Sometimes, I forget where I have and haven’t eaten a pie before. Well that’s not strictly true, I will have almost always have eaten a pie but have I reviewed it? My latest trip to Hurlford United is a good example of this occasional quandary.
I have visited Blair Park a number of times since I started this website/blog/travel guide of Scotland’s most random villages and towns and I know that I had at least written one review of their standard Scotch Pie. I also knew that they stocked the infamous Killie Pie, or The Kilmarnock Pie to use modern parlance, but I had never reviewed it here as naturally, I waited until I had reached this pies natural home of Rugby Park, which turned out to be just a few weeks later.
Some places are known for their variety of pastries. Offering not only pies in a variety of flavours but sausage rolls, pasties and bridies too. Others less so often focusing on one core product, the majestic Scotch Pie. Hurlford United (in my head anyway) were always somewhere in between so it was with some slight befuddlement in my voice I responded with “Aye mate!”, when propositioned with an Onion Pie from their Pie Hut that greets you as you enter the ground. How had I missed this? Has this always been here? Have I been depriving myself of the best pastry that The Ford have to offer for years? I had to know!
So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!
Where: Blair Park, Hurlford United 3-3 Pollok, West Superleague Premier Division
Price: £1.50. As previously discussed in my most recent review from Bathgate Thistle a quid and a half is a growing trend in the pie pricing world. Onion Pie’s are a particularly strange breed when it comes to categorising. In theory it’s a luxury pie what with it not being a Scotch Pie pure breed but at the same time it’s essence is essentically scotch with some onion chucked in and so my expectation would be that the price remains much the same. In most cases (including this one) that is always the case and even if you were to grumble you’re still only paying £1.50 for a hot lunch of perfectly balanced carbohydrates and protein. Never to be sniffed at.
Presentation: There seems to be an excess of napkins floating around the junior football scene as for the second review in a row I was presented with not one, but two sheets of white paper goodness. The added benefit being that you not only get to have a napkin to hold your pastry in but you also have an almost un-splattered second one to clean your top lip.
Meatiness: So with an onion pie, I always find that the ratio of meat to onion can vary. Anywhere from 75/25 in favour of meat to more than 50/50 in favour of onion. I don’t think there’s a right answer on this as it totally depends on the type and pungency of your onion but for me a good ratio can be told by the smell of the pie, and this pie, undoubtedly had an oniony tinge on the nose and with further inspection it’s presence clearly visible ingredient as a pastry filling. Once I took my first bite there was a slight hint of sweet onion flavour however what was more predominant was a fiery pepper kick, for me a bit too strong as it overpowered the meat, which whilst had a fairly decent texture, lacked the oomph to compete. The onion also soon wilted against the power of pepper and by the end the kick had turn to a slight burn in the back of the throat. Which ultimately, was a little bit disappointing.
Pastry: The pastry was a little patchy but had crisped up nicely on the top edges to a lovely golden colour. What was a joy was the unexpected chew of a jerky like substance that had boiled out of the pie a little, like a little nugget of fatty onion flavour. The tell tale two holes of an onion pie were also present and all in all at no point did I fear losing the meaty morsels within.
Brown Sauce: Hands up! I can’t remember the brand but given the taste and appearance it’s slightly vinegar tang added a nice layer to the overall eat.
Overall: Variety is the spice of life so it was good to see another pie offering from Hurlford United, if I was to eat one of these again I’d like to see a little less of that pepper spice just to smooth out the taste.
Gravy Factor: Onion Gravy with a hefty kick!
I think it’s fair to say I haven’t fully got back in to the rhythm of regularly writing. I have quite the backlog at the moment of ideas and concepts but when I hit a mental block I always ensure there’s a pie or two in reserve to try to get the juices flowing. With that in mind I have another review from Ayrshire coming in the not distant future, this time from Saltcoats Victoria, the games are coming thick and fast, and where possible I’m hunting out a new review before the season ends but 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. He has contributed to prominent football sites including Pie & Bovril, The Terrace Podcast, The Football Pink and The FBA’s as well as featuring in The Scotsman, STV and a number of other media outlets. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part time Madrileno with a passion for food that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.
See, I promised you this review was coming soon. Welcome back to Meat Filled Pastries and another scotch pie offering from the world of junior football. One of the problems with writing so many reviews so close together, especially at the start of the week is that there isn’t usually much to say. Soooo…yeaaaaaahhhh, let’s just get on with it, eh? Let’s rate so…oh, wait! One thing, I’m writing a book, yeah that’s happening but I’m just going to leave that dangling out there for now.
Anyway, as I was saying, let’s rate some pie!
Where: Blair Park, Hurlford United 3-1 Pollok, Scottish Junior Cup Quarter Final
Price: Now Hurlford United have the unique distinction of not only selling their own pastry fare but also being proprietors of the much vaunted Killie Pie, and whilst I have no doubt their offering would be cheaper than one at its natural habitat of Rugby Park that particular delicacy will have to wait until I make a visit there so shunning popular opinion I settled on a scotch pie priced at £1. That’ll do for me.
Presentation: Keeping it simple with a not quite medium-sized white napkin and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Meatiness: Now as you know I am always championing the importance of a peppery kick to my scotch pie. The warmth of pepper helps add a spicy edge to a pie’s already bountiful goodness but in this instance I found myself thinking the peppery hit was just a little too much. On the clear positives, of which there were many the meat was well packed and had a noticeable weight to it when placed in my hand andt had enough fat to keep it moist without it falling apart as you ate. The peppery kick though wasn’t quite right, initially a pleasant addition it started to form an ever building heat in my mouth that started working against this pastry. It was nothing to do with the heat, this pie guy put’s hot sauce on pretty much anything that makes sense to my taste buds but by the end of consumption it left my throat feeling rather dry due to the severity of the build. Given the quality of everything else about this pie I wonder if I was just unlucky and got that rogue pie in the batch where the mixture hasn’t melded together quite as well as the butcher/baker had desired.
Pastry: Although the base was a little soft there was no doubting the near perfect golden top and edges. The pastry held firm throughout consumption and was a solid support to the abundance of filling inside.
Brown Sauce: You may have noticed a new brown sauce dispatch technique in the last couple of reviews, it was suggested to me by one of the folk I regularly attend Pollok game’s with and it’s kind of stuck. This half and half method allows me to assess the pie on its own merits on one half while gauging the effect of the brown sauce on the other. In this instance the sauce was presented in an unmarked squeezy bottle and had just the right balance of tang, sweet and spice.
Overall: Lot’s about this pie was good. It was generously filled, had lovely golden pastry and held together well throughout. Yes it was perhaps a tad over-peppered but a beer at half time soon eased any lingering dryness and being honest I would rather my pie over seasoned than under.
Gravy Factor: Peppered Gravy.
I think what this pie shows that even if you really like your pie a certain way it’s still important to get the balance right, a message that was driven home to me repeatedly by the butchers and bakers present at the World Scotch Pie Championships at the start of this year. My next footballing visit is to see Scotland take on Northern Ireland however there’s a possibility I may have exhausted all my pastry based options at the home of Scottish football but fear not as with Meat Filled Pastries the next pie is never far away.
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. He has contributed to prominent football sites including Pie & Bovril, The Terrace Podcast, The Football Pink and The FBA’s as well as featuring in The Scotsman, STV and a number of other media outlets. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ with a passion for food that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.