Recipe : Corned Beef and Tomato Pie
After reading about "The Ugliest Gourmet" event on IMBB, I immediately knew what I had to make for dinner...corned beef and tomato pie. The rules were simple; blog about a delicious but disgustingly ugly food.
Corned beef and tomato pie has a long history in my family; my sisters and I are now the third generation to make this delicious meat pie for our families. Family lore has it that our grandmother read an article in a newspaper (or maybe it was a magazine) in which Bing Crosby's mother provided a recipe for "corned beef and tomato pie".
In this world of Google, I've able to find what appears to be the original recipe; it's not what Nana made though. The original looks like it is for individual servings of the corned beef mixture wrapped up in biscuit dough. Nana's version put the filling in a double-crust pastry shell thus becoming a satisfying meat pie.
The combination of corned beef and tomato is an inspired one; the acid of the tomatoes helps cut the sometimes-fatty nature of corned beef. And who doesn't like pie?
Corned Beef and Tomato Pie
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cups lard
5 to 7 T ice water
2 T. butter
2 T. flour
1 14-oz tin whole tomatoes, chopped and undrained
1 tin corned beef, cubed
Preheat oven to 425 F.
The instructions for the crust are your typical how-tos on making pastry. If you have a favourite pastry recipe (as long as it's not sweet), go ahead and use it. If you hate making pastry and want to use store-bought, well go ahead and do that.
Otherwise, here are my instructions for pastry:
Combine the flour and salt. Cut in the lard until it looks a bit like wet sand. At this point, you start adding water, a tablespoon at a time. We've had no rain here for a while so I ended up adding all 7 tablespoons. When we lived on the coast, I don't think I ever added more than 5-1/2. So, just add as much water as you need to make the dough hold together.
Divide the dough in half and roll out one half to a roughly 10" diameter circle. Use this dough to line a pie tin and set the other half aside for a wee bit.
Moving on to the filling, melt the butter in a medium pan and, when it's melted, stir in the flour. Mix it thoroughly then add the tomatoes, along with any juices. Stir to combine well; it will thicken a bit as well. Add the cubed corned beef, stir to combine, then remove from the heat and let cool a bit.
While it's cooling, roll out the other half of the pastry dough. Put the filling into the pie shell and top with the remaining pastry. Seal the edges by folding the top crust under the bottom at the edges and crimping them together; then you'll need to cut some vent holes in the top.
(My mum always used scissors to cut the vents in pies and it makes a really neat little divot when you do. I highly recommend using scissors.)
Bake at 425 F for 15 minutes and then reduce the oven heat to 350 F. Continue to bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned. Remove from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes or so; the pie will still be hot but it will be much easier to cut and serve.
So, with the history of this pie and the recipe for it out of the way, we can proceed to why this is a good dish for "The Ugliest Gourmet".
It might be one of the ultimate comfort foods but, unfortunately, the filling of this pie looks somewhat less than appetising.
Here it is ready to be topped by pastry and also a close-up of a slice...
Now, Mum, don't take offense but I can't be the only one that thinks it looks like a pie made from cat sick...