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Pie 124: The Whitburn “Steak” Pie

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You know what I’ve always wondered? Why on New Year’s Day do we Scots, especially in the west, go mad for a cheeky steak pie? Well OK, that’s not strictly true. I’ve literally just started wondering this about 20 minutes before sitting down to write this latest Steak Pie review from Whitburn Juniors but it has posed a bit of a puzzle. You see when I think about growing up the correlation between a Steak Pie and New Year doesn’t immediately come to mind. Sneaking up to my Gran’s for the bells before finding a party and then nursing a hangover the next day with a Chicken Chow Mein and The Mighty Ducks trilogy yes. Steak pie, not so much.

The reasons seems to be fairly sparse and prone to speculation. One theory harks back to the good old days when New Year’s Day wasn’t a holiday and so a pie was an easily prepared celebratory treat after a hard day at the (in some cases literal) coalface. There’s also a rather, seems-far-too-hippy-to-be-something-a-Scottish-person-would-have-come-up-with, idea that steak pies are round to signify the cyclical nature of the year. The romanticist in me likes to think a wee Granny somewhere made a banging pie and everyone else just decided it was a good idea. Whatever the reason it’s a tribute to the enduring nature of the steak pie that whilst Christmas Day continues to bring an ever increasing kaleidoscope of culinary adventure the humble steak pie forever remains.

And remain it continues to do so, which brings us to our latest review The Whitburn Steak Pie. So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Central Park, Whitburn 4-1 Benburb, Scottish Junior Cup 3rd Round

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Price: £1.40, which even compared with 2015/16 prices is an absolute bargain in the luxury game day pie market.

Presentation: Much like its scotch pie compatriot from the same venue this was lovingly wrapped in a medium sized white napkin, a true staple of the match day pie presentation scene.

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Meatiness: When I have a pie I like to type a few notes on my phone. Firstly to help capture my instant reaction but also to help when I finally get round to writing up a review as time has been known to get away from me. On reviewing my notes on this, The Whitburn Steak Pie, I was amused to find one of my instant reactions around its meaty content was, and I quote “generous as fu*k”. It really was, with large chunks of steak, plentiful in nature and of the texture you’d really hope for when buying such a pastry. There was a couple of drawbacks though. After a few bites it became a little over salty, a gradual build of sodium drawing moisture out my mouth quicker than licking a hairdryer ever would, whilst the gravy wasn’t as plentiful as possible (more on that very shortly). That said there was a good volume of steak and whilst salt heavy it was still a tasty bite.

Pastry: It’s safe to say this pastry was a bit leaky. Whilst a perfectionist will bemoan the presence of boil out (a key measure when officially judging a pie) for me sometimes it adds a new and interesting dimension to a pie, which in this instance was certainly the case. Due to the holes a lot of the gravy (as referenced above) had escaped during the cooking process leave chewy little sheets of brown attached to the base. It sounds odd but was actually a nice wee treat and the pastry itself was actuality fairly well baked and held the filling sufficiently.

Brown Sauce: It’s been a while so I’ll let you off but never should you dress a luxury pie with brown sauce. The gravy should be plenty and if it’s not then your pie just isn’t quite right.

Overall: Generous steak, leaky pastry with an interesting gravy jerky type affect caused by the boil out makes this pie an interesting, if slightly, salty addition to the MFP encyclo-pie-dia.

Gravy Factor: Salt “n” Steak.

So that’s another review in the books, I plan to try to get to a game this weekend but I’m also acutely aware that I have a pre New Year’s night out planned that may impede my driving ability so a saunter to Hampden may instead be on the cards. Either way I will return, but until next time, have a happy new year, and of course, go forth and eat pie!

2018 is going to be a goodie!

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.

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Pie 123: The Whitburn Pie

Posted on

Well here it is, as promised, my first match day pie review in over 16 months. A nod back to the old school ways of brown sauce and Gravy Factors. I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and your New Year Steak Pie plans are well underway.  I started Meat Filled Pastries as a way to settle a bet, talk about my love of pie and champion local football. During the winter though that can be challenge. As is often the case at this time of year finding a game of football to go to in Scotland is often fraught with danger. Reasons ranging from last minute call offs to high winds and biblical rains and to the fact that other plans take precedent at this most busy time of year. Well after two weeks without some live soccer action I decided it was time to venture forth in search of some new pie and so it came to pass that I ended up at Whitburn Juniors bracing a wind-chill of around -12 and wearing more layers than a well-made batch of puff pastry.

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

Where: Central Park, Whitburn 4-1 Benburb, Scottish Junior Cup 3rd Round

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Price: £1.20. In 16 months it’s good to see that the price of a junior pie hasn’t fluctuated greatly.

Presentation: Medium sized white napkin, wrapped lovingly around this pie like a blanket protecting it from the harsh winter winds.

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Meatiness: This was a deep filled scotch pie with almost no space untouched by its muttony goodness. Being my first new scotch pie in a long time it was interesting to note that it didn’t have its usual peppery kick that I so often crave. Instead this pie had a hint of sweetness that I quite enjoyed. There were definite savoury notes but the spice was very minimal and as such it made for a fairly unique experience. What really helped this pie was the level of grease in each bite. Not dry so that the meat just crumbled and spilled but not too wet so that you could end up with a hardened fat stream down your hand akin to that found on a moodily lit candle in a late night bar. All in all I was into this.

Pastry: The pastry was just baked enough. It was a little pale in colour but held well against the meat and the force of the first bite. There was a gap where the top hadn’t quite sealed against the side meaning that the heat escaped quickly but given I hadn’t had any breakfast by this point it wasn’t hanging around in my hand long enough for it to matter. A couple of flaws but overall it did the job in securely holding its meaty parcel.

Brown Sauce: I think this may be a first but there was not one, but two types of brown sauce on offer. HP, the often (self)vaunted pinnacle of the pie condiment world and an own brand version from what looked like Iceland, Farmfoods. Either way the choice was easy as I squirted a circle of brown sauce on top of my pastry adding that little touch of spice the pie didn’t have before.

Overall: Generously filled with a slightly sweet not spicy filling. Pastry was a little under and had a couple of gaps but bore no detriment to the overall eating experience. With a squirt of HP Sauce this was a tasty match day treat.

Gravy Factor: Sweet, sweet meat filled pie.

So there you have it, as promised the pie wagon is well and truly back on the road. Next time up I have a second offering from Whitburn in the form of a Steak Pie (fitting for the time of year I think) as we start the next chapter in these pie-ventures covering all the bases. I’ll aim to have it up before the bells as I made an impulse decision to spend my new year in Reykjavik.

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. 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.