Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year's Day Menu

French Meat Pie
by Sister M. Concepta Mermis
(with my commentary in blue!)

31/2 lb. ground pork
1 lb. ground beef
2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. celery salt
1 c. dry bread crumbs (or more)
1 onion

Cook meat and 1 onion in water to cover meat, simmer about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Break up the meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Remove onion and discard--even though it must be very, very tasty. Set aside to cool. Let cool (possibly over night) until the fat congeals on top.

Skim off grease (use to make pastry). Making the pastry shell with the grease from the meat is possible and delicious, but has reduced me to tears. I use store-bought pastry shells. Add bread crumbs and seasonings. You may need to add more bread crumbs. Put meat mixture into pastry shell, top with crust. Slit the top of the crust to allow steam to escape. Bake on cookie sheet or foil in case the pie bubbles over. Bake about 35 minutes or until brown in 400 degree oven. Let stand about thirty minutes before serving.

Makes enough meat filling for 3 - 4 pies. At least that is what I have written in my family recipe book according to mom's directions. Except that I HALVED the recipe and still got two pies. So really there is generous meat for 4 (8- inch) pies.

This year I bowed to pressure and added "Hungarian" spices to one of the pies. I used a hefty dose of paprika and two garlic cloves added in large wedges (meant to be fished out for the faint of heart), leaving out the cinnamon and cloves, of course. It was decent, especially with a dollop of sour cream. But it is not French meat pie. It is not New Year's Day.

Serve with creamed peas (and/or corn) and mashed potatoes. Pour the creamed peas over the slice of meat pie for the proper presentation.

Although I grew up eating (or choking down) black-eyed peas for good luck, I left them off the menu today. Living on the edge. Tempting the legume fates.

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