South African Meat Pies
My friend just rreturned from South Africa and can't stop raving about the almost ubiquitous pie shops. He said they ranged from delicious to just OK. Can anyone tell me a little more about them. What pastry do they use? what fillings? are there different variations or are they all the same?
Thanks in advance
As a relocated South African, now in the US, I feel your friends pain. The pies are really good in SA. The US generally speaking, has no clue about 'pies' except as some sort of sweet sugary confection - whereas SA follows the UK model of savory pies.
One of the big pie franchise places across SA, is 'the london pie company' - to get an idea of the range of pies, here's a list of their pie types available:
"Beef & Onion, Cheese & Beef, Cheese Pasty, Cheese & Veggie, Chicken &
Mushroom, Chicken Peri Peri, Chicken Roll, Cornish Pasty, Country
Cottage, Mutton Curry, Pepper Steak, Prime Steak, Roast Chicken,
Sausage roll, Spinach & Feta, Steak & Kidney, Thai Chicken, Thai
Veggie, Gourmet London Pie, Veggie Curry, Cocktail Sausage Rolls."
The nearest one is going to get to the wide range of pies in SA - is to hunt for US based 'British' or 'UK' stores, and try their steak and kidney pies at least. That'll be vaguely similar in taste to at least one of the SA pie-genres.
For the rest of the delicious pies, I guess one will have to wait and hope that the company decides at some point, to try break into the US market, like Nando's (a South African-Portuguese chicken franchise), is slowly doing.
The pies themselves generally follow the standard rectangular or round model of the UK pies. (Not 'pork pies' though) - and usually a couple of these are a good meal. Look up recipes for 'authentic British steak and kidney pies' - you want the recipes that indicate pastry that fully encloses the filling, not the fake 'pie crust above and loose food below' type.
That'll give you the basic recipe for the standard SA pie pastry.
I've gotten into making my own pies (I got very tired of eating third rate, over priced, and often weirdly filled with bizarre chemicals so-called 'authentic' British pies) - so have begun experimenting, making my own cheese and onion, and most recently, steak and kidney pies.. When I've got things properly formalised, I'll do a how-to-do-it post (along the lines of my 'making biltong' post)..http://www.chowhound.com/topics/398671
Already tho, using premade pastry sheets, and cooking up my own fillings, I've gotten great results that give me a good load of pies for my buck..
I seem to be able to get around 15 - 20 pies per packet of x2 pastry sheets..
and my freezer's filling up nicely.
A fairly-new South African pie establishment opened in Aurora, (southwest of Chicago) IL and they recently have taken mail orders
Its worth to check their facebook page as they often make items that aren't on the menu, such as their bunny chow and various spicy meat pies.