northern ireland

Pie 92: The Hurlford United Pie

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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!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Blair Park, Hurlford United 3-1 Pollok, Scottish Junior Cup Quarter Final

The pitch wasn't that squinty. My hand was.
The pitch wasn’t that squinty. My hand was.

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.

THE PIE

The new Brown Sauce technique continues at pace.
The new Brown Sauce technique continues at pace.

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.

Pie 78: The St. Mirren Pie

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Hello and welcome to Meat Filled Pastries, apologies I’ve been a way for a wee while but this has been a deliberate manoeuvre on my part. As I explained in my last entry next Tuesday I will be a judge at the World Scotch Pie Championships, judging, somewhat unsurprisingly, the Football Pie category. This week a myriad of documents arrived via email and I have spent the last couple of days familiarising myself with the criteria these pies must aspire to. Conscious that some will have passed my lips already I resolved to take a short pie based sabbatical for the benefit of judging impartiality. Now for some people ten days without a pie isn’t really a big deal but when you spend a few hours a week talking about these pastry swathed beauties rationing becomes a difficult skill to master. I hope you can all understand.

With all that being said I still have a pie in my back pocket for your reading delectation, so without further ado, let’s rate some pie.

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: St Mirren Park, Scotland v Northern Ireland, Sky Sports Victory Shield

Give us a Song!
Give us a Song!

Price: A step up in surroundings saw a considerable step up in price with a scotch pie setting me back £2.10, admittedly only 10p more than the Stirling University Pie recently reviewed but still more than double the price of the junior pies that have been passing my lips this season. If I was still at university, and I was doing some kind of economics based course I am 95% certain I would try to do a statistical analysis of the price of pie even though the BBC do a decent, if not slightly flawed, job of it already. I mean Rangers for whatever reason still have their toys out of the pram and refuse to collaborate in these fan focused surveys at the moment but what was stopping a ‘journalist’ (somebody paid to investigate stories), going to Ibrox, buying a pie, a Bovril, a programme and a ticket and then whacking the information into their ‘Price of Football’ super computer. I mean the price of entry and cost of match day sundries once inside Ibrox are some of the few things down Govan way that aren’t shrouded in mystery these days. I tell you what BBC because I’m a nice guy next time I go I’ll get you a price list. Moving on.

Presentation: The traditional presentation style for a pie in the upper echelons of the Scottish game. A small white napkin with the pie snugly wedged into a silver tin foil case.

THE PIE

The Paisley Pie
The Paisley Pie.

Meatiness: I hope you can see from above this was a very will filled pie. The first bite was one where you could almost feel your teeth going through the layers. The meat was moist and the right balance was struck with it being firm enough to bite securely without being so firm that the meat didn’t give a little once you pulled your lips away. Where this meat really excelled though was with its peppery kick, something that has been sadly missing from my recent bout of pie tastings. It was almost instantaneous in hitting the palate not hot with fire but spicy with pepper, I was so impressed with this burst of flavour I decided to time how long the linger would last but at the 6 minute stage I was still waiting for the tang to subside and so I gave up suitably impressed with the enduring presence of the pepper within.

Pastry: The pastry was nice. The top disc was a little loose leading to some gaps around the side, in some ways this allows the pie to cool before eating but, on receipt of my pie judging forms this week, not something that you should consider as pie perfection. The upper lip of the crust was nice and crispy without being too hard and the base remained in tact. An impressive feat considering the penchant for destruction that a tin foil case has when it comes to pie pastry. .The all important pastry to pie ratio was just right although I’m not a fan of the dusty top that inexplicably makes it way on to some pies including this one. Often I feel this dusting subtracts flavour instead of adding it but all in all as a receptacle for the meat inside this did an admirable job.

Brown Sauce: The brown sauce provided came in the form of a large pump handle bottle, economically a sound move but logistically a bit of a nightmare as you often find yourself squinting your hand into all sorts of position to get the sauce coating you desire. This was especially true in this instance as this particular pump handle was only allowing a small spot of sauce out at a time. The sauce itself though was suitably tangy.

Overall: I had recently been going through a bit of a pie rut with nothing really capturing the imagination but this pie has been a mighty fine example of a football snack. Well filled, with an excellent peppery kick with the proportions of meat to pastry just right and if somebody could just blow off the floury sprinkles on top then this would be a true top pie contender.

Gravy Factor: Peppercorn Sauce. Love that Linger.

So another pie down and the next pie to pass my lips will be at the World Scotch Pie Championships to be held in Dunfermline next week. I plan to write about my experience after which my journey of pie will continue in full once again. Slated for review next will be the Glasgow City pie as they are in Women’s Champions League action at the Excelsior Stadium in Airdrie. My latest Sporadic Scottish Football Round-Up will also be up on The Football Pink in the next few days.

However until next time, go forth and eat pie!