steak pie

Pie 191: The BSC Glasgow Steak Pie

Posted on Updated on

Hello and welcome to the latest review from Meat Filled Pastries, I hope this finds you well and that your start to the new year has been everything that you’ve wanted it to be and that your first game of the 202 has been an absolute rip-snorter.

After an hour or so at the artitist-formerly-known-as Recreation Park my first foot adventure to Clackmannanshire was looking like being anything but as BSC Glasgow and Bonnyrigg Rose cancelled each other out in this crucial Lowland League title clash. By the time the full time whistle had rung though my appetite for entertaining football had been suitable sated as the visitors from Midlothian let slip a two goal lead before snatching victory at the death, sparking wild scenes from a healthy travelling support and on the touchline, where the exuberance from Rose boss Robbie Horn and his staff saw the manager shown a second yellow card.

img_-to4f186648128877140130355.jpg

Piehopping, or ground hopping if you don’t like pies (you maniac!), where you have no team to call your own can be a bit of a lottery in the entertainment stakes so to have a Friday night like this one in Alloa was a wonderful little treat.

But was the steak pie on offer a wonderful little treat too? There’s only one way to find out and so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Indodrill Stadium, BSC Glasgow 2-3 Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic, Lowland League

20200103_2107405447004554761660849.jpg

Price: £2.50. Quite expensive for a non-league pastry but just about within range for a luxury pastry in what are currently Scottish Championship surroundings.

Presentation: Laid upon a large white napkin and uncased, a rare occurrence for a steak pie. Plenty of space to manoeuvre it on as you ate.

Meatiness: This was a well-filled pastry packed with lots of bite-sized pieces of steak, some requiring a little bit of a chew but in the main nice and tender. The gravy had the viscosity required to coat the meat, a good thing, without spilling from the shell unwillingly, also a good thing, and had the balance of salt and savoury just about right.

Pastry: The top was a little squashed at the sides meaning it didn’t look quite as neat as you would want by the puff pastry lid was well baked, golden and added that crunch on top along with a meld of sauce and soft pastry on the under layers. The botton half of the pastry was a little soft that meant a little juggling was required to ensure no mass meat departures to the ground below but all in all a pretty solid housing of pie here.

Brown Sauce: Luxury, there is none, and I think going forward I’ll just skip this section for luxury pies going forward.

Overall: Very tasty steak and gravy with pastry that was perhaps a little soft underneath but still sturdy enough nonetheless.

Gravy Factor: A steak pie worthy of a football first footing.

It would be remiss of me not to mention the second of my match day meals in Alloa here in the shape of a cup of piping hot homemade stovies. Slices of potato and onion in a gravy populated with chunks of mystery meat, a Scottish classic. Add in a blob of brown sauce and at £1.50 it was the perfect way to warm you on the terraces.

20200103_2019091874099332051084917.jpg

Unfortunately Meat Filled Pastries sponsored player for the season, Ross Smith, was out injured but I did get a chance to speak to a couple of behind the scenes faces at half time. For some it’s easy to be dismissive of clubs such as BSC Glasgow and Caledonian Braves but for their supporters and those that devote a significant amount of their free time on keeping them going you can only hope for success and a sustainable future. Both of the sides mentioned above are amongst the most innovative at the level when it comes to fan engagement and content creation and they bring yet another dynamic to the Scottish game.

Next time out we will be back in Glasgow as Benburb take on Pollok in the West Region Premiership, 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 Scottish Women’s Football writer 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.

The 2019 Meaties: The Meat Filled Pastries Awards

Posted on Updated on

Happy New Year! I wish you all a happy and adventure filled 2020. It’s the 1st of January 2020 and whilst this day signifies the start of a new decade for those that recognise that to be the case it also, more importantly, signifies the day that we find out the winners of the 2019 Meat Filled Pastries Awards, now dubbed The Meaties!

There are five categories this year, with the addition of a Meat Free Pastry Award as well as an award for Outstanding Achievement in the field of Matchday Pastries, given to a pie that year on year continues to deliver recognising the pastries that I can’t help but go back for.

the meaties.001

As always I preface these awards by saying that these are the opinions of Meat Filled Pastries and thus subjective and if I haven’t eaten it, then I can’t give it an award. The awards are given to those pies reviews reviewed for the first time in 2019 and if you’re thinking of one that you feel is better then get in touch and I’ll see what I can do for 2020.

For now though, let’s get straight into dishing out some pie-gh fives!

Best Non – Pie Pastry 2019: Pie 161: The Glenafton Athletic Sausage Roll

20190330_140520763092629979929188.jpg

In what was a fairly disappointing category this year it is perhaps fitting that a sausage roll that I suspect was thrown together at short notice by those who supply hot goods to Loch Park has risen to the top of the miscellaneous meat filled marvel pile. A generous wrap of golden pastry snuggled around a slab of well seasoned Lorne sausage. It was huge, it was good value and after much perusing of my year in pie it was the only candidate to win this first award.

I find myself wondering as I write whether or not this is a pastry you can even buy in the here and now.

Best Meat Free Pastry 2019: Pie 184: The Irvine Meadow XI Macaroni Pie

20191012_140723-1785177547354093162.jpg

A squat little pie that had a strong cheesy kick. Not only was the sauce delicious but the texture of the pasta was exactly what you would want from a macaroni pie, toothsome and intact meaning that with each bite you got a little pop as the air rushed through. The thing that made this pie stand out over the others was the moreishness to the bite, if the kiosk under the stand at Meadow Park hadn’t been the other side of the ground from where I was situated I may have gone and got another that day.

Honourable Mention

Pie 180: The SWNT Macaroni Pie (c/o Hibernian FC) – A well constructed and generous macaroni based pastry.

Best Luxury Pie 2019: Pie 177: The St. Johnstone Steak & Chorizo Pie

20190721_1509211716470108227344523.jpg

There was a lot of agonising over this one in what was an exceptionally strong and far reaching category in 2019. Eventually it came down to which first bite I remembered with the most clarity, the taste that still lingers in my mind and the review that seemed the most gushing in praise of the time, and so with those criterion in mind St. Johnstone are awarded the 2019 Best Luxury Pie Award. The gravy was luscious, the steak tore tenderly as I ate with an undertone of paprika provided by chorizo which itself added another texture. The pastry was golden and that day I also got an empire biscuit too. A worthy winner.

Honourable Mentions (There’s a Few)

Pie 182: The Forres Thistle Steak Pie – A huge pie packed with lots of steak and tasty gravy.

Pie 166: The Bohemian FC Chilli & Chorizo Pie – The first ever international entry into the Meat Filled Pastries Hall of Fame. The Irish side’s Chilli & Chorizo behemoth served with mash, peas and gravy was a rare pie treat from the League of Ireland.

Pie 173: The Linlithgow Rose Curry Pie – The finest curry pie to grace these pages, delicately spiced with chicken present in every bite.

Pie 185: The Port Glasgow Steak Pie – Whether you decide to use the wooden fork provided or not this generously proportioned steak pie has lots to love with a flaky golden top and layers of steak and gravy housed within.

Pie 165: The Clydebank Maryhill Breakfast Pie  Initially brought to my attention during the Bankies tenure at Lochburn Park if this award was to be dished out for concept alone it would be hard not to give it to this offering based in Glasgow’s West End. It might not have won this year but it is still a tremendous match day bite.

Best Scotch Pie 2019: Pie 171: The Kello Rovers Pie

20190525_133104(0)3827904469481530381.jpg

They say that controversy creates cash and for some this choice will prove to be somewhat controversial but for me in 2019 no scotch pie had me grabbing for more quite like this savoury little number from one of junior football’s most southerly outposts. Demolished in just a few bites this may not be a pie that fits into the most lauded of aesthetics with it’s misshapen casing and puddle of grease but it truly was a taste sensation.

Honourable Mentions

Pie 187: The Linlithgow Rose CFC Pie (c/o Linlithgow Rose) – Gentle with pepper and well textured, part of the excellent trio of pie options available at Prestonfield.

Pie 189: The Whittletts Victoria Pie – Packing a peppery punch this pie was well baked with a tasty filling and well complimented by a dod of Daddies Brown Sauce.

2019 Outstanding Acheivement in the field of Matchday Pastries: Pie 29: The Beith Chicken & Haggis Pie

img_oqmbwv-18824930337312654233.jpg

First reviewed five years ago now, there is no pie I look forward to more on a Pollok away day than the Beith Chicken & Haggis Pie. Chunks of chicken breast mixed with peppery haggis in a creamy well seasoned white sauce. The golden pastry egg washed and crimped on top lovingly finished with a piped swirl of mashed potato. Its year on year consistency making it a worthy winner of the first Outstanding Achievement Award.

So that’s it, the 2019 Meaties are over. What do you think? Do you disagree with any of the choices made? Where should I go next? What have been your pie-lights of 2019?

2020 will start as 2019 ended with a review from Whitletts Victoria as I look to close in on Pie 200 by taking on their Onion Pie, however until next time, go forth and have a smashing year as you maybe eat a pie or two!

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 Scottish Women’s Football writer 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 185: The Port Glasgow Steak Pie

Posted on Updated on

Ahoy my meat filled mateys, are we all ready to set sail on another voyage of pie. I’ve written nearly two hundred of these intros now, and I’ve just realised that this one – in linking sailor patter to the fact the team’s pie in question has the word “Port” in its name – is perhaps up there as being one of the most tenuous to date.

It had been a pretty full on week both work wise and in the world of Scottish women’s football and so I made the decision to take advantage of some Friday night junior football and head along the M8 to take in the Inverclyde Derby, the second of the season and the second to be played on a Friday night, a rare but increasing occurrence on the Scottish junior football scene. It’s something that I am very keen to see more of, especially in derby scenarios such as these, and there is no doubting the attendance at Parklea on what was a cold, but clear night, was considerably larger than it had been if it was competing with a full Saturday card. The atmosphere was good accompanies by a good media presence and with the return fixture earlier in the season being equally well received I hope to see more like this in the future.

Having dashed to the game straight from work, via home to pick up my car, I headed into the ground hoping to find a tasty pie or two to double as my dinner. But were they tasty? Well there’s only one way to find out, without much further ado let’s rate pie number one from the home of the Port.

Where: Parklea Stadium, Port Glasgow 1-0 Greenock Juniors, West Region League One

20191025_1927526615733090373579071.jpg

Price: I was a little surprised at the £2.50 price point when told of the options available to me but on presentation of the pastry I felt like I was getting a decent amount of bang for my buck.

Presentation: This was very substantial indeed sitting within a large tin foil tray on top of  a single sheet of kitchen roll. The most interesting thing though, in a section of these reviews where I know things can be a bit samey, I was also given a little wooden fork. A utensil that I was initially sceptical of before being happy to receive.

20191025_1911237195245280581901699.jpg

Meatiness: I initially tried to eat this pastry without using my new wooden companion, however after a couple of bites it became apparent that there’s a reason it was there. The steak was well chunked, tender to the bite and generous enough to ensure (as previously intimated) you felt like you were getting your money’s worth. The gravy was smooth with a consistency the right side of both runny and thick to ensure it wrapped round the steak without causing an early explosion which was a relief because this meat and sauce combined made for a very tasty bite.

Pastry: A puff pastry case here the top golden with a lovely flake to the layers with the underside meshing with the filling exactly as you would want it to. The bottom was a little underbaked, a common challenge of putting your pie in tinfoil but it was solid enough to be lifted out the case clean and it was baked well enough to add the desired contribution to the overall taste profile.

20191025_1914193398115046638110857.jpg

Brown Sauce: Luxury pies mean no brown sauce. I don’t think it was needed here either.

Overall: Substantial with a golden flaky top, with well cooked and seasoned meat and gravy.

Gravy Factor: I’ll take a gravy boat-full please captain. (Sorry, not sorry.)

Strong start. This is the first of two reviews from this game and next up is the more traditional scotch pie, the bastion of the scottish football catering scene, 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 Scottish Women’s Football writer 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 182: The Forres Thistle Steak Pie

Posted on Updated on

Hello and welcome to Meat Filled Pastries, this latest entry to the Pie Hall of Fame comes to you on Non League Day, a day where, with Scotland’s international exploits causing optical bleeding across the country, fans are afforded the opportunity to seek relief and turn their attention to the lower leagues of Scottish football.

Meat Filled Pastries was set up with a view on shining a light on these clubs, the players who graft by day and then train hard at night, the coaches who become WhatsApp admins and fine arbitrators, the fans who stand in the wind and the rain, who share pints in strange little corner bars with their chosen travelling few, the volunteers who line the park, run the gate, bellow out the prizes on offer during the half time draw and of course, dish out sustenance to the ravenous hoards from kiosks of all shapes and sizes. Every one of whom are happy to call the beautiful game their mistress.

With the gap between the rich and the poor ever widening, with the relationships between those at the top and those in the terraces becoming more strained and distant I am forever grateful to the home that non-league football has provided me to embrace my fandom. If you’re reading this and still not decided to head to a game today then I encourage you to fire up your mobile and see what’s on offer near by.

Or, if you prefer, a bit further afield, something I found myself doing a couple of weeks ago as Pollok made the trip north to face Forres Thistle in the Scottish Junior Cup. There will be more on that journey in the next review but naturally, after having had a few beers, I headed to the hatch and made my order.

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

Where: Logie Park, Forres Thistle 0-3 Pollok, Scottish Junior Cup 2nd Round

Price: £2. An acceptable price for what was going to turn out to be an absolute belter of a steak pie.

Presentation: A double sheet of Kitchen roll. I assume more cost effective than a napkin but, having not yet fully investigated the finances behind this important part of the match day consumption process, an assumption is all that can be made. Either way those two sheets did the job required handily.

20190928_1511326972003934685757282.jpg

Meatiness: Oh my, this was love at first bite. First the gravy, luscious and highly seasoned with a consistency that as you squeezed the pastry lid and base together gently let out a contented sigh of gravy, bulging the same way a full belly does after the belt has been loosened on a pair of trousers following a wholly satisfactory meal. The meat was tender and in generous sized chunks, toothsome, pleasingly tearing away from each other in strands exposing a wonderfully coloured steak still sporting a slight hue of pink. Multi-levelled deliciousness.

Pastry: Was it the prettiest pastry I had ever seen? No, the top was a little loose with the steam hole at the top showing signs of boil out as I peeled a salty sliver of what I like to call “gravy jerky” from the surface but it was beautifully baked. Thick enough to hold the filling but not too thick so that you end up with a raw inside coating with a lovely golden tinge all around.

Brown Sauce: No, no, no, no, no, no, no. No.

20190928_151155349371668251511018.jpg

Overall: Generous helpings of steak wrapped in highly seasoned gravy and held within well baked pastry. Lovely.

Gravy Factor: 24 carat gravy.

I’ll be back with another review from Forres as I share what was an interesting match viewing experience.

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 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 179: The Workington AFC Steak Pie

Posted on

The August Bank Holiday Monday is braw. In my particular part of Scotland, for most, this is a normal working day with the September Weekend taking precedent but for the rest of the UK, including me, it is a day where everything truly shuts down. That is everything bar the football and as such I have now made a habit of firing up the Groundhopper App and seeing what’s within a comfortable day’s reach.

Workington AFC, situated towards the Cumbrian coast, has long been on my radar and on discovering that they were to be at home to the wonderfully named Pontefract Collieries I booked my train tickets to head south of the border on what turned out to be a wonderfully sunny day.

Being a city boy it always strikes me how much towns such as Workington completely shut down during these days with the ten minute walk from the station to the ground feeling like a cut scene from Shaun of the Dead, the streets empty and doors closed. To be a resident on days like this would certainly take some getting used to but I knew I had dealt with any concerns about not being able to get a couple of pints during some pre-match scouting which revealed that the Tony Hooper Bar located inside the ground would be able to provide exactly what I was looking for.

I was even more grateful when it was announced that the visitors had been delayed by 45 minutes as a result of traffic and so, as I sat down to my second fruity cider of the day I decided it was time to deal with the real reason I was here, so without much further ado let’s rate some pie!

Where: Borough Park, Workington AFC 2-1 Pontefract Collieries, Northern Premier League Division One North West

Price: Much like in the case of the Bohemian’s Pie there was an option to turn my single pie into a proper feast with a Steak Pie being served with chips, peas and gravy for just £5. A deal like that is an insta-take after a couple hours of travelling.

Presentation: This meal came in a long, rectangular, yellow polystyrene box with cutlery and napkins available on a table beside the service window located in the bar.

20190826_1425484751616286500631974.jpg

Meatiness: I had a slight worry as I went in to consume this pastry driven by a conversation between the person ahead of me in the queue and the kiosk proprietor who had suggested that it would be better with the gravy as the steak pies had come out “a bit dry”. It was a concern rightly shared because as I pulled apart the pastry with my plastic knife and fork it became clear that there was indeed very little gravy held within.

The meat was nice enough, fine strands with a slight hint of ale on the tastebuds, but it was indeed pretty dry and I soon found myself dipping my forkfuls into the pastry’s gravy surroundings. Tasty but perhaps needing a little more filling and a little less baking.

Pastry: The pastry had a good colour on it and proved to be a robust foe against my brittle cutlery. There was some boil out, again hinting at the dryness within, but the gravy helped soften everything although the bottom was not forgiving and I ended up picking that up like a form of meaty biscuit to make consumption much easier.

Brown Sauce: No brown sauce needed here thanks to the generous ladles of gravy, and side of mint-tinted mushy peas. The chips, which I should probably mention here, were fine.

Overall: Bit dry but gravy saved the day whilst paying just a fiver for a full lunch is value that can’t be sniffed at.

Gravy Factor: Glad it had some.

A decent pie was accompanied by an enjoyable game at Borough Park, with the home side running out 2-1 winners, the last ten minutes being particularly entertaining as the referee totally lost control of the game.

Next up I’m in Scotland’s capital where the women’s national side started their Euro 2021 qualifying campaign against Cyprus at Easter Road. I was working, but I still managed to snaffle a pastry.

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 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.

Scottish Football Histories: Pie and Bovril

Posted on Updated on

It’s just hit quarter to three on a Saturday afternoon and I’m hungry. I’m always hungry at this time on a Saturday. Years of conditioning have meant that my arrival on the terraces is almost immediately followed with me presenting the questions, “Pie?’, “Bovril?”, to those around me. They are after all, to quote one of the country’s most well known fans website, “The staple diet of Scottish Football”. I have seen the devastation should one, or even both, drop to the floor. The joy and disappointment of that first bite and, on one occasion, seen them sent flying towards an official after a disagreement about an offside decision. For many, myself included, no match day experience can be complete without this humble pair, but how did they come to be so intrinsically linked with our national game and what is it about them that has seen them endure?

Given how ubiquitous they are to each other it is perhaps no surprise to learn that references to both in the newspaper archives come from the same time over 120 years ago. In the Friday 23rd September edition of the Glasgow Evening Post from 1892 an advert for a “Grand Football Match” at Ibrox promised “Bovril Served Hot”, accompanied by the sub heading, “Guard yourself against the possibilities of the chill or cold by drinking Bovril.” A description that seemed to suggest a cup of Bovril, taken either before or after the match, could have the same kind of health boosting properties that would be much later attributed to a bottle of Lucozade and a punnet of grapes. The Ibrox chiefs hadn’t stopped there though. In the same week an article in Scottish Referee boldly announced the news of An Innovation” as cups of Bovril were to be accompanied by hot pies with Rangers Secretary Mr. McAndrew accredited with “looking after the football public by placing within their reach refreshments of the best kind.” The spread at Ibrox was again gaining praise in a 1902 edition of the Dundee Evening Post with Bovril Hot Chocolate now available, “vended by a small army of boys smartly dressed in chef’s uniforms.” The drink was so popular in Glasgow’s south side that for a while one of the stands at Ibrox would become affecteonality knows as the Bovril Stand thanks to the large advertising presence within it. Bovril, along with the increasingly present scotch pie, had been a hit, with a further article in The Perthshire Advertiser from the same year proclaiming that the beverage “crowns the enjoyment (of a football match), with thrilling, warming, sustaining and invigorating comfort”. The marketeers had struck gold.

I realise that at this point, for some, knowing both what Bovril is and what constitutes a Scottish football pie will be in themselves the revelations of this piece. For those in the know, of which I am sure there will be many, then view this next paragraph as a quick history lesson to help provide some further context.

Bovril is, when put in simple terms, a beef tea, however to simplify it would be to undermine the complexity of this highly salted beef extract. Originally developed as a paste by Scotsman John Lawson Johnston in the 1870s his Johnston’s Fluid Beef was created as a solution to the task of having to supply Napoleon’s French Army with one million cans of beef without having the meat to do so. It would prove to be a huge success and in 1889 the Bovril company was formed. The name Bovril translating itself to mean “strength of an ox”, derived from the first two letters of the word “Bovine” and the letters “vril” taken from the electromagnetically charged “Vril-ya”, a superior being in the Edward Bulwer-Lytton novel The Coming Race.

With the brand now established it was often used to substitute meat during the war years and in the 1960s a granular form would hit the shelves to challenge more traditional stock starter products. A recipe change by current owners Unilever in 2004, means that Bovril is now vegetarian friendly however the taste remains the same and it’s that product that still hits the terraces to this day.

The history of pies is far longer but in some ways much easier to surmise as the concept of producing portable and time hardy meals date back tens of thousands of years. Even if we focus solely on the scotch pie, the quintessential match-day pastry, the date of first conception still remains fairly vague with a common consensus that they first appeared around 500 years ago, although whether they were first conceived in Scotland or England is still up for debate, much like all good Anglo-Scots origins stories.

Scotch pies are traditionally shaped into a round hot water crust shell and then filled with mutton and highly spiced with pepper, each butcher and baker in turn having their own variations on the theme. This variety led to the announcement of the first ever World Scotch Pie Championships in 1999 – founded by the Scotch Pie Club, an organisation itself formed just three years previous. The competition has grown considerably since with over 500 products entered at the 20th anniversary judging across 11 categories including, Best Football Pie and I am very fortunate that for a number of years now I have been part of these judging days as a result of my own pie obsession. It is also a commercial boon for any category winner. During an interview I conducted at the 2019 Awards, 2018 World Scotch Pie Champion Alan Pirie from the tiny village of Newtyle in Angus, told of how the day after he won the World Championship he received an order for 8000 of his winning pastries.

It hasn’t always been plain sailing for the scotch pie though as a recipe from a 1940 edition of the Daily Mirror showed. With meat supplies diminished during the Second World War, homemakers were encouraged to substitute mutton for beef and stretch their protein rations out even further with the addition of a can of tomato soup. A part soup/part beef pie would certainly raise a few eyebrows on the terraces these days but the scotch pie is not the only pastry vying for real estate on the tastebuds of Scottish football fans. Steak, haggis, curry, macaroni, vegan and novelty offerings such as The Breakfast Pie, a full Scottish breakfast wrapped in pastry, are just some of the variations that can be found in kiosks across the country but it is the legend of the Killie Pie that perhaps most endures.

Ask a question about pies in Scotland, and almost everyone will tell tales of The Killie Pie. A marriage of steak and gravy that transcends the terraces and has made its way into Scottish popular culture. When asking a fan the question, “Who does the best pies?” it will be often answered with a strong “Kilmarnock” despite the respondent having sampled a mere handful of its contemporaries, if any at all. Buyer beware though as The Killie Pie of today is not the same pie of Rugby Park Saturday’s past. A 2016 trademark dispute between Kilmarnock FC and suppliers Brownings the Bakers (who originally produced the two time Best Football Pie award winner) over the use of the word “Killie” meant that the original is no longer available with the Ayrshire side since changing supplier. The rebranded “Kilmarnock Pie” from Browning’s remains readily available outside of the KA1 postcode though and can even be bought in some supermarkets as well as popping up at a number of non-league venues in the region. Pies in Scotland mean business.

As does Bovril, especially in a country where football is usually viewed through a shivering lens, and there are more than a few idiosyncrasies that keep what constitutes a good and bad bovril distinct in the eyes of the consumer. For some, it isn’t complete without a few shakes of the pepper pot, done to add that little extra kick. For others there’s a kind of masochism in getting a really poorly mixed beverage. The paste or powder forming a ridiculously salty gloop at the bottom of the cup that you can’t help but stick your finger in before inevitably recoiling as a result of the over-exposure of savouriness that your taste buds have just undergone. Whilst big stadiums have high pressure water taps and scientifically costed measurements to do the mixing for you, the real joy of a Bovril comes from drinking it from an open polystyrene cup on a freezing cold day with the aroma visibly wafting across your cheeks and up your nostrils as you take those first few sips.

You can’t talk about the traditions of pie and bovril without acknowledging what the potential future may hold. The battle that clubs face in ensuring that their ground is where fans spend their free time has never been more contested, not just in a sporting context, but also when competing with lower cost, family friendly alternatives. In the 2018/19 Scotland Supporters Network Survey both cheaper catering and the sale of alcohol featured amongst the top five most suggested improvements to the match day experience and the presence of chips, burgers and hot dogs have long been a match day eating consideration. Whilst traditional tastes will always have their place it’s fair to ascertain that this diversification of the match day menu can only help to appease the demands of the fans. The same survey revealed that only 18% of them believe that Scottish Football is committed to a “high-quality fan experience.” and catering will be a significant consideration within that. For clubs to ignore this feedback would be at, best careless and at worst, ignorant.

I suspect though, that despite the competition, these items with over 120 years of history will continue to endure. In a 2012 interview with the Harvard Press author of The Omnivorous Mind, John Allen stated that, “The taste, smell, and texture of food can be extraordinarily evocative, bringing back memories not just of eating food itself but also of place and setting.” It’s a statement that resonated with me as I thought about my own experiences on the terrace.

The exchange of coins, followed by a squirt of sauce and that first joyous bite. The solidifying of the grease that has dribbled down your thumb on a freezing December afternoon. Taking a couple of blows on a piping hot Bovril before taking the tiniest of sips to condition your mouth and then the inevitable scalding that will ruin your tongue for the days that follow. Those disappointments when the sold out signs go up and the excitement you feel when striding towards an away day pie hut you have been waiting all season for. For this fan at least, those old familiar feelings, will never be replaced.

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 177: The St. Johnstone Steak & Chorizo Pie

Posted on

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.

20190721_1507035442329085076529022.jpg

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?

20190721_151544763111938769701128.jpg

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.