This recipe has been a McCoy family tradition for a couple of generations now. I’m not sure whether these are really eaten in Scotland, but they used to sell them from a roadside stand back in the 1940s, in the part of Harmarville, PA which now hosts a fast-food strip. This is infinitely better and more comforting than fast food, and if you use store-bought pie crusts (because, let’s face it, it’s December and you are busy) it’s really easy, too. This is good hot, but it’s far better if you eat it cold after letting it sit for a day. It also works beautifully with gluten-free pie crusts. And kids love it– or at least I did when I was a kid, and I was really picky. Click below for the recipe according to my mom.
Scottish Meat Pie
2 pie crusts (your own recipe, or store-bought)
1 lb ground beef
2 medium waxy potatoes (you’ll really use about 1 and 1/2)
1 small onion
salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grate the potatoes with a cheese grater. Chop the onion and carrot into small pieces, and pulse them in the food processor until they are finely chopped (but not puréed). Mix in a bowl. You should have twice as much potato as you have onion-carrot mixture. Add the meat and mix together with your hands. Don’t squish it too hard– you want a loose mixture. Add salt and pepper liberally.
Roll out a pie crust and put it into a pie pan. Add the meat mixture. Make sure not to pack it tightly– it’s better to leave some out than to pack it too tightly. Pour in 1/4 cup cold water. Then add the top crust. Pinch the edges so that you have a sealed crust. Score the top of the pie several times so that steam can escape. The meat is being steamed during the baking process, so you want to give it a few vents!
Now take some strips of aluminum foil and fold it over the rim of the pan so that it covers the outer pie crust– it’s going to be in the oven for a while and you don’t want it to burn.
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes, checking periodically. After 45 minutes are over, take off the foil. Beat the egg in a bowl and brush it over the pie (not the crusts, just the middle) to get a nice shiny brown crust. Then put it back in the oven for a few minutes to brown, watching like a hawk to make sure the crusts don’t burn.
Remove pie and allow to cool. Serve immediately or, for best results, allow to cool overnight, then refrigerate and eat the next day.
I wish I still had a camera, because this pie came out looking beautiful. I haven’t tasted it yet– it’s for our office Christmas party tomorrow. By the way, there’s a lot of room for experimentation with this pie’s filling– if you come across something particularly good, please let me know!