This pie is inauthentic for two reasons. 1) I used highly nontraditional ingredients and 2) it isn’t really a pie.
No crust = not a pie.
But I’m not one to question the practices of shepherds. They’ve been doing what they’ve been doing way longer than I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing. If they say this is pie, then it’s pie, damnit.
Things you’ll need (in some places known as “ingredients”):
-Beef (of indefinite quality and weight, preferrably ground)
-Potatoes (the key to making the inauthentic version is to use random potatoes. I used sweet potatoes, red bliss, and Yukon gold. Mega bonus points for using blue potatoes)
-Green beans (fresh, frozen is some bullshit)
-Sugar snap peas (see above)
-Unnecessarily large carrots (because, why not?)
-A random chunk of onion you have left in your fridge from something else you made (or a fresh onion, I guess)
-Butter (I know, but if you know a better way to brown onions deliciously, I’m all ears)
-Milk (dog or better)
-Worcestershire sauce (the burger and…pie?…booster)
-Beer (Troegs Dream Weaver Wheat this time around)
Step 1: Go back in time to last weekend and purchase all of your produce from a local farmer’s market
Whether you’re a hardcore Locavore or not, buying local is just the nice thing to do. You help the farmers in your community, the produce is usually fresh and relatively cheap, and it’s a fun day out.
Step 2: Chop and boil the ‘taters
Find your finest, sharpest, biggest knife, and proceed to cutting the potatoes into manageable chunks. Since the sweet potatoe takes longer to boil, you’ll want to cut it into smaller pieces than the rest. Once they’re all in pieces, drop them into a pot of pre-salted water and set to high heat. Cover if you don’t want it to boil over. Leave it uncovered if you’re looking for a culinary adventure.
Step 3: Sauté the onions, carrots, and whatever else
You’ll need to boil the potatoes for about 30 minutes (since you’ll be mashing by hand, not with some fancy machine, so they need to be very soft). While you’re waiting on these, melt a chunk of butter in a big pan.
Chop and add your onions.
Protip: cut the onion in half with a very sharp knife and run both sides under cold water. Using a sharp blade will reduce the number of cells you rupture and rinsing it will wash away the sulfur compounds, resulting in fewer tears being accidentally added to the meal.
If you’re adding carrots to the pie, chop them up and add them with the onions. They (like the sweet potatoes) will take longer to soften.
Step 4: Chop your green beans and de-pod your peas
Chopping green beans is easy. If they’re fresh, all you have to do is make sure you cut off the stringy little ends. After those are off, you can pretty much just flail the knife randomly until the pieces are in sizes/shapes that fit easily into a human mouth.
Sugar snap peas on the other hand, are slightly more complicated. I never truly appreciated buying frozen, pre-separated peas until last night. It’s a labor intensive process. If you have a child or a very smart pet, you might want to assign this task to them to save you some time.
Interestingly enough, the older and more dried out the pea pod, the easier it is to remove the delicious fruit inside. The peas inside the very green, juvenile pods often aren’t yet detached, making is near impossible to remove then. The good news is that these taste great! Eat them.
If you’re into fiber in a big way, you can also eat the pods when you’re done.
Step 5: Add the beef, beans, and peas to the softened onions and carrots
Toss everything in a stir it up with the spatula. You want to cook everything on medium heat until the meat is completely cooked through. If you still see pink, keep cooking. This is also when you’ll want to add some salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, Sriracha Rooster Sauce, and whatever else you think might taste good.
Step 6: Mash the hell out of some potatoes
Leave your new mixture of tasty deliciousness to simmer on low heat and drain your now very squishy potatoes. At this point, you’ll start to notice this is a very orange dish. That is a good thing. Beta-Carotene, good eyesight, all that.
If you are hardcore, you’ll use a hand masher. It tends to leave lumps, but for an inauthentic pie, lumps are good. For those of you who have been reading my writing for some time, you might recognize this masher.
Before you start, add in some melted butter and a splash or two of milk.
Step 7: Put everything together in a big dish
Pour your delicious meat and vegetable hodgepodge into a dutch oven, pyrex, or something else that can go into the oven and not melt. Smooth it out evenly so that you can added a layer of your mash potatoes on top.
Pre-potatoes, it should look like this:
Pre-heat to 400 degrees (or 204 Celsius if you have some kind of weird oven). Next, add a thick layer of your newly mashed potatoes to the top of your meat layer.
I tried to get fancy at this point. Using a pastry bag, I attempted to make adorable little swirls of mashed potatoes, mainly for dramatic culinary effect.
Attempted. Attempted and failed. Miserably. When you leave lumps and skin in your mashed potatoes, they don’t flow very well out of a pastry bag. They kind of plop and splat. The result is not overly appetizing:
Step 8: Bake your creation
Everything is cooked at this point, so this final bake is just to seal in the juices and infuse the potatoes will all sorts of vegetable yummy flavors. Pop the pyrex into the oven for ~20 minutes. You can also briefly broil the potatoes to get that “browned peaks” look.
Now is a good time to clean up the dirty dishes – or – drink your beer. Whichever seems more important.
Step 9: Enjoy!