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Middle-earth Menu: “Hearty Lunch Pie”

By Astrid Tuttle Winegar

When visitors come to Bamfurlong, Mrs. Maggot likes to serve her “healthier” version of a classic shepherd’s pie. It’s healthier because of the spinach, which is straight out of her garden. Make Maggot’s “Mini-Mashers” first, or buy a 24-ounce container of ready-made mashed potatoes and add an egg to it. Or you could use 3 cups of leftover seasoned mashed potatoes, also with an added egg.

Please follow this link to my blog for the Savory Seasoning recipe! Or, I’ll make you a batch—head over to my Etsy Shop Elegant Sufficiencies and order your own: Savory Seasoning in a Jar or (the cheaper version) Savory Seasoning in a Ziploc Bag.

“Hearty Lunch Pie”

Maggot’s Mini-Mashers

1 pound peeled potatoes, cut into 1″ chunks

3 cups water

2 tablespoons salted butter

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

⅓ cup half-and-half

1 extra large egg

 

Combine the potatoes and water in a 2-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil; lower heat a bit and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until fork-tender. Using the lid, drain potatoes and put back in the saucepan. Add the butter, salt, pepper, and half-and-half and mash, either by hand or with a hand mixer. Add the egg, combine well; cover and set aside. Makes a smidge over 3 cups.

These are only called “mini” because the recipe only makes about three cups, which is just enough to cover this particular pie, but certainly not nearly enough to feed a bunch of hungry hobbits.

Hearty Lunch Pie (Proper)

1½ cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt, divided

3 ounces cold lard, cut into ¼” bits

5-7 tablespoons ice water

1 pound lean ground beef

1 cup chopped onion

4 ounces coarsely chopped mushrooms

14½-ounce can petite diced tomatoes, drained well

1 cup low-sodium beef broth

1½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon “Shire” Seasoning

½ teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet

½ teaspoon plus ¼ teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon salted butter

10-12 ounces fresh baby spinach

 

Make Maggot’s Mini-Mashers and let stand. Meanwhile, combine the 1½ cups flour, ½ teaspoon salt, and lard in a large bowl with a pastry blender. Add the water one tablespoon at a time and mix well to form a dough. Flatten into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap or set in a covered container, and refrigerate while preparing the filling.

Coat a 5-quart deep skillet with cooking spray. Over high heat, cook the beef, onion, and mushrooms until almost dry. Add the tomatoes. In a 2-cup glass measure, combine the broth, Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons flour, “Shire” Seasoning, Kitchen Bouquet, ½ teaspoon pepper, and ¼ teaspoon salt with a whisk. Add to the meat and bring to a boil. Lower heat a bit and cook, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes until saucy. Adjust seasonings, if desired. Let stand.

Preheat oven to 375°. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to 13″ and lay in a 9½” glass pie dish. Trim edge, fold and flute edge generously. Reserve scraps for decorations, if desired. Pour meat mixture into dish. Wash out skillet. In skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over very high heat. Add the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper. Add the spinach and cook over high heat just until wilted, about 2 minutes, covered. Uncover and cook over very high heat until dry, stirring frequently, about 3-4 minutes (dry, but don’t let it burn). Cover meat with spinach mixture.

Mix the potatoes and carefully spread to cover the spinach; seal at the crust edge. Decorate, if desired. Cut the 1 tablespoon butter into 16 bits and evenly dot the potatoes. Bake 46-50 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before slicing. Cover and refrigerate leftovers. Serves 6-8.

This is also known as “Hearty Lunch Pie” in my cookbook.

 

Photo of author Astrid Tuttle Winegar, creator of Middle-Earth Menu: Sweet and Savory Pork RoastAstrid Tuttle Winegar is the author of “Cooking for Halflings & Monsters: 111 Comfy, Cozy Recipes for Fantasy-Loving Souls” (in paperback and epub formats from your favorite online booksellers). She is mostly telling a culinary Middle-earth story here on Legendarium, with occasional stops in Narnia. Astrid has loved C. S. Lewis since childhood, J. R. R. Tolkien since middle and high school, all Star things, both Trek and Wars, all things Whedon, and many other things besides. She lives in the enchanted city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her husband. Visit her website for more information: Astrid Tuttle Winegar | Cooking for Halflings & Monsters. Staff Reporter.

Please follow this link to my blog for the Savory Seasoning recipe! Or, I’ll make you a batch—head over to my Etsy Shop Elegant Sufficiencies and order your own: Savory Seasoning in a Jar or (the cheaper version) Savory Seasoning in a Ziploc Bag.

 

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