My mate, Paul aka Northern Casual found himself in Glasgow again recently. I received the following message:
“I’m going to a butchers/deli nearby, on their website it says they sell homemade steak pies so if they’ve got some in, do you want some to try?”
Is there ever likely to be a negative answer to this question from your correspondent here?
Murray’s Butchers and Deli is in central Glasgow, The Gorbals in fact and produce a range of pies and meats to suit all tastes and appetites.
Now, there’s lots of places out there that claim their produce to be home made. The pedant in me, could point out that even this was made in a SHOP.
However, what happens when a steak pie is ordered, is that they go out the back and MAKE IT!!
What I received back from Glasgow the next day was a slightly flattened oblong tray with a large over hanging short crust pastry. Oh, yes and it was completely uncooked.
What to do here? I decide to go with my time and tested “20 minutes at 180 degrees in the fan oven” with a view to extending it to 40 minutes if I don’t think it is ready.
Twenty minutes later and what I thought was shortcrust is actually puff pastry. It is golden coloured and rising nicely. The pastry is wafting through my kitchen and I decide on another ten minutes (as I can’t see the meat).
On the 30 minute mark, all seems good so I pull it out and start to examine. There is a foil tray underneath, and a sheet of tin foil, so what’s going on here then?
What is going on here is the oddest pie set up I have ever come across! It is essentially a “do it yourself” pie.
I carefully extract the pie from the foil tray and only the puff pastry crust drops out.
I then peel back the layer of tin foil and there lies a portion of prime steak and gravy.
And that is it! Put that one back together!
It feels like some kind of elaborate April Fool’s joke. For all the good it is, I may as well stick it on a barm Wigan-style!
I decide to put the crust on the plate face down with the meat on top so the pie is upside down and get a knife and fork. I struggle with the taste of metal on metal, you see, and can’t cope with a fork touching the foil tray.
Whereas there are only two pieces of meat, they are indeed prime cuts of steak. Soft and juicy and easily broken up into four of five chunks and surrounded with a few blobs of rich gravy.
Now, you know what is coming. The pie purists, of which I consider myself one, would not deem this to even be a pie, due to it’s lack of full encasement in pastry and there is no getting away from this.
I still find it quite a novel and enjoyable experience however. So, in the interests of balance, I reached out to my good chum, sweary stand up comedian and Glaswegian, Barca Jim, to ask if this is a common tradition….
He has previously told me that they do make pies in Glasgow where the steak and gravy are just loaded into a big foil tray and then pastry is crimped over the top, it is indeed a traditional steak pie, or as I would call it, a stew with a lid. He did at least give me the liberty of sending me a decent one.
By the way, here’s one Jim sent me earlier:
Now, THAT does look good, fully encased or not…..
The finer details
Date: 8th September 2021
Price: A small steak pie costs £1.95, they also do scotch pies, bridies (pasties) and larger pies but I cannot vouch for the structure of them.
Address: 181 Crown St, Glasgow G5 9XT