatiness: There was a fairly decent filling held within this pastry. The gravy was well-flavoured and had a nice consistency to it that when you took a bite it popped up through the hole in the pastry. A little dark brown chimney of savouriness to help you power through a cold December evening. There perhaps could have been a bit more meat distributed throughout, and perhaps what was there could have been distributed a little more evenly but it was tasty enough nevertheless.

Pastry: One of the things I often reference when reviewing a pie that has been presented inside a tin foil case is that it’s often a challenge to both keep the pastry in tact and also ensure it is properly baked. One of the method’s of stopping this sticky situation is to line the bottom of the tin with a floury layer. This was what was applied here and whilst it meant the pastry didn’t stick the layer was a little too thick giving a slight raw flour taste to the bite and although it didn’t stick it was perhaps a little soft too although it did stay entirely intact which has to be commended.

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Brown Sauce: It’s a new year but the same rules apply. A luxury pie should provide you all the saucey substances you ever need.

Overall: A decent effort. Everything tasted fine but I would have liked to have seen a little more meat in the filling and a little more bake on the base.

Gravy Factor: Decent gravy.

This is the first of two reviews from East Stirlingshire, with review two focusing a bit more on the match day experience at the Falkirk Stadium as well as on another meat filled marvel.

However until then, go forth into 2019 and eat some pie!

Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. A contributor to various football websites and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert and hosts “The Isco Inferno” a weekly take on all things Spanish football. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.