Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"Mince Meat" Pies

   Mince meat is delicious for those of you who have not eaten it.  However, the idea of it is scary to a vast majority of Americans.  Because of this, Christmas is the only time mince meat is available and those little jars don't hang around in the grocery store for very long.  My first intorduction to mince meat was in cookie form.  My aunt made them for Christmas one year and my cousins and I snatched them up before we even knew what the heck they were.  I knew it was fruit of some sort but I had no idea what kind.  Later I found out it was mince meat, was a little disgusted, then got over it.

   For Heather's Very Potter Birthday, I decided to make mince meat pies.  But not with real mince meat, I made up my own version using items that are readily available in my grocery store.  Actually, it is just mince meat inspired.  I didn't want to bother with pastry dough, so I used pizza dough.  Really, they are like sweet and savory hand-held sandwiches
"Mince Meat" Pies
1 recipe whole wheat maple dough (below)
1/4 C raisins
1/4 C chopped dates
1/4 C chopped figs
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/3 C rum or brandy (or stock)
1 lb lean ground beef
1 C diced onion
3/4 C diced carrot
2 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp garlic
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp hot paprika (optional)
1 bay leaf
1/4 C smokey BBQ sauce
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
oil, salt and pepper

   Combine dried fruits, cinnamon, nutmeg, and rum.  Microwave on high for 30 seconds.  Let stand for at least 10 minutes.
   Heat a little oil over med heat.  Saute onions and carrots until tender, 5 minutes.  Add ground beef and some salt and pepper.  Brown.  Add garlic, herbs, and worcestershire sauce.  Cook about 1 minute.  Add fruit with rum, BBQ sauce, and vinegar.  Turn heat to med-low.  Cook/simmer for about 15-20 minutes.  It will become sort of like paste.  Adjust seasoning to taste.  Cool.
   Divide dough into about 20 pieces.  Work into a 3 in circle.  Add about 1 rounded Tbsp of meat filling.  Bring dough edges together and crimp with a fork.  Place on a lightly greased pizza pan (or baking sheet).  Poke a small vent hole in the top of the pie and lightly brush with oil or melted butter.
   Bake at 375 deg F for 18-20 minutes, until golden brown.
   Serve warm or at room temp.
Whole Wheat Maple Dough
1 C better for bread flour
1 pkg active dry yeast
2 tsp maple syrup
1 3/4 C very warm water
1/2 tsp salt
1 C whole wheat flour + about 2 C more
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

   In a large glass or ceramic bowl add better for bread flour, yeast, and syrup.  Slowly add water, working out lumps.  Let sit for 5 minutes or until small bubbles form on the surface.  Add 1 C wheat flour and salt.  Combine.  Add whole wheat flour 1/2 C at a time until dough is not longer sticky and can be handled.  Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until dough is smooth and elastic. (It will take 6-8 minutes.)  Form into a ball.
   In the bottom of a clean large glass or ceramic bowl, add oil.  Turn dough in oil until evenly covered.  Place a warm damp towel over the bowl and let rise until double in size in a warm spot.  (I preheat my oven to a very low temp then immediately turn it off.)

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