Corned beef pie – a Welsh classic (new recipe)

img_6583.jpgIf you are of a certain age, you probably ate lots of corned beef when you were growing up. Tinned or sliced, this mystery meat is salty and fatty, with a non-meat texture. For a food snob like me, I should avoid it like the plague, but I have very fond memories of corned beef and tomato ketchup sandwiches for packed lunch (or corned beef and cucumber which was the healthier option offered up by my mum!) … in fact I could eat one right now!

I hadn’t been aware that corned beef was such a popular dish in Wales, featuring in many recipes but most popularly as corned beef pie, pasty or corned beef rissoles. You are looking at a combination of cheap ingredients combined to bulk out a dinner: corned beef, onions, potatoes and pastry. Don’t be put off though, the end result is truly delicious, and friends at my recent 40th birthday party were converted by the tastiness of the pie.

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Lisa from Lovely Appetite recently posted her own version of a corned beef pie, which made me realise how different everyone’s version can be. I didn’t follow a recipe the first time I made mine – I developed it based on Andrew’s preferences and what I imagined would taste nice. That makes it different to the one we eat in Wales (from Cyril’s the butcher!) but in my view better!

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I make my own shortcrust pastry for the pie, but I am tempted to give this hot water crust pastry a go sometime as I think it would be delicious. I have also used Jusrol shortcrust if I am feeling lazy – you need a 500g slab to top and bottom a 21cm pie dish, which is what I happen to use (as it’s the only loose-bottomed dish I have).

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400g plain flour to 200g butter mixed together with a little salt made more than enough pastry for my dish, so I froze the rest for a rainy day when cheese straws or something similar are needed.

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While the pastry is resting in the fridge, you can make the filling by cubing a couple of medium sized potatoes (around 400g). I don’t bother peeling the potatoes as I am lazy, and just boil them in salted water until tender (around 10 minutes should do it, as each chunk is around the size of a sugar cube).

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While the potatoes drain, gently fry a chopped onion in a little oil. I use the same pan as I used for the potatoes to save washing up.

Once the onion has softened, add the boiled potatoes back into the pan along with the cubed corned beef (maybe minus one cube that you’ve eaten), and give the mixture a stir. No salt or pepper is needed in my view, but feel free to season with pepper (corned beef is salted enough) if that’s to your taste.

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For me (and Andrew) the most important thing is to make sure you don’t end up with a mushy filling – we like to see and eat distinct pieces of meat, potato and onion. Again, everyone is different, and Cyril the butcher mashes everything together … Andrew’s mum likes to add carrots. Go with what you prefer, but try my way first as it’s the best ;).

I lightly oil my pie dish and then lay pastry onto the bottom and sides. You should wait for your filling to go cold before adding it to the pastry dish, but usually I don’t bother – as long as you are quick then the pastry probably won’t melt, so be efficient.

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Add your pie filling, then top your pie with another disc of pastry. I don’t bother sealing the pastry with eggwash, water or milk, I just crimp it and bung the pie in the oven (if you do have some eggwash around then brush the top of the pie as it does look nicer with a lovely golden glaze, but it’s not essential).

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I bake my pie at 190 degrees fan for around 45 minutes. You only need the pastry to cook as your filling is already cooked, but the last thing you need is a soggy bottom!

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Once baked, I often leave the pie to go cold and then remove it from the dish and slice it, but this time we had the pie for Sunday lunch with green beans so I served it warm and it was also delicious.

 

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13 Replies to “Corned beef pie – a Welsh classic (new recipe)”

  1. Omg I love corned beef. I know that’s a REALLY weird thing to say but it’s true!!! It’s the salt and fat content I’m sure haha! This pie looks delicious. Real homely, comforting food!

    1. Yes, there’s no denying that it’s not a healthy option, but it is delicious!

  2. My mum makes a delicious corned beef dinner where a whole joint of corned beef (bought whole sealed in brine mixture) is boiled, then served with a white cheese sauce and veg on the side. Yum!!! I’ll have to try your pie 🙂

    1. That sounds delicious Carmen, I must give your mum’s recipe a try – let me know if you manage to try this pie too.

  3. Yes!!!! Love corned beef pie… Yours looks amazing too will try next time I make it!

    1. Thanks Lisa – let me know how you get on if you do try it.

  4. A friend and I have used your recipe a couple of times now; some in the oven as I speak. Trying a little varient, two teaspoons of baked beans in the top to keep in moist for re-heating. What a simple but Wow! recipe. Thank you.

    1. Such a great idea to add the beans – am definitely going to try that next time thanks!

  5. Looks yummy I am making one today I use carrots parsnip and shallots I add corned beef the last five minutes to extract the fat into th e veg. When cooked I strain the veg and meat over a sauspan and use to make a tasty gravy. I put everything in to a blind baked pastry dish and top with creamy mash put lid on and egg wash make a slit in top of pastry to let the steam out my pie is so tasty done this way.

    1. Thanks for your comment Wendy, I love the sound of your version (especially to make a gravy which I always miss with corned beef pie), so will have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Hi, just made your pie now, it’s in the oven xx

    1. Hope it was nice Wendy?

  7. Karen Ellis says: Reply

    I make a Slimming World version of a corned beef usinng a cooked pease pud and egg mix for the crust. Its delish and everyone eats it and cant guess its not pastry. In fact I have 2 in the oven as I type. I mash my pots with corned beef and onions and worcester sauce. So lush and free to eat on this diet plan.

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