Nile Mince and Scotch Pies for less than 25p
An Essential for any (non-vegetarian/vegan) Frugal Food Challenge
So, frugal friends, how can I compare the mighty Nile to a pack of mince? That's easy - I simply show you how far I can make mine stretch and prove to you that it is a valuable source of food that can stretch across many days and feed many mouths. Quite simply, it is the Nile of meat produce if you don't want to eat offal.
Ingredients for Frugaldom Scotch Pie Filling
Traditionally, Scotch pies were made from cheap cuts of mutton, but a mince meat pie is a mince meat pie... see what's available to you at the best price, as mutton is seldom a supermarket option.
Splash of milk for glazing when baking - negligible
Total amount = 23p (92p for 24 pastry cases)
You want your cases to measure between 8 and 10cm in diameter and at least 3cm in depth. Roll out each circle of pastry individually and use a tin, ramekin dish or even the bottom of a wide jar to shape the pie case around it. Leave them to cool before filling them, this way they should retain their shape.
Cut a flat lid for the top of each case, remembering to cut a hole in the middle to allow steam to escape while cooking. If you are fortunate enough to have individual pie cases, it makes the job a whole lot easier, but these pies are for enjoying, they aren't for decorative use, so imperfections simply add to the home baked appeal of them. Improvise wherever possible.
Scoop a rounded tablespoon of the meat mix into each pie case, enough to make it about two thirds full. The filling should be almost thick enough to pick up and make into patties, which some people do, by adding breadcrumbs. Add a top to each, pushing it down and pinching around the edge to allow about 1cm of a lip around the top of the pastry case - once cooked, this is where the mash, peas or beans sit. Give the tops a quick brush with milk or egg - again, this is optional - and then bake in a pre-heated oven as you would any other pie. I used my mini oven at 200C and baked for about 25 minutes.
Overall, it would cost £5.66 for ingredients to make 24 pies when using prime steak mince - less than 25p per pie/person. This could be greatly reduced by cooking with cheaper ingredients, so don't be scared to mix and match while pie-making.
In all honesty, a Scotch pie is seen by many as leftovers baked in pastry. Leftover mince or stew mixed with porridge (we cook ours with water and salt), plus the remains of the daily bread made into crumbs. Once mixed together, seasoned with pepper and baked in a pie case, it's anyone's guess what meal should be served (or has been included) when Scotch Pies are on the menu. I've even known people to eat them cold for breakfast!
I'll need to return to this post to add more photos because today's pie got scoffed under half a tin of baked beans before I remembered that I was supposed to take a photograph. Sorry 'bout that' :)
Some useful links from Wikipedia:
What is a Scotch pie?
Hot water crust pastry
Happy pie making, frugalers. They're a cheap, cheerful and nutritious way of using up leftovers and better still, they can be savoury or sweet.
NYK Media, Frugaldom