Chap. XVII. – Meat Pies, pp.389-402.

[Meat Pies Contents]

General Observations.

   SAVOURY pies are made of a variety of articles, and if well prepared are generally relished. Some eat best when cold, in which case no fat or suet should be put into the forced meat. When the pye is very large, or composed of meats which require more dressing to render them tender than the baking of the crust will admit of, the following method may be adopted: Take a piece of well mixed beef, wash and season it with salt, pepper, and a little pimento (if agreeable to taste), all pounded together, rub it well into the meat; put it into a stewpan which will just hold it, with two or three ounces of butter, cover it close, and set it by the side of a slow fire to simmer in its own steam till it begins to shrink. When cold add more seasoning, with force meat and eggs, put it in the baking dish with a little gravy, then cover with paste; if it is to be baked in a standing crust the gravy or jelly should not be put to it till after it is cold. For Savoury Jelly see Chapter on Sauces and Gravies

   Pies of poultry are generally all done after one manner, highly seasoned, bits of butter laid over them, and the dish half filled with gravy or water. Some chuse slices of bacon intermixed in chicken pies, and in pigeon pies beef steaks and eggs. For directions to make paste and crusts see p. 176

Beef Steak Pye.

   Cut the steaks from the spare rib or other tender piece of beef, beat them and season with salt and mixed spices; roll them up with fat within each, pack them in the dish but do not press them, add a proper quantity of water, then cover the dish with paste and ornament the top; glaze it with the yolk of an egg. 

A Rich Veal Pye

Is made with the breast cut in pieces and seasoned highly with salt and spiceries, pounded and well rubbed into them; put a layer of the steaks, then sweetbreads, with the yolks of hard boiled eggs, a few oysters and gravy poured over the whole, and the dish covered with a puff paste; if it is relished, a few slices of lean bacon ham may be put amongst it. A Lamb руе is made in the same manner. 

Veal Olive Pye.

   Cut steaks from the thick part of the leg, beat them, rub them over with the yolks of eggs, season them with pounded white pepper, salt, nutmeg, and the grate of lemons; lay very thin slices of bacon over them, then a layer of highly seasoned force meat; roll them tight about the size of two fingers, and three inches long, place them in a pye shape; make a few balls of the force meat, which lay round the dish with pickled cucumbers sliced, French beans, the yolks of eight hard boiled eggs, with the whites minced small. Make a strong gravy from the bones and skins of the veal, seasoned with onion and parsley, a glass of wine, and the juice of a small lemon, then pour it over the meat. If baked in a crust, the gravy should not be poured in until it is baked. 

Force Meat for the above Pye.

   Mince half a pound of veal, half a pound of suet, two anchovies, taking out the bones, some crumb of a loaf and parsley; season it well with different kinds of spiceries, beat it smooth in a mortar, adding the yolks of two eggs. 

Mutton Pye.

   Take the thick of a leg, or the back ribs called the spare rib, of mutton, separate each rib in steaks, season them well, lay them in the dish, pour over some gravy or water, add, if you chuse, an onion or two, cover it with puff paste, and finish it. Small pies eat very nice made with a standing crust, the meat minced small and seasoned with pepper and salt, then a little water poured over; the руе cases are then filled, covered and pinched round; make a round hole at top, and when they are baked a little gravy may be poured into each through a funnel; onions chopped small may be added to those who relish them, but they disagree with many. 

Florentine of Veal or Lamb.

   Proceed as directed in making a veal pye; lay a row of veal steaks, then currants and raisins, then a row of steaks, so proceed to fill the dish, and pour over some veal gravy. Lamb is done in the same manner. 

William’s Pye.

   Make a case of good raised crust four inches high in the sides, lay in slices of veal, then a few mushrooms; bone a chicken and pound it in a mortar with a few slices of fresh ham, not too fat; put a layer of this, then more mushrooms, next sweetbreads, first skinning and cutting them in slices, afterwards a layer of veal; season it well with pepper, salt, and sweet herbs; cover it with a good puff paste, and bake it an hour and a half in a moderate oven. When taken out pour good gravy into it. 

Veal or Chicken Pye and Parsley.

   Cut the slices from a neck or knuckle of a leg of veal, season them well with pepper and salt, chop, and lay a quantity of parsley on the bottom of the dish, then a layer of veal, then parsley, and so on till it is near the top; then fill the dish with new milk, cover it with paste, and bake it. When ready, pour out a little of the milk and add scalded cream in place of it. 

Sweetbread Pye.

   Line the inside of a deep dish with puff paste, not too thick, skin and cut the sweetbreads in pieces, put a layer of them in the bottom, then a layer of artichoke bottoms cut in pieces, next cocks combs, truffles and morels, asparagus tops, fresh mushrooms, and yolks of hard boiled eggs; season well with salt and spiceries, lay force meat balls round the edge, fill the dish almost full with water, cover and ornament it, bake it about an hour and a half; when ready, fill it up with rich veal gravy made thick with cream and flour. 

Devonshire Squab Pye.

   Line the dish with puff paste, put a layer of shred pippins or apples, then a layer of mutton steaks from the loin, well seasoned with salt and pepper, next a layer of the sliced apples, and onions in thin slices above, then mutton, and so on till the dish is full; pour in a sufficient quantity of water and strew over a little sugar; cover the dish and bake it. 

Rich Calf’s Feet Pye.

   After cleaning and boiling the feet, separate the meat from the bones and chop it small; for two feet take a pound beef suet and a pound of apples, pare and core the apples and shred both very small; clean, stone, and mince half a pound of raisins, and twelve ounces currants; pound four drops mace or nutmeg, and four drops cinnamon, two ounces sweet and one ounce bitter almonds; cut four ounces candied citron and orange peel in short narrow strips; mix all well together, line your dish with puff paste and put in the compound; pour over it a glass or two of brandy and wine, then cover and ornament it. When this is made in a tin shape, a glass ring put into the middle, covered, finely ornamented and baked, and turned out upon a dish, it is named the bride’s pye, from an old adage that the lady who gets the ring will be the first bride of the party. 

Pork Pye.

   Cut steak pieces from a loin of pork, avoiding the rhind or bone; season with pepper, salt, and nutmeg; put a layer of the steaks, then apples, pared, cored and cut in slices; strew on sugar to taste, and so proceed with pork and apples; pour over all two or three gills white wine, according to the size of the pye, cover it with paste and bake it. 

   It is made in the same manner to eat cold, only no apples are put in; it is baked either in a dish or raised crust. 

A Goose Pye.

   Bone the goose, also a large fowl, season them very high with mace, white pepper, salt, and the grate of a lemon; boil a dried tongue till very tender, peel and cut off the root, cut it longways in three slices, put two of them into the goose and the other within the fowl, then place the fowl within the goose, close or sew it neatly up; make an oval pye shape of standing crust, put on the lid and finish it neatly; or in place of the tongue fill the fowl with force meat. When cold, it may be cut in slices for a supper side dish. 

Duck Pye.

   Take a full grown duck and a fowl, draw and wipe them clean, then bone and wash them, seasoning well with salt and spiceries; have ready a pickled calf’s tongue boiled tender and peeled, which put, with the fowl, within the duck, draw the legs inward, lay it either in a pye dish or raised crust; the space may be filled with force meat, cover and ornament it, then bake it in a slow oven. 

   Very large pies are made in like manner, with a goose, a turkey, a duck, and a fowl, casing the one within the other, the goose being outmost, with a boiled tongue and small birds in the middle and force meat placed round them. 

Pigeon or Chicken Pye.

   Clean and truss the pigeons, season them well, put a small piece of butter within each, line the dish with puff paste, pack in the pigeons, fill up the vacancies with the necks, gizzards, livers, pinions, and hearts, well cleaned, the yolks of a few hard boiled eggs, and, if you chuse, a small beef steak in the middle; fill up the dish with water and cover it neatly, ornamenting the top; stick a few of the feet into the cover to mark what it is. Sometimes the pigeons are filled with force meat, and force meat balls laid round the top, with mushrooms, artichoke bottoms, &c. highly seasoned. 

   A caudle prepared as under may be poured into the chicken pye after it is baked. Beat the yolks of four eggs light with a gill of wine and a gill of cream, sugar and nutmeg to your taste; put the pye again into the oven a few minutes. Or, the chickens may be filled with force meat. 

Thatched Roof, or Vermicelli Pye.

   Take a round deep dish, rub it over with butter, then spread vermicelli over it, but not too thick; line the dish with a good puff paste above the vermicelli, clean and truss as many pigeons as fill the dish, season them well, put a piece of butter mixed with salt and pepper into each, lay them with their breasts downwards, let the covering be flat upon the dish without ornament; when baked turn it out upon a dish, then raise the vermicelli up with a needle to resemble a thatch roof. It may be made with chickens, or any kind of meat, and has a very good appearance as a side dish at dinner, or bottom dish at supper. 

Pye of Fowls.

   Bone a hen and chicken, rub them over with the yolks of eggs, season them with salt, white pepper, mace, and lemon grate; line the inside of the hen with thin slices of bacon, lay in the chicken, and above it a few more slices of ham, but first fill the chicken with the following force meat: grate some bread, mince the livers and some parsley, seasoning it with pepper and salt; work the whole up into a paste with butter and the yolk of an egg; put balls of this force meat round the hen in the dish, then make a good gravy from the bones, put a little into the pye, cover and ornament the dish; when baked, thicken the rest of the gravy with yolks of eggs, add a glass of wine, pour it into the pye, and shake it well to mix it through. 

A Christmas Pye.

   These large pies require a very strong standing crust, the sides must be thick and stiff to bear the long baking they require. Take the bones out of a large turkey, a goose, a hen, a partridge, and a pigeon; season them very highly with salt, pepper, mace, nutmeg, and cloves, all finely pounded together, then case them all within each other, the turkey taking in the whole; lay it in the middle of the pye case, then prepare a hare, clean and dry it well, and cut it in quarters; also muir fowl of any kind, which, with the hare, pack close round the turkey. This pye requires a great quantity of butter put in pieces all over the top; put on the lid and finish it neatly; it requires more than four hours in a quick oven. 

A Rabbit, or Shropshire Pye.

   Dress and cut two rabbits in pieces, also two pounds of fat pork; season it well with pepper and salt, line the dish with a puff paste, and lay in the rabbits and pork mixed together; parboil the livers, pound them in a mortar with as much bacon, and a few sweet herbs and oysters, if you chuse; season it with salt, pepper, and nutmeg; make it into balls with the yolk of an egg and lay them above into the pye; a few artichoke bottoms cut in pieces, may also be put in; then pour over the whole a pint (mutchkin) of wine and water, equal parts, and cover the pye; an hour and a half in a quick oven will bake it. 

Partridge Pye.

   Lay thin slices of veal and ham in the bottom of the dish, then the partridges; after being highly seasoned, pour over a good broth and cover it with puff paste. Or proceed as ordered above for the rabbit pye. 

Patriots’ Pye.

   Put alternate layers of veal in slices, rabbits and chickens jointed, with force meat balls, sweetbreads cut in pieces, artichoke bottoms, and a few mushrooms, all highly seasoned; add mutton gravy, and cover the dish with rich puff paste; or make a raised crust shape four inches high, fill it as above, cover and bake it two hours. When ready, take off the lid, pour off the fat, and put in the yolks of a few hard boiled eggs cut in slices and some good gravy

Maccaroni Pye.

   Make maccaroni paste with half a pound of flour, the yolks of two eggs, two ounces butter, and as much warm milk as will make a very stiff paste, work it smooth; if the pye is very large, make the paste in proportion. Take the pye shape, butter the inside, roll out the paste, cut it in small strips like straws, and, with your hands, or with a flat board, roll them on the table round like pipe maccaroni; with these cross bar the bottom and sides of the shape, very equally and neat, then cover them with a puff paste; skin a cold roasted hen, or young cock, and cut off all the best of the meat; break the bones, and put them to stew with an onion sliced, the paring of a lemon, and two pints (mutchkins) water; when rich, strain and season it with salt, Cayenne pepper, and nutmeg; put it on the fire with four ounces pipe maccaroni, keep stirring till the maccaroni is soft and the gravy a good deal reduced; grate four ounces very fine cheese, then fill the shape with alternate layers, thus:- first grated cheese, then maccaroni, butter in small bits, then meat, and so on. Wet the edges of the pye, cover and join it very close, as this becomes the bottom when turned out; then bake it, turn it on a dish and garnish. 

Venison Pasty.

   To prepare the Venison. – Take out the bones from a neck, breast, or shoulder, beat and season it, cut it in pretty large pieces, lay it in a stone jar and pour good beef gravy over it; then cover it close up, and place the jar into a pot of water on the fire, with a little sweet hay to keep the bottom of the jar from the pot; let it boil slowly three hours, take out the jar and set it past till next day; take off the cake of fat, lay the meat handsomely into the dish; if not sufficiently seasoned add more salt, pepper, and a little pimento, and pour some of the gravy over it. Venison thus prepared does not require so long time to bake, nor so thick a paste laid over. 

   After the venison is prepared as above, the dish is filled with it and mixed with slices of fat mutton cut from the loin, which should be previously steeped twenty-four hours in a liquor made of equal parts of port wine and vinegar; pack the dish properly with the mutton and venison, so as to be easily divided a part to each person; put a rich puff paste round the edge and cover it with taste, ornamenting it with appropriate devices in paste, such as dogs, deer, &c. Two hours in a slow oven will bake it, a good gravy should be drawn from the bones, the one half put in before covering, and the other poured into the pasty when taken out of the oven. 

Mutton or Beef Pasty in Imitation of Venison, and equally good.

   Bone a small rump or sirloin of beef, or a fat loin or fore leg of mutton; after hanging several days beat it well; for ten pounds of meat take four ounces sugar, of port wine and vinegar two gills each, rub it well with the sugar and pour the wine and vinegar over it; turn and wash it frequently, let it lie three days and nights, then wash again and wipe it dry, season very high with nutmeg, white and pimento pepper, and salt, pounded together; lay it into a baking dish with nearly a pound of butter for every ten pounds of meat, and cover with a thick crust; it requires a slow oven to soak it properly. Draw a gravy from the bones, adding a glass of port wine and spiceries, which pour into the pasty when ready. 

   Note. – Sugar being a great preservative, answers better than salt, and gives a greater shortness to the meat. 

Marrow Pasty.

   Pare and core one pound apples, blanch four ounces almonds; take the yolks of four hard boiled eggs, four ounces orange peel, mince them small and mix all together with twelve ounces marrow shred small. 


Take half marrow and half fine beef suet, pour a gill of wine over them, season with pounded cinnamon and sugar; line the dish, put in the compound, and cover it neatly with puff paste

Force Meats for Savoury Pies.

   Force meat, from the rich flavour it imparts to the dish in which it makes a part, is very much used. Rules for any determined quantity, from the variety of articles and difference of taste, and the size of the dish, cannot easily be condescended on. From the following list may be taken what is most agreeable to the taste of the party, observing, that if rightly compounded the flavour of any one article should not predominate over another; but where several dishes are served in one day requiring force meat or balls, there should then be some variety, not only in this but the gravies. The first column contains the articles of which the force meat is made, and the second, that which forms and varies the taste. 

Force Meat Ingredients.

Veal, Mutton, Cold Fowl Oysters, Anchovies 
Scraped Ham Savory, Sweet Basil 
Bacon, Beef Suet Marjoram, Thyme 
Crumbs of Bread Garlic, Shalots 
Pepper and Salt Chives, Pimento and Black Pepper, Mace, Nutmeg 
Nutmeg, Parsley, and raw Eggs, to bind the mixture. Cloves, the Yolks of hard boiled Eggs, Lemon Peel, &c. 

Force Meat for Fowls or Meat.

   Take bread crumbs, a little ham, grated or shred small, some cold veal or fowl, beef suet, onions, parsley, lemon peel, nutmeg or mace, salt and pepper; pound the whole fine in a mortar, then add two eggs beaten. This answers also for force meat patties and savoury pies.

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