I don't remember which holiday it went with originally but in the Pinto-Beaudet family holiday traditional compromise meat pies became the dinner of choice for the Epiphany while I was growing up. Over the years the exact date and holiday proximity has changed from the day after Christmas to the nearest weekend to the Epiphany. Regardless, I always associate them with the twelfth day or Christmas. Grad school significantly shortened my holidays this year so I missed out on any tradition that takes place after Christmas dinner.
Never one to settle, especially when food is involved, I asked my mom to send me the recipe. Ground meat in a pie crust. How difficult to it be? Truth is that it's not terribly difficult, just time consuming. I had been planning on this dinner all week so when I got out of lab several hours later than anticipated there was no way I wasn't going to make this dinner. As I was driving home I realized that if I was going to make a pie crust I needed to get a rolling pin. Add in detour to Walmart.
7:30pm: Start making pie crust
I know I have made pie crust in the past. Usually under the careful supervision of an adult and in a well stocked kitchen. I can't remember that last time I actually made a crust though and my kitchen is lacking the seasoned cooking tools of my mom's and grandma's kitchens. The consistency of my dough didn't feel quite right but if I wanted to eat tonight it was going to have to do.
8:00pm: Start the filling
I thought this would be the quickest part of the operation. Turns out mincing a large onion by hand isn't so quick. At least I got the pot size right.One mashed potato, ground pork and beef, and 4 pinches from spices bottles that cost almost $20 (McCormick needs some serious competition!). Next step in the recipe, allow to cook and thicken for about one hour. What?!? Luckily I had more potatoes to peel for mashed potatoes and gravy.
9:20pm: Pie assembled
I do not like the rolling pin I have. It is the classic style of pin that has been brandished at troublemakers for decades. But I don't like how narrow the pin is and how abruptly it ends. I'd love one like my mom's which resembles a thick tapered broomstick and is close to two feet long. As I rolled out the dough and tried to place it in the pan it kept ripping. Another sign the consistency was off. I had to re-roll the top crust do to a giant rip when I tried to cover the pie. The second time it came out much better and lay nicely. I was meant to brush the top with an egg wash. Brush, another random kitchen gadget I took for granted until I got my own kitchen. I improvised with the back of spoon and hoped for the best. The best of making meat pies on my own was not having to share the crust scraps with my brothers and other vultures.
10:30pm: Pie done
So far so good. Nothing has exploded yet. Just need to finish up the side dishes.
A day late and hours later than anticipated, I finally got my traditional Beaudet meat pie dinner.